Monday, July 21, 2014

How to Abide in God's Perfect Peace has a way of creeping its slimy self into my life and winding its way around my body until I am literally held captive by its unyielding grip.  I am paralyzed. I cannot move, breathe, or live apart from its power and control over me.  I have become its slave.  

Paul boldly tells me in 2 Timothy 1:7 that "God did not give us a spirit of timidity [fear], but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."  Fear does not come from God!  It comes from Satan and, because I am a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ, I have power over fear.  He has equipped me with the weapons and tools to fight against fear in my life; I just have to know them, know my Jesus's heart and His love for me, and use the tools against Satan's darts of fear.  

The other day, my daughter, who loves to play outside, was pretending to drive to the grocery store, so she opened the door to her little coupe and got in.  I was holding our 7 month old son on the front porch, enjoying the cooler summer weather, when I heard my daughter scream and cry out.  I immediately got up and quickly moved toward her.  When I reached her toy car, I learned that she was crying because a tree frog had made its home in her car.  The frog jumped on her leg, then out of the car, and it scared her.  It frightened her so badly that she screamed and cried out.  In that moment, she was paralyzed with fear; she couldn't move.  She had the power to move and the ability to help herself in that situation, but she was so scared, she couldn't.  She is bigger than a tree frog and he will not physically harm her, but she was so scared in the moment that she didn't think logically.  That's how I am with fear in my life.  When it latches on to me, I forget everything God promised me in His Word.  I forget to use His Word to fight off Satan.  I forget the power and control God has given me as His daughter.

Recently, I experienced that nasty, unrelenting parasite we know as fear.  It took such a nasty grip on my life that I could not shake it; I would wake up during the night in a panic.  So, I started praying.  I am a child of God...I have all the power I need to fight off these demons, why am I letting them control me?  I started digging in God's Word and seeking His peace in this situation.  Through the help of the Holy Spirit and a couple of godly women I know, this is what the Lord taught me about the fear that only comes from Satan.

How to Abide in God's Peace (from Philippians 4:4-9):

1.  Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS!!  Even when I am scared, worried, frightened, frazzled, confused, happy, joyful...even when I am OVERCOME with any of these feelings, I need to REJOICE in Him!  And only because He is worthy!  I should not only rejoice in Him when I am happy or pleased with the way things are going in my life, but always.  This life is not about me!  This life is about God and living for Him, to please Him and bring Him glory because He is everything we need!

2.  Be gentle.  Always and with everyone.  Sometimes, I have a bad habit of speaking or acting harshly with others when I am scared or worried.  When I do that, I am not treating them how Jesus would.  Jesus wasn't scared or worried...He abided in the will of His Father because He knew His Father loved Him more than life itself.  That's where I should be...lying in the boat in the middle of the storm because I know the One Who is in control.  And, instead of treating others harshly, I should be an example of how to experience peace in the midst of a storm.  Jesus knew God's will for Him was death on a cross, yet He did not fear or treat others harshly.  He always made time to help others and spoke gently to those in need who sought Him.

3.  Do not be anxious.  Do not worry about anything!  God is in control.  He holds me and nothing can touch me, not even death itself.  Nothing has control over me except the Holy Spirit.  If I really believe that my heavenly Father loves me more than anything, then I will not worry because I know His heart and I know that He holds me.  No situation comes to me that hasn't already passed through His hands first.  Everything I experience, as long as I am walking with Him, is His will, and should be used to glorify Him.

4.  Thank God and present your requests to Him.  THANK God.  I have to train myself to begin my prayers worshiping and thanking Him, rather than coming to Him with my own desires first.  When I do that, I learn more and more about His heart, His love for me, and His will for my life.  When I come to Him with myself in mind, I miss out on every blessing He has for me because I am focused on myself and not Him.  When I come to Him in thanksgiving and reverence, then I can present my requests to Him.  He wants me to share my heart with Him.  He already knows what I am feeling, but He longs for the intimacy (on my end of the relationship) that comes from me sharing with Him...sharing my thoughts, fears, worries, hopes, dreams, everything.  That helps me rely on Him, seek Him, and to rest in Him because, if I leave my requests with Him, I am not trying to accomplish anything through my own strength.  I leave all the work to Him and trust His answers.  I have never experienced more peace than when I do that!

5.  Think about things that are of God or from God.  I don't know about you, but when I focus on the things of this world, my own failures, or lies from Satan, I get DEPRESSED!  But when I shift my eyes to Him, the One Who holds me in His hand, I become more and more aware of His will for me.  I am confident that the steps I am taking are only because of His leading; and, if he has led me to a certain place, He will provide for all my needs there...I don't have to worry.  I just sit back in surrender and He calms me with His perfect peace.

6.  Learn from God and do what I learn.  God's Word is LIVING and ACTIVE (Hebrews 4:12)!! It is meant to be put into practice.  God's power cannot work in me and through me unless I am actively living out His Word.  As I actively follow Him, obeying His commands and principles, then I experience more and more peace in my life because I am slowly giving up all control to the One Who is in control anyway and allowing Him to work in me and through me.  I become His vessel, and all the pressure is off of me.  I don't have to make anything happen because He is already there.  The Lord knows the beginning, middle, and end of my story...He is already there.  Let Him carry you to the end of your story as only He can and experience His perfect peace along the way!

If we focus on things of this world, we have no hope--the world is dying; it will pass away, and there is evil in this world.  Jesus is our only hope and salvation from sin and death!

Here are more Scripture passages about God's peace:

  • Isaiah: 9:6; 26:3,12; 53:5
  • Philippians 4:4-9
  • Galatians 5:22
  • Romans: 16:20
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:16
  • Hebrews 13:20-21

There are plenty more passages in the Bible to help us abide in God's peace.  Dive into God's Word and ask Him to show you more!!!

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