Monday, March 19, 2012

What's Different About Your Peace?

Romans 14:15 “for the Kingdom of God is...righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

Luke 17:21 “The Kingdom of God is within you.”

The part of God’s Kingdom on earth right now is inside of us, His people. This part of His kingdom is made up of righteousness, peace, and joy. We’ve already learned that joy is not necessarily an emotion, but a decision based on faith. So it shouldn’t be surprising that our peace is also based on faith.

The world is looking for peace. They wish for it every time they get a microphone. They write songs about it. They’ve turned Christmas into the season of world peace. Sadly, there will be no peace in this earth until Jesus comes back to set up the rest of His kingdom. You can read about that in Revelation 20:1-6. Until then, this world is going to see more and more wars - that’s a promise!

You see, the world describes peace as “the absence of conflict.” Everyone in the world is seeking that in their own life. They just want peace and quiet where nothing goes wrong. But that will never happen in a sinner’s life! Isaiah 48:22 says “There is no peace for the wicked.” As long as someone is outside of the Kingdom of God, they will never find peace. Luke 2:14 agrees with this - it says, “Glory to God in the highest. And on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” That’s the English translation. But the Greek literally says “on earth peace toward men with whom He is pleased.” That’s a little different than we’ve heard every Christmas!

Peace for a believer is much different. Jesus said in the first part of John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.” You see? His peace is not like the world is looking for! The rest of this verse tells us why it’s different. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

The believer’s peace is the responsibility to keep our hearts from being afraid! Peace for a believer is when we’re calm on the inside when all hell is breaking loose on the outside. Just like our joy, our peace is not based on what happening to us. It’s based on what God’s Word promises us. Two chapter later, in John 16:33, we see that our peace is directly connected to what God has said. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.”

So how does a believer stay in this peace? Here are four keys to having the peace of God in your life:

First of all, guard your heart! Jesus directly commanded us not to let our hearts be troubled. Proverbs 4:23 says “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Not everyone should have the privilege of speaking into your heart. In fact, I would say this; don’t take anything that anyone (your friends, your spouse, your family, your television) says to heart unless you know it agrees with what the Bible teaches! Your heart is too important to let careless words weigh it down.

Guard your mind. Keep it focused on heavenly things. When you’re focused on eternity, temporal things lose their urgency. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” When your mind is stayed on Jesus - it brings peace. Philippians 4:8-9 says the same thing. “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 and 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.” When you keep a tight control on what your brain is thinking, it will lead to peace!

Pray and trust God. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “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.” This is one of the simplest commands, but it’s still one of the hardest! When your facing a situation, don’t worry! Pray for it in faith and then thank God for the answer! Then the peace of God will guard your heart and your mind!

Stay in God’s Word. Psalm 119:65 “Great peace have they which love Your law (or His Word): and nothing shall offend them.” When you love God’s Word it brings great peace! Not only will you have peace in your life when you love God’s Word, but nothing will be able to offend you! Actually, this is a great test for why you may not have peace in your life. If nothing can offend someone who loves God’s Word, and you’re offended...well you can see the problem, right? I would almost bet that if you’re offended, you’re also in need of peace in your mind. The cure for both offense and inner turmoil is falling in love with God’s Word!

These four things - guarding your heart from careless words, keeping your mind on heavenly things, faith-filled prayer, and a love for God’s Word - will bring God’s peace for you. But only a consistency in these things will keep His peace in your life!

Psalm 4:8 “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

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