“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
-Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
We live in the age of hustle and bustle, the age of planners and calendars and schedules. Our success is measured by the number of things we can check off of our to-do list each day. (And, in a moment of raw truth and transparency here, sometimes I write down things on my to-do list just so that I can immediately check them off and feel better about what I’ve accomplished that day!) We are a society that has to be on the go, always doing more, always thinking ahead and moving fast.
Add to that stress the fact that we also live in a sinful, fallen world that is constantly in turmoil. In this age of technology bad news is in our faces every minute of every day, and it can consume our human nature. As a mom, it can be such a struggle to not feel overwhelmed by fear and anxiety as I am continuously faced with the reality of raising children in a broken world. Peace can seem like such a foreign concept… when my eyes look around instead of upward.
But when my eyes look up to the Maker of this world and to the words of life He has given, peace is attainable once again. Biblical peace is always within reach as long as I’m reaching out to the author of true peace. This peace that I’m speaking of is not worldly peace, nor an absence of troubles. Quite the contrary… we are promised that life in this world will be full of trials and tribulations (see John 16:33). However, true peace, peace that comes only from a relationship with God through Christ, is peace that is completely unrelated to the circumstances of life. So, how do we find that peace and live in it?
- Recognize the character of Christ. If we believe Jesus is Who He says He is, we must recognize that He is the epitome of peace. And in order to recognize that, we must spend time with Him. Christianity is not a religion… it is a relationship with a living Savior, and relationships must be nurtured and treasured in order to grow. Spend time in the Word, learning more about who He is. Memorize the Scriptures, and talk to Him regularly. He desires our attention, and wants us to seek Him with all of our hearts.
- Isaiah 9:6… For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
- Matthew 5:9… Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
- Colossians 3:15… Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.
- Live in the victory He’s already won. Satan has been defeated. Our sins have been forgiven and wiped away. We no longer live in bondage! Don’t let Satan convince you otherwise. Satan wants nothing more than to rob you of peace. He would love to see you struggle and fight and be discouraged. So often we defeat ourselves, refusing to accept the victory we have in Christ. We dwell on past mistakes and beat ourselves up over things we’ve done wrong. Take those thoughts captive! The story has already been written, and guess what- God wins! Our chains are gone and we are no longer slaves to sin.
- Titus 3:3-7… At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
- 2 Corinthians 10:4-5… The weapons we fight with are not weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
- Embrace God’s will for your life. There is a confidence that comes from knowing you’re living life in accordance with God’s will. When we stop focusing on what we want out of life and stop placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves, we leave room for Him to work through us and in us to accomplish His plans. And when life becomes less about me and more about Him, peace abounds.
- Jeremiah 29:11… “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
- Acknowledge God’s omnipotence. We serve a mighty, all-powerful God. He created this world and all that is in it, and He holds our lives in His hands. Why do we worry? Time wasted in worry is time that could be better spent seeking His face. When we begin to worry and feel anxious, we’re really saying that we don’t trust God to do what He says He’ll do. Do we truly doubt that the God of the universe is able to handle the problems that arise in our lives? He’s God! He’s got this, so we need to spend less time trying to control things and more time praising the One who is ultimately in control.
- Isaiah 40:28… Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.
- I Peter 5:7… Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
- Philippians 4:6-7… 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 minds in Christ Jesus.
- Accept the power of the Holy Spirit. As followers of Christ, we have the Spirit in us… tap into it! We aren’t expected to handle this world and its troubles on our own. My lack of peace quite often stems from my insistence on being in control. I am not in control! He is in control, and He enables me to do the tasks that He desires for me to do through the power of the Holy Spirit. Oh, what peace is found in resting in Him and allowing His Spirit to work through me! We have an unlimited resource of power and strength readily available if we let go of ourselves and embrace Him.
- Romans 15:13… May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Acts 1:8… But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
- Philippians 4:13… I can do all things through him who gives me strength.
As we go about our daily lives and routines, following schedules and adding more and more to our to-do lists, let’s remember to pause and be filled. Make an effort each day to sit down in the presence of the author of peace. Read His word, talk to Him through prayer, worship Him in song, or just be still… The peace you long for will be found in His presence.