PEACE LIKE A RIVER
PEACE LIKE A RIVER
Growing up, peace was a hand gesture and something to say that sounded cool and spiritual. Too bad it doesn’t come that easy. Turns out, peace is an action, not just a saying. How the spirit longs for it, yet somehow it manages to elude us. Why? Where does it go? Can it be found? Yes, even though it isn’t tangible, like a person, a place, or a thing. The problem is our thinking; it’s not something we just say, it is what we do. There are many things that can aid in filling that need temporarily, like music, rest, or a vacation down south in a beautiful spot by the sea. Just the thought of doing any of these puts my mind at ease. That is the key. Peace is a state of mind.
Isaiah 26:3 says “You will keep him in perfect peace, / Whose mind is stayed on You, / Because he trusts in You.”
Peace comes from keeping our thoughts on Jesus, who is the “Prince of peace” Isaiah 9:6. No problem, right? Not really; it can be so hard to do, when the list of all that needs to get done keeps coming to mind every day. Rightfully so, or nothing would get accomplished. Yet Isaiah 26:3 tells us that if we want peace, keep our minds on Jesus. The only way it works is because he trusts in You.
Trust is a pretty powerful word, but my peace depends on it. The definition of trust is “the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something”. That someone Isaiah speaks of is Jesus. Now, I can say I trust in Jesus to be my Lord and Savior and really mean it, but it’s how I choose to respond to difficult circumstances in my life that will reveal if I truly believe it.
For example: when I took the job to be Discovery Time Director here at CEF, I did not believe that I was the right person, nor did I think I had enough skills or experience to do it well, but the Lord kept drawing my attention back to it in prayer and through ads I kept hearing on the radio. Others who knew about the opening also encouraged me to apply. So, I had to make a choice: do I listen to my own thoughts, which were filled with insecurities and doubt, or do I listen to the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit who would not let it be until I finally I applied? Well, you know the end to that story. I chose to trust the Lord to know what was best for me. Time would tell that that would not be the last opportunity for me to exercise what I really believe, and I know there will be many more.
Trusting in the Lord each day and in every situation bears the beautiful fruit of peace that Jesus promised us in John 14:27. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” If there is something stirring up anxiety or unrest in your spirit, bring it before the Lord, because He tells us not to be troubled or afraid. Yet, how many of us suffer from these emotional traumas daily?
Notice that lasting peace can only come from Jesus, because He is the giver of peace. That means that if my thoughts don’t bring about peaceful feelings and reactions, then I am not keeping my mind on the truth of God’s word; instead there must be a lie attached to what I am thinking: something that is not from God and does not match up with His truth. “We reap what we sow” Galatians 6:7 says. In other words, if what I am thinking is not good then my reactions will follow suit, so we must learn to be quick to recognize if our thoughts are good and then bring them captive to the obedience of Christ to have peace (2 Corinthians 10:5); that is, to line up what you are thinking to what God’s word says.
For example, when I didn’t believe that I was the right person for the job, even though I knew the Lord wanted me to apply. What I was thinking was not lining up with God’s word that says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13. I needed to choose to trust God would equip me as I went to do the work He was calling me to do, and it is the same for you. Once I realized what I was thinking was not the truth, I was able to reject it and pronounce God’s truth instead. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me became my hourly, sometimes every minute, power verse to get through the day.
Jesus said, “in Me you may have peace” John 16:33. If peace is something you struggle to have, then maybe try doing what the good Lord told me to do and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ and see what you find. It won’t be easy. In fact, I find it a lot of work, but “the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” James 3:18. The results are worth it.
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind . . . Romans 12:2