Receive My peace. Those are the words that often come to mind when I seek the Lord with a listening ear.
The lie that gets in the way of obeying is this: I cannot have peace until these difficult circumstances in my life are resolved.
The truth is God’s peace is available 24/7.
When Jesus left this world He said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives…” (John 14:27 NIV). The last part of the verse speaks to what will get in the way of receiving the peace He offers. “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Whenever I read that verse, I’m reminded of a short but powerful song a lady I met at a prayer meeting sang there. “This peace that I have. This peace that I have–the world didn’t give it, and the world can’t take it away.”
As I’ve been contemplating what blocks peace in my life three things came to mind: Unconfessed sin, focusing on problems, and prayerlessness.
So the three keys to receiving peace are these:
–Maintain a repentant heart. David spoke of what it feels like when he held on to sin in Psalm 32: “For day and night your hand was heavy on me;… Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.’ And you forgave the guilt of my sin.”(vs 4-5)
I cannot attain lost peace until I stop denying my sin and humbly acknowledge it.
Letting go of sin shows I desire to obey the Lord. I like the promise in Psalm 119:65 “Those who love Your law have great peace; Nothing makes them stumble.”
–Focus on the Lord. I confess that too often I keep my gaze firmly planted on the problems and pressures of this world. I focus on fools, fears, flaws, failures, which can lead me to be in a frenzy rather than in a state of peace. The verse that speaks to this is Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You: because he trusts in You.”
Turning to God and keeping my mind fixed on Him is a sign that I am trusting in Him, and trust is what brings peace.
–Pray. Sometimes when I lack peace, it takes me awhile to realize that I’ve been doing lots of trying to figure things out myself instead of praying to the One who is in control. When I take on the role of my own problem-solver, peace evades me. In fact, this course can lead to a sense of feeling I’m in a panic.
Philippians 4:6 challenges me to instead pray about everything. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” And the promised result (verse 7) is peace. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
All three of the above keys to peace are interconnected, and as I embrace them I sense God’s peace taking over.
When I looked up John 14:27 in the Amplified Bible a little while ago, I decided my heart’s desire is to do what’s in brackets. “Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge].”
Lord, please give me the grace to do just that.
A number of years ago, I listened to the following song again and again after hearing Cheri Keaggy sing it in person at a women’s retreat. Listening to the song again today reminds me how sweet the peace of God truly is.
“Sweet Peace of God” by Cheri Keaggy
Note: I’ve written about peace before in these Hearts Set Free blogs. If you want to read more, here’s a post from December 10, 2010 https://elainecreasman.wordpress.com/2010/12/10/guaranteed-peace/