An Encouraging Word
How would you define being at peace with yourself and those around you? Calmness? Serenity? Lack of conflict? Being undisturbed? Having harmony? Being in a quiet state? Is it the absence of conflict? When I look around my local, state, national, and international landscape I see a lack of peace in so many ways.
ISIS wants to terrorize people into submission. Inner-cities erupt into violence over racial tensions and questionable police practices. Countless men, women, and children wander our streets with various addictions. A single parent is working multiple jobs to pay the bills and raise their kids. Another parent is married to their job working 60 plus hours a week while burning themselves out. Our youth are over stimulated with data and streaming images. For some, there is mental illness – something not to be taken lightly.
So where does a person go to acquire the elusive peace in the face of fear, uncertainty, fatigue, insecurity, and feeling of hopelessness during times like these? Some will resort to alcohol, drugs, or religion. For me, and my life experiences, it is first about having a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is not about works; but believing in what Jesus did on the cross and rising from the dead.
John 14:27 and 16:33 (along with numerous other verses) claim that Jesus brings peace to our being. Over time, our lives are characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
We see that God says He provides peace; however, I think we have a part to play in experiencing God’s peace. Are you doing your part to cultivate it? I do not want to over simplify an elusive attribute; but, it takes time and learning to re-order our priorities. Maybe for some it means a lifestyle change or change of behaviors. I’ll leave you with this thought.
The next time you get anxious and overwhelmed remember and pray Philippians 4:6-9 which reads, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praise worthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (NIV)
Scott Bowers - Executive Director