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Living in Peace

Living in Peace

My peace and faith were tested this week. Kathy had a mini-stroke. All kinds of fears and worries went through my mind. I had to take each thought captive, focus on Christ, trust Him, and pray. I had to remember to practice what I preach from the Word of God—to count it all joy when you face various trials—to rejoice in the Lord. I didn’t say rejoice in the trial; I said rejoice in the Lord.

 Phil 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Without God in us, the problems we face and the things of this world will produce anxiety in our lives. But thankfully, when God, the Holy Spirit, is in us, we have His peace. When we obey His Word, God is faithful to fulfill His promises. You see, the peace of Jesus is not something that we possess; it is a direct impartation from Him. He is the Prince of Peace. To live in peace, we must have an intimate relationship with Jesus. In other words, to know Jesus is to know peace.

When we get into His presence, we find rest, confidence, and full assurance that God is in control. In His presence, there is joy and peace; stress is gone. When we quit focusing on the Lord and focus on our trials instead, the enemy brings fear, worry, and stress that robs us of our joy and peace.

Trials are unavoidable, but not impossible to conquer. If we take our problems to the Lord, focus on Him, obey Him, and think on the things His Word tells us to think about, we will be delivered from stress. The trial will still be there, but the stress will be gone. The joy of the Lord and the peace of God will be ours and witness to other people of God’s grace in our lives.

Most people seek a FALSE PEACE: they do not see the connection between Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and peace.

1 Cor 2:14, The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

For instance, the natural man sees no need to be born again. People have the idea that if they are happy, they are all right. If they are happy, contented, and not harming anyone else, they don’t want the Holy Spirit to come and make them conscious of sin, and destroy their happiness. However, happiness is not a sign that they are right with God. Happiness is a sign of satisfaction, that’s all.

Worldly people are averse to the teaching of Jesus Christ, because if He is right, they are wrong. That is why the world hates Jesus and those who are like Him. The Holy Spirit was sent to bring conviction and people don’t like the feeling of conviction. Nevertheless, before God can give us true peace, He has to clear out the rubbish. And before He can do that, He has to show us what our rubbish is. That is one purpose for preaching the Word of God—so we can identify our rubbish and understand why we don’t have real peace.

Jesus Christ disturbs every kind of satisfaction that is less than the peace of God. The so-called “peace” of physical health, of stress-free living, of prosperous circumstances, of an absence of conflict—not one of these is the peace of God. World peace is the absence of war, but it is not the peace of God.

Matt 10:34, Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Jesus Christ came to send a sword through every peace that is not based on a personal relationship to Him. He came to put us right with God so that His peace might reign in our lives. Peace ultimately comes from God, not from us, nor from our circumstances.

John 14:27. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Look closely at what Jesus said. Notice how He described this peace that He wants us to experience. Jesus described this peace as "My Peace" and He specifically said that He was giving it to us. His peace is supernatural and it’s available to those who are followers of Christ.

The peace of God is not something we can manufacture, buy, or earn. The peace of God is first and foremost peace with God. It is a result of a heart that is totally surrendered to Jesus. Individuals gain peace with God when they place their faith in Christ as their personal Savior. The peace of forgiven sins, the peace of a conscience at rest with God, is the immediate result of believing and obeying Him.

When we walk daily with Holy Spirit, then we have the inner, quiet peace of God. It is the peace that comes from focusing on Jesus and is no longer troubled or afraid. Remember Jesus sleeping during a storm? When we are in a trial, do we look at Him or the storm?

If we focus on the storm, His peace is not there. If we allow anything to detract us from Jesus, then we become disturbed. When we transfer all our troubles to God through prayer, the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

It is a tremendous witness of the Prince of Peace living in the believer. People want that kind of peace in their own lives and they become interested in Jesus when they see His peace manifested in our lives.

Only the peace of God passes all understanding. It is difficult to explain if you have not experienced it. No matter how complicated our circumstances may be, one moment with Jesus and the fuss is gone, the panic is gone. He is with us in the storm. In His Presence, there is peace where we can stand firm during distress, disease, destruction, and even death.

Romans 8:6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;

When we give up our right to ourselves entirely to God, making Him the center of our thought, there is an overwhelming sense of being in union with God. Then His life in us, the Holy Spirit, produces His character: love, joy, and peace.

Our responsibility is to see that we allow the peace of God to regulate all that we do. Colossians 3:15, Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

The peace of Jesus is to rule our decisions and actions. Whenever we obey God, His seal of approval is always that of peace. Whenever His peace does not come, wait until it does or find out the reason why it does not. Do not proceed without His peace. If we made a wrong decision, we confess, repent, and return to following the peace of God. This is how we walk by the Spirit.

John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Isn’t it strange that the big things don’t disturb us as much as the trivial things? (Loss of job vs traffic light) The reason we get disturbed is that we take our mind off Jesus. We are to lay even the trivial things before Him, as well as big difficulties, and receive His peace. Be confident in His wisdom and trust Him that all will be well. If we try to figure things out, we are not focused on Jesus and we get anxiety instead of His peace.

Is. 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

Peace from God comes from knowing that He’s in control, trusting Him, and keeping our minds steadfast upon Him. His perfect peace in our lives means that we can experience peace on a level that defies human understanding.

Furthermore, when we have His peace, we are able to relate peacefully with those around us, even our enemies. It means we can experience God’s peace in our church. It means we can experience God’s peace in our homes. It means we can experience God’s peace in our work place.

It doesn’t mean that any of these places will be perfect, because they’re not going to be. But it means in spite of the fact that those places aren’t perfect, we can have God’s peace, because true peace doesn’t ultimately come from us or perfect conditions, it comes from God.

As a result of the peace of God filling our hearts, the Holy Spirit empowers us to be peacemakers, ambassadors of Christ, wherever we go. Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Having established peace with God, through faith in Jesus Christ, we now have the responsibility of actively working to reconcile others to God and to one another. God has committed the responsibility of proclaiming His message of reconciliation to us. We are now His ambassadors, His representatives, His peacemakers. Peacemakers are to make every effort to get out the “good news”—that peace has been made between God and man through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

2 Cor. 5:18-20 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.

Perhaps some of you here today don’t have this peace that I’m talking about this morning. God’s peace comes when we cease to be an enemy of God and humble ourselves under His Lordship. It’s based upon accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. It comes from having your sins forgiven, dying to self in baptism, and having His Holy Spirit living inside you. Jesus Christ will fill you with His Spirit so that you become like Him, full of love, joy, and peace.

Following Jesus is a continuous path of death to self, but it ultimately means being filled with the peace of Jesus Christ, a peace that passes all understanding.