September 8, 2016

The Pathway to Peace: Part 2

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

More than material possessions, our souls long for peace – peace of mind and peace of heart. You can acquire all the stuff in the world but, if you don’t have peace, you’ll never enjoy it. Have you discovered that simply getting more doesn’t make you more happy? Today, there’s a huge move to simplify, downsize, and reduce what you have, promising that having less will leave you less anxious. The truth is that none of our efforts, more or less, will offer us the peace we need most. Why? Because Jesus said the peace He offers is a gift! I can’t earn it and I don’t deserve it; but, when I receive the Prince of Peace in my heart and life, He offers me not only peace with God but, even more, the peace of God that exceeds anything I can understand! Yesterday, we began looking at the pathway to peace that Jesus offers His followers. The first step was to accept the Prince of Peace’s plan for my life. In Romans 5:1, the Bible says,

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.”

By accepting God’s plan for our lives, we have peace with God. Once I experience peace with God, the Prince of Peace offers me the peace of God. The next two steps take us further down the pathway to experience the peace of God.

Step 2: I must surrender to the Prince of Peace’s control.
Struggling to control our lives robs us of peace. If you’re a control freak like me, this is the hardest step of all. King David fought the same battle in his life. As He grew in His faith, he realized the pathway to peace came with surrendering control, not taking control. In Psalm 34:7, he wrote,

“Surrender yourself to the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.”

When he wrote that, he reflected on a time his life was totally out of control. The problems he faced were underserved, unexplainable, and certainly uncontrollable no matter how hard he tried. The truth is that we lose our peace when we are at war with God over control for our lives. The prophet Isaiah said,

“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be?’” Isaiah 45:9 (NLT)

The sooner we accept the Prince of Peace’s plan and surrender to His control, the sooner we will experience God’s peace. What is it you are striving with God about? None of us can control our lives, much less anyone else’s. But, we can turn our lives over to God’s care and control.

Step 3: I must trust the Prince of Peace to provide for me.
Worry over the provisions of life robs most of us of peace. How will we make ends meet? There always seems to be more month at the end of our check than money. If we’re honest, concern for provision can make you anxious. That’s why, when Paul wrote his epistle of joy to the Philippians, he said,

“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need….”

He was basing his confidence on the promise Jesus gave in His first sermon. Jesus said,

“God will give you all you need from day to day if you live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

So, ask. Take God at His word and be specific. God promises to meet all our needs. He didn’t promise to meet all our greed. Sometimes, He has had to show me the difference. I have to learn to trust Him. He knows what is best for our lives and loves to provide all we need and so much more as we learn to trust Him.

Are you experiencing the peace of God in your life today? Have you made peace with God? That’s the first step. The more convinced you are that God loves you, the easier it will be to release control to Him and trust Him. When you do, His gift of peace will guard your heart and mind as you live in Christ Jesus!