God promises peace to those who are His. He does this first of all by giving us peace with Him through the sacrifice of His Son. Jesus’ death on the cross opened the way for a just and holy God to forgive the sins of fallen humanity and restore us to a right relationship with Himself. God, in Christ, reconciled us to Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19) so that we can be at peace with Him (Romans 5:1) God then gives us His peace (John 14:27) by living in us by His Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Since peace is promised to all followers of Christ, why then do so many believers seem to lack His peace? What robs us of that peace? While there are many things we could blame – circumstances, trials, demons, ect. – there are underlying those things two basic reasons for a lack of peace.
1. causes guilt feelings
2. interferes with relationship to God
3. causes the Holy Spirit to convict instead of comfort and encourage
4. hardens the heart making spiritual senses dull
5. gives ground to the enemy who will, “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10)
Failure to control our thoughts:
Your thoughts determine your emotions and guide your actions – “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). If our thoughts are always focused on what is or could go wrong, we will be filled with anxiety. If our thoughts are of rejection, loneliness, and uselessness; we’ll be filled with depression, despair, and thoughts of suicide. If our thoughts are of injustice, betrayal, broken dreams, and frustrated desires; we’ll be filled with anger, hatred, bitterness, and unforgiveness.
How to regain and keep your peace:
1. Confess your sins and repent – let peace be restored between you and God
“if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1st John 1:9)”.
“Repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord… (Acts 3:19)”.
2. Obey - “…if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we keep His commands and do what pleases Him. (1st John 3:21-22)”.
3. Redirect your thoughts - Keep your thoughts focused on what is “true, righteous, pure, holy, good, and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8)” taking “every thought captive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5)”.
Get in the Scriptures and let them guide your thoughts; “be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2)”. The Scriptures are all about God; therefore, fix your thoughts on God. He is the One who takes care of us in all circumstances, who loves us and saves us, who calls us and equips us, who will make all things right in the end. He renews and restores us, He remakes us and sets us free – and He is ever faithful. If all of these things - the unchanging character and nature of God - are ever on our minds, then we will know true peace – “perfect peace”. With our focus on God we can have peace that “surpasses all understanding” in the midst of trouble, trial, testing, and persecution because that peace – the “peace of God” – will guard our hearts and minds (Phil. 4:7). We can have this peace only by rejecting our negative thoughts and turning to God in prayer and with thanksgiving (Phil. 4:6). If we remember these things and focus our thoughts on God in particular, and if we are striving to live in obedience to Him, there will be no lack of peace for “the God of peace will be with you (Phil. 4:9)” and “He Himself is our peace (Eph. 2:14)”.
4. Trust God to take care of you – “Depend on the Lord; trust Him and He will take care of you (Ps. 37:5?)”.
God is all-powerful, all-wise, faithful, and good. Those who trust in God can be confident that He will take care of them. “As Scripture says, ‘Anyone who believes in Him will never be put to shame.’ (Romans 10:11)” for, “the eyes of the Lord go back and forth over the whole earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are fixed on Him. (2 Chronicles 16:9)”. He will not fail you… ever. If you will trust in God and keep your thoughts focused on Him, you will know that “perfect peace” (Isaiah 26:3).
Point to Ponder
Are you lacking peace right now in your heart and life? First, do you have peace with God (Romans 5:1) by faith in the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ, which is the forgiveness of your sins (Ephesians 1:7)? You will never know true and lasting peace if you do not have peace with God through Christ. Second, if you have peace with God and a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, are you striving to live in complete obedience to Him according to His inspired Word? Remember; through willful and ongoing disobedience you forfeit God’s peace in your heart and life. Third, if you have peace with God and strive to obey Him in all things, then what is the main focus of your thoughts? Remember to “fix your eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2), He is the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
Let’s pray, “Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son, the Lord Jesus, to die in our place – taking on Himself the penalty for our sin that we might be able to have peace with You. We confess our sins before You and turn to You with all our hearts. Forgive our sins and cleanse us (1 John 1:9) with the blood of Jesus – the “lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)”. As we are Yours, Father, teach us to walk in obedience to Your will – revealed in Your Word – by the power of Your Holy Spirit who dwells in us. May we strive to keep a clear conscience before You that we may come to You in confidence (1 John 3:21-22), knowing that You hear us and answer us (1 John 5:14-15). When negative thoughts try to fill our minds, remind us to “take every thought captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5) – refusing to think about those negative things that pull us down, but to fix our minds on You – to remember all that You have done and are doing for us according to Your good plans for us because of Your character and love. We determine that right now, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, we will fill our hearts and minds with Your Word – that we may know You better – and in every circumstance we will obey You and trust You that You may guard our hearts and minds with Your peace (Phil. 4:7) and the joy of Your presence (Psalm 16:11). Thank You for the riches of Your grace that You lavish on us every day (Ephesians 1:7-8). In the name of the Lord Jesus who is “the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) and is our peace (Eph. 2:14) we pray. Amen.”
And now, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)”.