“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.”Galatians 5:22-23
We live in a crazy world, don’t we? So many of us are anxious, fearful, worried, insecure, stressed, etc. Especially since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, it can be hard to find genuine, lasting peace. Yet even in this world of strife, uncertainty, and confusion, finding such peace is possible in Christ.
In my experience, a lack of peace comes from 1) a lack of control, and 2) a lack of knowledge. We humans get anxious about college applications or team tryouts because we can’t control whether or not we will be accepted. We stress about doctor appointments because we don’t know what the diagnosis is going to be. We fear the future because the unknown is out of our hands and we can’t do anything about it.
I’m writing this in the collective “we” because I don’t have peace completely figured out yet either. I do, however, have some solutions to offer straight from the Word of God. This article is going to be heavy on Bible verses, because if you are seeking peace, the Bible is the absolute best place to find it!
1. Peace Comes from Knowing Who He Is (and Who We Are Because of Him)
I almost wrote “peace comes from knowing who we are” and while that is true, I think it is more significant to say that it comes from knowing Who He is. The only reason a Christian can call himself or herself a child of God is the fact of what Jesus did on the cross for them. Reminding ourselves that He is our Savior, Father, Redeemer, and Friend should be a comfort even in the darkest of times.
We are ambassadors in this world and when we remember Who has commissioned us–Jesus Christ, the King of kings–we can rest in the promises He has given us:
“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.” (John 14:27)
“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33)
We can have peace because our Father and Master is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
2. Peace Comes from Trust (and Letting Go)
Isaiah 26:3-4 says, “You will keep the mind that is dependent on you in perfect peace, for it is trusting in you. Trust in the Lord forever, because in the Lord, the Lord Himself, is an everlasting rock.”
And Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.”
When we are dependent on God and trust Him to lead us, we can be at peace knowing that we are on the right path. No matter what comes our way, we can trust God to know what is best for us.
I once heard Joel O’Dea of the band Verses say something like this: “The reason you’re feeling this way [anxious] is because you haven’t let go. Often we feel that we have to ‘make it.’ The pressure, then, is on us. Let go and He will make our paths straight.”
I was at a summer camp at the time, and I wrote it down because I resonated with it so much. The main reason I don’t have peace a lot of times is because I’m holding onto something so firmly (or thinking it over in my mind so much) that all of the pressure of “doing it right” or “saying it right” or “choosing the right one” is on me. But when we let go and let God, not only is the situation out of our hands and out of our control, it’s in His.
3. Peace Comes from the Way We Think
Just like love and joy, I think the fruit of peace starts in our minds. It starts with the way we think and what we choose to set our focus on.
The Apostle Paul says in the book of Romans, “For those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on the things of the Spirit. Now the mindset of the flesh is death, but the mindset of the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:5-6)
What are you thinking about today? Are you letting the worry of the unknown distract you from the life and peace of Jesus? Are you allowing anxiety to trump His promises? Or are you allowing the Word of Christ to dwell in you richly, that you may be Spirit-minded?
May we be able to sing along with the old hymn:
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul
How Can We Apply This Today?
One of my favorite verses is Psalm 46:10–“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
He calls us to be still… to slow down… to withdraw from the chaos. If you’re finding that you are constantly overwhelmed and stressed, that may be an indicator that you haven’t had enough quiet time to sit with the Savior. It’s quite possible you’ve been reading your emails and the news more than your Bible.
Today and for the rest of this week (and the rest of your life, really), I challenge you to slow down and be still. Take time to listen for His still, small voice. He is there, and He is saying, “peace, be still.”
I hope you were encouraged this week, and that you will make the decision to be still so that the fruit of peace can grow in your life. That’s all for now, but I hope you’ll join me next week for the fruit of the Spirit that a lot of us need–patience. I look forward to writing it and sharing it with you!