|Photo Credit Kristen Hatcher|
“From within,” one woman replied.
“From relaxing at home and watching sports on TV,” a man said with a smile.
“In nature,” said another.
I confess—I’m not always peaceful. Sometimes the circumstances of life act like thieves creeping into my house in the dead of night to carry off treasures. They rob my sleep, faith, confidence, and contentment. In exchange, they leave forensic fingerprints -- insomnia, doubt, fear, and dissatisfaction.
In contrast to the people interviewed on the street, I don’t find peace from within. Within is where much of my turmoil originates. Sports don’t do it for me either, nor does relaxing at home. And the most beautiful place in nature can only serve as the canvas for peace. I still need a painter to brush it on.
It’s interesting to realize that the apostle Paul penned one of the most well-known New Testament passages on peace from a Roman prison.
In Colossians 3:15-17 we find his pathway to peace, and it can be ours as well. It doesn’t wind toward introspection, through the family room with the flat screen, or even through a quiet forest.
Peace depends on our will. And as I found out recently, where there’s a will, there’s a way . . . to peace.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,” Colossians 3: 15 says, “since as members of one body you were called to peace.”
“Let the peace of Christ.”
“LET the peace of Christ.”
It’s not a matter of finding peace. As believers, we already have peace.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you,” Jesus said in John 14:27.
The matter is not that we don’t have peace; it’s that we don’t allow peace to minister to our hearts and govern our lives.
Read the words of Galatians 3:15 with a different emphasis: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.”
We don’t have peace because we don’t let it rule our hearts. Instead, we allow anxious thoughts, worried imaginings, and fearful fretting to govern us. We think our own thoughts and use our own logic instead of thinking God's thoughts. Although Christ's peace is there for us, we fail to allow it to rule our hearts, squeezing it into a corner like a kindergartener in a cafeteria line full of hungry seniors.
When we consciously and intentionally allow peace to rule in our hearts, however, we move it to the front of the line like an esteemed guest.
When we allow peace to rule our hearts, we let it serve as a judge with the power to overrule faithless emotions like anxiety, fear, and doubt. Clothed in robes of authority, peace spots every objection to faith and banishes them from the courtroom of our hearts.
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you,” Isaiah 26:3 tells us.
The second step toward peace also involves our will.
“LET the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom,” (Gal. 3:16).
To have peace, we must let the word of Christ dwell—take up permanent residence—in our hearts and minds.
As we read and study the truths of Scripture, we find promises to claim, reassurances of God’s love and care for us, and faith-building attributes of God. As we fill our souls with truth, the faithless lies of Satan get squeezed out, leaving space for peace and rest.
The third step toward peace involves thanksgiving. “. . . as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” When we exercise our will rather than our emotions and thank God when we don’t feel thankful, we make room for peace.
Taking stock of our blessings (and there are many, whether we feel like there are or not), reminds us of all God has done for us in the past and all he’s doing for us in the present. This laundry list of ways he’s worked on our behalf gives us strong reason to believe he’ll continue to do so in the future. Thanksgiving banishes doubt and restless uncertainty and clears space for peace.
So you see, peace is a matter of the will.
LET the peace of Christ rule in your hearts?
LET the word of Christ dwell in you richly?
LET yourself sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God?
Then “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7).
Will you let it?
*This post was inspired by a sermon Pastor Robert Winburn shared called "The Peace of a Worry-free Life."
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