Peace is not situational. Experiencing true peace is not found by changing our lives, other people or our circumstances. Have you ever thought the following? If only … or If only I could … find the perfect job, have more time or money, find the perfect vacation or relationship, etc.? These things can’t produce the peace God promises because these are looking for peace in all the wrong places. Nobody can take your peace from you but very often we allow people and things to rob us of God’s peace i.e. the demands of our job, family, etc.
The pace, stress and insecurity of modern life i.e. personal, family, career, financial, social, and safety issues (i.e. robbery, rape, terrorism, etc.) can affect our peace as well as physical and psychological ills (i.e. suffering, sickness and disease; fear, worry, anxiety and depression). Medicine, therapy and medications can help, but not totally vanquish our fears and provide the peace we are looking for. Some stress is a normal part of modern life, due to its fast pace but it can wreak havoc on your health and relationships. We must come to the place of trusting in God, and resting in the character of God to experience His peace.
Jesus is our Peace, our Shalom and dwells on the inside of us when we received Him as our Lord and Savior (Colossians 1:27; Ephesians 2:14; Isaiah 9:6). Your external circumstances shouldn’t affect your internal peace because He is in you! The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23) was deposited inside you as a seed therefore, through the Spirit, you can experience peace, which is a fruit of the Spirit, in every circumstance, good or bad! Shalom means peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility.
In the video we watched last week, John Paul Jackson provided his simplest definition of Shalom as: fear, chaos and anarchy leave; and calm and tranquility come! We experience the absence of peace when we forget who lives inside of us and we allow fear, anxiety and worry to prevail in our lives. All throughout the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments we are told by God not to fear (Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:9; Psalm 23:4; 27:1; 34:4; 46:1-3; 91:1-16; Isaiah 35:4; 43:1; John 14:27; Matthew 6:34; etc.).
Jesus has promised that He would be with us always even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). The first thing Jesus said to His disciples when He appeared to them in the room following His resurrection was, “Peace to you!” (John 20:26). He is our peace in the midst of our storms. Let’s look at how Jesus was the peace, Shalom in the midst of a storm.
On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was, other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” Mark 4:35 – 41 (NKJV)
There are many things in life that we could be anxious or worried about i.e. our finances, sickness and disease, our marriage, our children, a promotion we want, what job to apply for etc. We must not align with or allow fear, anxiety or worry to function in our lives. It occurs because of the way we respond to a problem. Anxiety or worry affects our emotions. Our emotions give us a clue as to what drives us and is related to what we are thinking. Investigate your feelings to determine how they might be affecting you; stay in the present. Don’t let your emotions rule you.
What we are feeling and thinking about will affect our behavior and health. We are a triune being with a spirit, soul and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Thoughts of anxiety, worry, fear, unforgiveness and bitterness can also affect our body and cause sickness and disease. Forgive yourself and others as Christ has forgiven you and don’t let a root of bitterness grow (Matthew 6:14, 15; Luke 17:3, 4; Ephesians 4: 31, 32; Colossians 3:13; 1 John 1:9; Hebrews 12:15).
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. 3 John 2 (NKJV)
We are told in the Bible to take our thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). That simply means gaining control over what we are thinking about (Romans 12:21; Philippians 4:8). We are to take responsibility for our thoughts. As we meditate on God’s Word, our minds become transformed by it (Romans 12:2). God has provided a way for us to overcome unhealthy thoughts so that we can act right. We don’t have to react to problems or be fearful or anxious.
Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NKJV)
Tony Evans explains in his message entitled “Be Happy, Don’t Worry” that worry or anxiety is different than concerns which are thinking about people, places, things or ideas that may be negative but you have been made aware of them so a solution can be found. Concerns don’t control you or your thinking but worry and anxiety does. Being anxious is a choice. Worry or anxiety drains our emotional tank and saps our energy. We may be controlled by the pain of the past, the problems of the present or the fear and uncertainty of the future. When we are anxious, something is out of order. We can choose to be anxious or we can choose to be at peace.
In order to walk in peace, we must first recognize that God is in control and believe that God loves us! God Himself embodies perfect love because He is love. When we have a revelation of God’s love for us, we will not fear (2 Timothy 1:7; 1 John 2:5; 1 John 4:15-18). Then we need to make a daily decision not to be anxious or to worry, but to take these things in prayer to our Heavenly Father in Jesus name. When you give these things in prayer to Him, you can experience His peace.
Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what is at the root of the anxiety. You may need His healing touch to some hurts or pains from your past; or something you are fearful about in the future. Peace isn’t experienced just by praying but by trusting in Him and by transferring our cares and worries over to Him (1 Peter 5:7). In other words, using your faith which is how God’s kingdom works! This isn’t just any peace it is a supernatural and powerful peace.
The peace of God transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Peace that we can have in spite of our circumstances, because we are looking to Jesus, and trusting Him to figure it all out. When problems are coming at us, instead of worrying, take these problems to God in prayer (Matthew 6:34; 1 Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:6) and focus on Jesus through worship and give praise and thanks to Him! Prayer is inviting God into a specific problem then thanking Him for the opportunity to see Him work in that situation!
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)
Peace from God gives us authority from God so we can command fear, anxiety and worry to leave in Jesus’ name and for Shalom to come. Authority is not something we do but what we walk in. Satan wants us to operate in fear and unbelief, instead of peace and faith and trusting in Jesus. Remember that Jesus gave us authority over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19). Satan can’t do anything to us apart from fear, just like God doesn’t do anything for us apart from faith. Without fear, Satan doesn’t have a connection with us!
It is so important to guard what we see and hear because it can allow fear to enter our heart. Remember those nightmares you had as a child after watching a scary movie? Well, it is no different today. What we hear, listen to, watch, see and read matters and affects us i.e. news, social media, newspapers and magazines, etc. But whatever we are facing, we can cast the fear out of our thoughts, believe what the Word says and do what the Word says to do! Take God’s Word, His promises and start out with the answer in prayer by praying the promises in His Word over your life and situation, e.g. Psalm 91. You may want to stop listening and looking at all those things that are fearful in the news and media today. Fix your heart by keeping God’s Word before your eyes.
He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established; he will not be afraid, until he sees his desire upon his enemies.Psalm 112:7, 8 (NKJV)
Our anxiety can be passed on to others around us through nagging comments, irritation or anger and when talking about our problems or listening to the news and others who are talking about negative events. Our words have the power to heal or harm (Proverbs 18:21) and to bring stress or peace. We need to stop worrying and create an environment where trust and faith can grow. We can also change the atmosphere we walk in through the peace of Jesus who is in us.
When we trust in Christ and rely on the Holy Spirit by walking in God’s peace through relationship with Him, we can pronounce freedom and peace over our own circumstances and even the lives of those we love. Peace intimidates our enemy and he will do everything he can to try to get us out of peace. The supernatural effects of the gospel of peace are able to demolish strongholds in our lives and to set us free.
According to Ephesians 6:15, part of the Armor of God are our shoes of the gospel of peace. They are designed to stand stable and strong against the attacks of the enemy and to move forward and announce the good news of Jesus Christ and His victory. The shoes of peace can go into the territory of our lives that are currently under enemy influence and get it back in Jesus’ name. We can then share this freedom with others, and let them know that they can have victory in Jesus as well.
We can do this by allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us in living and sharing the blessings of the gospel of peace with those around us as we submit to the Holy Spirit’s leadership promptings. Chris Gore who is on the leadership team at Bethel Church in Redding, California and is the Director of the Bethel Healing Rooms shares how Jesus is healing children with Autism when he ministers the peace of Jesus to them.
Some practical applications to walking in the peace of God
1) We must stay close to our Savior and spend time with Him through fellowship with Him (i.e. worship, meditating on the Word and prayer).
a) Stay focused on Jesus, His faithfulness and the promises in God’s Word.
b) Pray specifically and ask Him what you should do about the problems you are experiencing. Listen for His still small voice (that impression deep inside you and follow the Holy Spirit’s promptings). Continue to pray over the situation until you get His peace then obey what He tells you to do.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7 (NKJV)
“Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Mark 11:24 (NKJV)
2) Guard your heart, thought life and your prayer life. Your thought life affects your peace, whether positive or negative. You can choose to change the way you think or what you think.
You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)
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, 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)
Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 (NKJV)
3) Have an attitude of gratitude, joy (Godly happiness) and thanksgiving. God is a God of abundance. Learning to be thankful regardless of the circumstances (not for the circumstances, but in the midst of them) will yield a larger, richer life securely grounded in God’s goodness.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11 – 13 (NKJV)
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Colossians 3:15 (NKJV)
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice! Philippians 4:4 (NKJV)
4) Practice the simple life
a) Make adjustments to your schedule. There are so many demands on us – from the world, the church, other people and even ourselves. We tax our schedules. We feel overwhelmed, confused and perplexed. There are some things we can do to help find peace in this chaos. Change what you can change. If we are the ones creating our schedules, we can change them. Or we could talk to whoever is creating our schedules and help them get a better idea of what is needed in that situation.
Sometimes we just need to set a boundary by saying NO when someone asks us to do something! We should set our priorities according to God’s will. It is crucial that we make our relationship with Jesus the top priority in our lives because He can order our steps.
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Psalm 37:23 (NKJV)
A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV)
b) Start your day spending time with Him and His Word and in worship and prayer by surrendering your day and your plans to the Lord. Don’t ask Him to bless your plans. Ask Him to help you make them so that instead of being anxious and stressed out throughout the day, you have already asked the Lord to show you what plans to make and what tasks to accomplish. You will actually find that you have more time to spare when He plans your day!
Making Jesus your highest priority by spending time with Him gives focus to your thinking. Other priorities fall into their proper place when He is first and foremost in your life. When interruptions come into your plans, you can then look to Him for help because you know He has planned your day.
c) Live in Peace with others.
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Romans 12:18 (NKJV)
For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33 (NKJV)
d) Exercise, get plenty of sleep and rest and plan times of relaxation. There is a difference between sleep and rest. Our mind is still processing the day’s events, thoughts and feelings during our sleep. So, in order to have the rest that we need, our mind needs to be at peace without thoughts of worry, anxiety or fear. Even our spirit is awake during the night when God may speak to us through dreams and visions.
When we walk in the Spirit we will stay in His peace. In fact, when you leave that place of peace in Him, you are walking in the flesh and not in the Spirit. Remember, you are able to choose how you feel, what you think about and how you will respond to a circumstance! You must decide to rejoice in the Lord, don’t be anxious for anything and take it to Jesus in prayer. Every time you are starting to worry or when anxiety strikes, go to God in prayer and ask Him to give you His peace and His answers. Jesus is your Peace!
Evans, Tony. “Be Happy, Don’t Worry.” Living Above the Circumstances-Vol 2. MP3. 2014.