Can I Get Some Peace?

I like this photo because it illustrates what most of us think of when we try to imagine peace--temporary and easily destroyed by the forces around us.

The term "peace talks" always brings a smirk. We know how much good that does in the Middle East and often the people carrying "peace signs" appear to have been ingesting illegal substances.

Peace is the third fruit of God's Spirit. It's the desire of many but attained by few. So why is that? What's stopping us from experiencing at least personal peace?

"Well, DUH!" You say. "Take a peek into my world for a minute!

Calm down. I see you rolling your eyes.

Just as we learned that joy is not a byproduct of our circumstances at the moment, neither is peace. Tornadoes happen. Earthquakes happen. Violence and crime happens. People cut across your yard, kids make bad choices, the jerk on the tractor is taking up both lanes, and your health insurance keeps cutting benefits.

Life is not peaceful. This world is not peaceful. It's filled with chaos, pain, war, and hurt. But you don't have to be.

If the world could give us peace,
we wouldn't need God to do it supernaturally.

So peace is the third character trait we cannot manufacture by ourselves.

We try to find it in a million ways--from bottled form to mind games--but none of it works. So we keep searching for better ways. The peace you felt during your drunken stupor is gone when you wake up. That's not peace.

And God sits by while you try to help yourself. He must watch you ignore what he has clearly stated in his Word a hundred different ways: 
  • "The mind set on the Spirit is life and peace."
  • "The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your heart..."

  • "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts..."
"But," you argue." I do believe in God. I'm a good person, but I'm still in turmoil. My life's a mess, I'm on three anti-depressants, and I can't take it anymore..."

Well, back up then. Did you see anything in in those verses that promised believing in God will give you peace? John Wesley said, "Mental assent is one of Satan's best tools to keep us from God." 

You can know it all, try your best to do it, pray, read the Bible and work really hard at being a Christian...and be the most miserable person on earth.
This third Fruit of the Spirit is gained through an act of our will. God doesn't expect you to manufacture a pseudo-peace on your own. He expects you to give up trying to control everything and trust him with it all: the overdue bills, the wild kid, the unemployment. Only then can His peace rule in your heart.

Living out the fruit of God's Spirit requires that you stop trying to produce imitations that are based on the world's standards. Some days the only place you will find peace is in the very presence of God. Your world is crashing down around your ears and there is no escape for you except to run to your Father and give up.

But what about when you get there and you know you have no right to be there? You've got a pile of sins stacked up in the corner of your heart that you'd been meaning to get around to making right, but...

God doesn't hand out his peace to just anyone. It usually requires change on our part. But as distasteful as his prerequisites may seem at the moment, obedience is worth it. 

Peace comes when we relinquish our right to it and accept whatever God chooses for us.

So what is keeping you from experiencing peace? Do you think your circumstances are just too stressful to experience peace in the midst of them?

Remember, the fruits of the Spirit are not emotions. Peace is not our natural state. It is supernatural. Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world gives..." (John 14:27)

Peace is a choice. A hard choice at first because Satan will insist that you have nothing to feel peaceful about.

Resist him. Remind him what Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

Your circumstances may scream chaos, but if you know God, you can choose peace.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great writing, Lea Bee. You seem to always hit the nail on the head. Love from your old pal, Jackie