How do you think of ‘peace’? Not having any problems? All is perfect in your corner of the world? The dictionary describes peace as “freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession, etc.; harmony; serenity”. How great that would be if we could remain in this state forever! However, we have to come back down to reality at some point. But…what if there was a continued supply of peace we could tap from whenever we needed it? What if peace, ‘the freedom of distraction and anxiety’, is available to us anywhere and anytime we need it? Well, it is.
I’ve been reading the book “The Three Battlegrounds” by Francis Frangipane. While almost every chapter so far has really hit home with me, Chapter 7 sticks out. It takes about ruling in the midst of my enemies. The best way to rule is to rest in God’s peace. Let me elaborate.
A couple weeks ago I was talking to a friend about my walk and I told her, it was strange: I still have issues, I still have unresolved hurt and questions and sometimes I want to cry, but…I don’t. Somehow I am overcome with a great sense of calm…of peace…even though things aren’t perfect. I always thought of peace as everything was perfect, but it’s even more then that’s in God’s dictionary. Peace with God is like having calmness in a storm, knowing that you are going to be ok. Somehow, I just know it’s going to be okay. I feel a great warmth covering me, as if the dread of worry and anxiety that I usually carry had just been…melted away. I believe God melted that for me. By submitting to His will and trusting him He has rewarded me with this great weapon of peace. And God’s peace isn’t the same peace of this world. It’s even better. His peace provides calmness even in the middle of a storm. Distractions may be there but His peace is even stronger. With Him I can resist the doubt, the fear, the anxiety. Amazingly, I can look into the eye of the storm and admit, “I may get bashed around by you, you may very well knock me down, but I’m gonna be okay. God’s got my back. In Him I lay my life and with Him, I am not afraid.” John 14:27
I always thought I had a relationship with God, but what I had before was nothing. My quick bible readings here and there and infrequent Sunday church attendance were like saying ‘hi’ in the hallways and continuing about my day like it was enough. Now, I start my mornings with Him, by thanking Him for another day and asking Him to walk with me whether it’s good or bad. I may talk to Him off and on all day long asking for His clarity, direction or going to Him in prayer on behave of others. As I’ve drawn closer to Him, I can see that my trust and faith in Him has truly grown. My daughter’s favorite bible verse Hebrews 11:1 explains, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” So I hope in the Lord and have faith that although I can’t see it, it will come to pass. The book states that “Victory comes by refusing to judge by what our eyes see or our ears hear, and by trusting that what God has promised will come to pass. We will never know Christ’s victory in its fullness until we stop reacting humanly to our circumstances.” (Page 40) Therefore victory comes from having FAITH even though we can’t touch it, and TRUST in God’s will for us. We have to stop giving the devil access to so much of our lives! We need to start acting more like children of God then just…children! All the worry and stress in the world didn’t solve my problems. It only drains me and exacerbates my circumstances – it kept me tied to the flesh and brought others down who came close enough to me. In reality, worry and doubt never make anything better, but I’ve learned that by leaning on faith and trusting that God has plans for me to prosper, never to harm (Jeremiah 29:11), I find my ever-flowing fountain of peace. By letting go of my normal reactions of self pity, worry and doubt, more positive attitudes are adopted. He will never guide me wrong. I only need to follow His word and trust Him, lean not on my understanding and always acknowledge Him. He will make my paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
The book states that “Satan’s arsenal consists of such things as fear, worry, doubt, self-pity, etc. Every one of these weapons robs us of peace and leaves us troubled inside.” (page 40) By worrying, fretting, stressing out, we are giving into the flesh – powering the devil’s appetite for our souls. Don’t let him rob you like that! Let me reiterate the description of ‘peace’: “freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession, etc.” Remember how I’ve said that the mind is the devil’s playground? When our mind is free from anxiety, doubt, fear, we are actually freeing ourselves from the devil’s hold! So what are we waiting for?! Let’s close down the playground!! Free your mind from these weapons of anti-peace! Live by the spirit which is led by Christ and not by the flesh which is grounded to earth and our sinful nature. God wants to free us from our fleshy desires and will if we just ask Him. (Yep, It’s that whole free will thing again…)
Instead of using the weapons in the devil’s arsenal, use the weapons God has given us to weather the storms. I like how this book explained that “In the battles of life, your peace is actually a weapon. Indeed, your confidence declares that you are not falling for the lies of the devil.” (Page 41) By trusting in God and having faith that your prayers will be heard, you are warding off the devil. How great is that!? Did you know that the devil isn’t scared of you at all, it’s Christ that’s in you that terrifies him. So suit up with other Godly armor including truth, righteousness, faith, salvation, the written word (bible), and prayer. (Ephesians 6:10-18) How great is that? God knew there would be a battle of spirit and flesh and he supplied us the full armor to protect ourselves! Praise God!
Our adversary feasts on our doubt because it draws us closer to him and farther away from God. And God gave us that armor for a reason – we need to remember that God never said we wouldn’t have trials or problems…actually to the contrary. God said to consider it pure joy when we face trials because it tests our faith and develops perseverance! (James 1:2-3) Keep in mind perseverance means ‘steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose.’ Do you get the importance of this verse?? God understands that it’s hard for us not to sin, but He wants us to persist in our resistance to it. He wants our spirit to win! In doing so, we will grow closer to Him and that’s what God wants – a close relationship with His children, not just a ‘hi’ in the hallway. Also keep in mind that God will never tempt us – that’s the devil – but God will test us. He wants us to grow closer to Him, so if we have to fall off our bikes a few times, He’ll keep band-aids handy, but unfortunately He will never do it for us. That’s where we have free will and like I’ve said many times before, free will sure isn’t free. Sometimes I’d rather not have free will at all because the flesh is so easily tempted, it’s so easy to fall into what we want verses what God wants, but because of my faith and trust in God, I will persevere…and God will be there with me every step of the way…even when I stumble.
The book also warns that pursuing to battle the devil is futile until you have fully submitted to God. I encourage you to read this book, read your bible, go to church, enroll in a class at one of the many great churches in Evansville and get into a deeper relationship with God. (If you know of such a class in Evansville, please leave info in comments!) If you are already a believer and have fallen away, rekindle that flame! If you are right there with me, then…AMEN! Follow God’s will and He will lead you to victory, a victory that is so sweet you cannot even comprehend. Get out of the hallway and have a heart to heart with our Heavenly Father. He loves you and wants to give you peace. “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.” —John 14:27
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you. —Isaiah 26:3
“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.” —John 16:33
“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.” —John 14:27
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. —Romans 5:1
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:6-7
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” —Romans 14:17-19
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” —Colossians 3:15
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” —2 Thessalonians 3:16
Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. —Psalm 34:14
Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. —Psalm 119:165
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. ~ Isaiah 53:5
Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who gets understanding,
for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
and her profit better than gold.
She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace. —Proverbs 3:13-17 ESV