It’s not a surprise to hear we live in a world of turmoil. Wars are being fought all over the world, news reports tell us of shootings, failing economy, and natural disasters. Even as you listen to the news, or even get your news off of Twitter as I do, you hear of so much tragedy. How do we find real peace and walk in peace each day in the midst of such chaos? It all goes back to the words of Jesus; living the Red Letter Lifestyle of His words in John 16:33. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” What is important to know, is that these very words Jesus spoke, came just a few hours before He Himself would be crucified; rocking the very foundations of the lives of the disciples who had come not only to follow Him, but to love Him. They would soon see that the Messiah they had hoped for and believed in, would die a horrible death. This also meant that they would live in fear for their own lives. Jesus spoke these words because He knew that the world was at odds with the purposes of God. But the good news is that both then and now Jesus offers us peace. His very own peace! “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27). He wants you and I to have His peace!
But how do we have peace to deal with our present situation and courage to deal with our future in unsettling times? By putting first things first- gaining peace with God. You can’t have the peace of God until you have peace with God. The fact is that outside of Christ you are not a child of God. That is the lot of all who do not accept Jesus Christ, or refuse to accept His offer of eternal life which He purchased on the cross for everyone! Jesus said we can be God’s child- He wants you as His child, and He sent Jesus into this world to make that happen.
How to live in the peace of God:
1. Understand God is sovereign.
As we give God our lives, He is in control from beginning to the end, and we must remember His plans will succeed. Jesus said that He has already overcome the world in His death. He conquered sin and its power, then He went on to conquer death and its power in His resurrection! He has also given us His Living Word – The Bible. The Bible allows us to find direction and comfort in Him and His promises; and these promises cannot be thwarted by anyone! Understanding He ALONE is sovereign goes a long way to help you live in His peace. Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
We are also instructed to “pray without ceasing” which means to continue to be in an attitude of prayer throughout the day. God hears you and He moves on behalf of His people. He is not deaf to your concerns and prayers. I once read that the average person has more than two hundred negative thoughts a day! We have worries, jealousies, insecurities, and the list goes on! It has been reported that those who are depressed have as many as six hundred negative thoughts running around every day! We may not be able to eliminate all the troublesome things that go on in our lives, but we can learn to stop invasions in our mind and have victory over our thoughts! (Read my latest book: Help! I’m Alone With My Mind! A Guide To Having Victory Over Your Thoughts!”)
One of the best ways to reduce the negative thoughts invading your mind is to turn them into prayers. It is important that we also pray according to God’s Will. What is His Will? The Bible! When faced with a concern we are to find scripture to cover our situation in prayer; according to what God has already promised us. Instead of, “God help I am broke!” You pray according to the Bible – “Father you know that I am in need of money right now, but I trust you Lord and I confess your Word that You are my provider and I trust in you Father to look over your Word that you said and to perform it! I thank you that you are supplying even now.” When we spend time praising and thanking Him for the answer before it comes- not just our concerns, we find peace in the fact that God is active in our situation and peace will flood our minds. Look at Daniel 9:23 and what the angel of God said to Daniel about the fact he was praying, “The moment you began praying, a command was given.” Now look at Isaiah 65:24 “I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!” God doesn’t have to check his Facebook inbox or text messages to see when we send up a prayer to Him. He hears immediately and He immediately answers, however those prayers are not always revealed for us immediately in the natural for many different reasons. But take comfort in knowing God hears us and answers us, and it is our responsiblity to trust Him and His Word and wait for the manifestation of the answer!
3. Fix your mind; Having a Biblical Mindset
Ecclesiastes 5:1 (Amp.) “Keep your foot, give your mind to what you are doing.” We are to listen to the voice of God. How? By prayer and reading His Word. Then we will be able to give our mind to Him instead of our worries. People who adopt a Biblical mindset and who are Christ-centered and focused on others can live in peace. Why? Because the world’s value systems do not determine your outlook or outcomes – the promises of the Bible does! That’s not to say that you will never be affected by this world. But by having a Biblical mindset you choose to believe the Bible is true and correct in all it teaches. When you are faced with a time of unsettling, pick up your Bible and read. I like to start with the book of Psalms. I read them aloud as prayers to God. Soon I feel His presence and I feel the weights of worry lifting. Then find scripture to cover your present situation. (I have listed some scripture you can pray to cover your situation). Above all you are to think on what God instructs you to think on – not what the world is dishing out. Philippians 4:8 gives us specific instructions, “Whatever is true , whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].” Then look at verse 7, “And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
4. Keep Moving!
I know when disaster hits we feel like we just can’t continue to get up again and again. I know we wonder why we even bother with moving ahead. Remember God is still God no matter what we see with our eyes and hear on the news. We have a future and a hope the Bible promises us, so we should look to the future. But as we do that, let’s look at Proverbs 16:9, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” We are not to plan for the future in despair, but rather to plan with the Lord’s purposes in mind. 1 Corinthians 9:24, “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!” Run to win it says! That means keep on running and don’t stop no matter what, and it also says YOU WIN when you keep running! Glory!
5. Live in anticipation!
God’s Promises help us get through the grind of day-to-day living. The best way to have peace is to read those promises on a daily basis. You’ll be surprised what God has for you in there. One of my favorites is Lamentations 3:22-23, “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” God’s faithfulness is always in play, and I thank Him for that. We can live in anticipation that His Word is true and it never fails. If He promised it to you it is yours now! God gave you peace and He promises to never leave you or forsake you. That is something to be thankful for! Live your life in anticipation of what He is going to do in you and for you! You are His child! He loves you!
Peace to deal with your present circumstance and to face your future does not have to be overwhelming-IF we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into the greatest peace of all- Jesus’ very own peace! John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubledand do not be afraid.”