John 14:25 – 27 (NKJV)
25“These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.27Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
I have read this passage of scripture numerous times through the years. It is a beautiful hope-filled passage. That said, I am growing more and more convinced that Jesus was not just offering hope but issuing a warning in these words. Peace was being given but it was also something that would have to be looked for and fought for.
The heart of Christianity is rooted in faith. From our initial belief in God to walking out His promises for our life, faith is the key. Is it any wonder the writer of Hebrews would say that without faith it is impossible to please the Lord. Without it we are left to believe whatever life is throwing at us and embracing the fears that hover at the edge of all of our days. Faith is a key to be sought after but I have found myself questioning whether much of our modern teachings on faith is a true representation of faith or just the empty words we speak to pacify our worries and to calm our fears.
To understand faith I think we need to look deeper into these words that Jesus spoke. He promised a comforter who would come and teach us all things. He also promised us that peace was already here. He left it for us but He also told us how much our faith would be tried and that sometimes our faith would be in crisis. To have and keep faith we would need to learn its language and the language of faith is peace.
For most of us we associate peace with a mental state of well being. We feel that if we can dim the volume of our world a bit then we have found peace. It is possible to mistake this surface level emotion as the peace of God but I caution you that it isn’t. The peace Jesus speaks of is something far deeper than a momentary calming of your life. It is the amazing peace of mind and tranquility that arises from reconciliation with God and a sense of His divine favor on your life that can’t be shaken. His peace isn’t about stopping the noise of the world. His peace is about quieting your heart so that you can live in faith.
So the question for me has been how I go about changing my language to one of faith and not of fear. How do I find this treasure that Jesus promised he had left for us? I can’t say I’ve found all the answers but I have found a few things that have helped. I hope these help you also.
A) Put a lock on it
Proverbs 18:21 (TMSG)
21Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.
We often are our own worst enemies when it comes to keeping our peace. We speak words into the air without recognizing the power they hold over our faith and well being. I have taken to avoiding certain people because every time I ask them how they are I know that I’m about to get a garbage bag full of their negativity. Sometimes the greatest words of faith you will speak are the words that you keep locked in your mind. Don’t give life to something that steals your peace. If you can’t praise, then be still until you can.
B) Get off the treadmill
Psalms 46:10 (NKJV)
10Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
It seems to be built into our DNA to have a constant need to be in motion. We live our lives like sharks swimming in the ocean; if we are ever still we will drown. The problem is that often much of the actions we are taking when we find ourselves in conflict or distress are not ordered of God but just our flesh trying to fix what only God can do. How many of us are doing Satan’s work for Him by running around trying to change things instead of being still and letting God? Treadmills can exhaust you, but the reality is that no matter how much energy you put into them in the end you’ve gone nowhere. Get off the treadmill and fight for your peace.
C) Detach and refocus
Psalms 32:7 (NKJV)
7 You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround with songs of deliverance.
I believe in the self-protection of detachment. Some people might claim that I’m advocating that you just give up on any person or situation that is stressful, I am not. I do believe that sometimes you have to let something go and give it to God so that your peace is not constantly threatened by the uncertainty you’re facing. Detaching from the moment will also help you to take the next step which is to refocus.
For me one of God’s best promises I’ve discovered is finding that God will hide me away for a time until I’m strong enough to face what’s in front of me. To retreat into that place is in many ways one of the ultimate acts of surrender. I give myself permission to take a time out from stress and surround my mind with promises that defy and contradict whatever reality I’m facing. It’s in those moments that the Holy Spirit brings oxygen to my soul and strengthens me to stand and fight.
What you focus on will in time become what you worship. The devil works overtime to steal your peace because he understands just how vital it is to you walking in faith. Today I pray more than anything that you can take a step back from what you’re facing and ask your Holy Helper to center you. Center you in His realities, Center you in His possibilities and most of all fill you with peace.