Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Do you have PEACE?

Joy and Peace are two of the Characteristics of Christ that are listed as fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22,23. Peace... Isn't it what we all want. I'm talking about the kind of Peace that comforts us when nothing else will. The kind of peace that we can have when the storms of life are raging all around us. The peace of calmness in these storms. The peace that makes no sense to others when they see what we're going through, but to us, we know why we're OK. The kind of peace that a person has at the funeral of their spouse after being married for over 50 years. How can a person be at a funeral and praise the Lord during a time like this? They have God's peace that surpasses all understanding, that's how. Do you have this kind of peace? Do you want it?

First... if you are not a Christian, this peace is not available to you unless you understand that you need a Savior. Your sin separates you from God's eternal love and unless you have made the decision to make Jesus Lord of your life, you can not, and will not have this peace I'm talking about. You can think you have this peace at times, but the worlds peace, is temporary and doesn't last.

Secondly... if you are a Christian, you can have this peace, but so often Christians live with very little joy or peace in their lives! Many Christians should have this peace, but don't. So I ask again... do you want PEACE, God's Peace in your life? Let's take a look at what it means to have the peace that only God can give us, and see maybe why we don't experience this peace as Christians like we should.

(3) You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You. Because he trusts in You.

This verse tells us that we can have God's perfect peace. How? By staying focused on Christ. And why do we stay focused on Christ? Because we trust Him. We have faith in Him. Think about the time that Jesus walked out on the water to the disciples in the boat in the storm (Matthew 14:22-33) the disciples thought they were seeing a Ghost and they were afraid. then Jesus says, do not be afraid, I'm here, it is I. Peter says, if it's you Lord tell me to come to you on the water. Then Jesus says... Come. And Peter takes off walking on the water towards Jesus! Verse 30 says... when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid, and he began to sink. What we see here is a man that was only able to accomplish God's will (walking on water) as long as he remained focused on the Lord. It's a perfect example of what Isaiah 26:3 is talking about. God's peace is ours as long as we remain focused in Him and keep our trust in Him. If we lose focus, we sink, we're miserable, we lose our peace that only God can give us.

Let's look at another verse that can help us see why we might not be experiencing God's peace.

John 14:25-27
(25) "These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.
(26) "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
(27) "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Two things I wanted to focus on in these verses... One, The Holy Spirit, The Helper, whom the Father sends us, will teach us all things, and remind us of what Jesus promised us. Two, The peace that Jesus is speaking of doesn't come from the world, it comes from God. This peace is far greater than anything the world offers. It's God's peace. You see the world offers us peace in a lie. We think that if we drink, we feel better and we can escape the troubles of our life, but we all know it's only temporary it in the end we're destroyed. Drugs are the same way. The world offers a false peace, a shallow peace, really no peace, but it appears that it's peace. But God's peace is not of this world. It's supernatural in power and strength. So we might not have peace because we're searching for it in the wrong places.

Galatians 5:22.23
(22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, PEACE, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
(23) gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

This reminds me of a peach tree I have in the yard. This tree is not healthy at all. It looks very sick, hardly has any leaves and several of the branches are dead. It's a mess. It produces maybe one peach each year. Seriously, one peach, and it's not worth eating. The tree is that unhealthy. Well in the same way, if we as Christians are Spiritually unhealthy, will we produce fruit? The answer of course is no. But the fruit of the Spirit is Joy and Peace and several other characteristics of Christ is it not? So why do we not have peace or joy in our life as a Christian? You know if you took your temperature because you felt like you had a fever and the reading was high, then your fever and the temperature would indicate to you that you are sick. Then you would take yourself to a doctor and get some medicine to hopefully get to feeling better and get over your sickness. We need to use Galatians 5:22,23 as a barometer for our Spiritual health. If we see no evidence of Joy or peace in our life as Christian then there's something wrong! Fruit of the Spirit is peace and joy and others, so if we are not experiencing these things then we need to go to our great physician, our Holy father and get a prescribed dose of God's word. We need to reconnect with the great healer, our heavenly Father through Christ. We've become disconnected somehow and we no longer have His joy and His peace like we should.

Finally we can see that God's peace surpasses all understanding. It just doesn't make sense to most people how we can live in a storm, but still have peace. How can we be ok, when the world says we shouldn't be ok with what we're having to deal with?

Philippians 4:4, 6-7
(4) Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
(6) Be anxious for nothing, but in prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God;
(7) and the peace of God; which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Rejoice!! Joy!! We should be anxious about nothing because we take all of our concerns to God the we trust to take care of us. The promise of course is God's peace! The kind of peace that makes no sense to the world. The best thing about this peace though is this... The peace of God guards our hearts and our minds through Christ. In today's world we need guarded don't we?

How do we have this peace?

The answer? Let's go back to
Isaiah 26:3
You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly father, I understand and know that without You I am nothing. I know that there is no way I can do anything to BE LIKE YOU, but I know that You can make me like you in the renewing of my mind and my heart. As I focus on You everyday you perform a miracle in and through me. You begin to change me into Your likeness. So Lord I know I can do nothing to be like you, but You can do everything to make me like you, and it's through this likeness, that I can experience your Joy, and your peace, that no one but you can understand. Thank you Lord Jesus! Amen.

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