John 14:27 (AMP)
Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]
I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left-feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.
I love this time of year. Coming out of the thanksgiving holiday into Christmas. Everything seems to change, the weather is changing, the season is changing, the focus of almost everyone is changing. It’s exciting all the hustle and bustle, and life just intensifies.
We have lots of family moments, friend moments, and fun moments.
On the other side of the coin there are those for whom this season is difficult. It stresses them to no end. People who’ve had loss, people who are in tough situations, families who’ve broken up, lives that are disheveled.
Really, this month to six weeks to me is like a microcosm of life, packed in and intensified.
This season or at least what believers celebrate in the upcoming weeks is not one of stress or anxiety, pressure or fear. Rather, it’s original purpose was all about peace. Peace on earth. Good will toward men.
Many times we take this to mean the absence of war, and in a broader context that’s true, but it really refers to something much more individually internal, Gods peace in the heart of man. Today I hope to help us all understand that inward peace, the peace the Bible describes as incomprehensible, is available to all of us at all times. There is a source of this peace, and actions that perpetuate it, but there are also peace stealers and peace killers.
Before we get to far into the season lets learn how to keep our peace, because “PEACE IS PRACTICAL”
One of the words to define peace means
the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is…could be better said this way. “free from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts”
The idea that now that I am following Christ, have been born again, my eternity, my relationship with God, my rejection of sin, my submission to His will as I turn my back on the spirit of the world, has been forever settled. I’m whole, I’m complete, I’m free.
Fear- a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger. Concern or anxiety.
Agitating passions – to disturb or excite emotionally with strong negative desires.
Moral conflicts – to internally fight or do battle over what is right or wrong conduct.
This word peace also means harmony among people, so in order to have harmony interpersonally we must first have peace personally.
God wants us to have peace internally and interpersonally, that precious absence of constant conflict.
The question is, will we embrace it or will we sabotage it? The truth is, although God is the author of our peace, the originator of it, he has left the obtaining of it up to us.
Before we talk about the practical steps to living in peace let’s identify peace stealers, and peace killers.
(Peace Thieves are attitudes and mindsets)
>Thief # 1: guilt and shame of the past
Guilt, shame and condemnation can be mindsets we learn to live with, but should be free from. They hold us hostage and steal our peace. Under their reign we are in a constant inward turmoil.
>Thief # 2: anxiety and stress
Are results of either not knowing how or refusing to trust God. This robs more Christians of their peace than any other thing. Stress & worry are completely opposed to peace, that calmness of spirit and soul. Anxiety results in emotional turmoil. To the point of physical dysfunction which creates more anxiety.
>Thief # 3: people pleasing
There is simply no way to be at peace and attempt to please everyone. Focus on pleasing God who accepts and lives you, don’t get caught up trying to please everyone, because it’s impossible and it will steal your peace.
>Thief # 4: fear
Fear directly opposes peace. They can not coexist in your life.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18 NKJV)
(Killers are behaviors and actions)
>Killer # 1: attempting to control others
This behavior is to assume the role of Jesus over someone else’s life and world. To make yourself their Lord. We are not equipped to handle such RESPONSABILITY, and this kills your peace. Murders it.
>Killer # 2: Personal perfectionism
Since you can not be perfect your continued fruitless attempts at it only result in killing any opportunity for peace.
>killer # 3: peer pressure, keeping up w/others
Comparison is a killer of peace. Will result in behaviors that will steal your peace now in and in the future.
>Killer # 4: selling out the long term for the short term.
lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears. (Hebrews 12:16, 17 NKJV)
Overfilling your life with things and activity now because you want it now at the expense of your future.
Instant gratification is a killer of peace and can kill the peace in your future.
>> Practical steps to walking in Peace. (the beautiful absence of internal conflict, and anxiety)
1. Daily prayer. A leaning of your entire self on God. Submitting to his Will while surrendering yours.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6, 7 NKJV)
2. Daily study of the word to renew your mind to Gods way of thinking.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8, 9 NKJV)
3. Daily simplify your life by planning your priorities not your time
But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. (Matthew 6:33 AMP)
4. Daily Say no to your selfish desires, to your emotions, and to emotional controllers in your life, say no to worry.
So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:34 AMP)
Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13 NKJV)
It’s required to say no to some things, some issues, and some people in order to have peace. You are not obligated to say yes to everyone and everything.
God is on your side and you can have peace, because peace is practical.
First step to real peace is to know Jesus.
Hope this helps you walk in peace every day.