And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Who doesn’t need peace in their life.
The very thought even as a Christian sounds so incredibly appealing. The pressures and pursuits of this world weigh down so heavily. Job, family, church, friends, volunteer ministries, bills; the responsibilities and commitments are everywhere all demanding more and more of our attention until there is little left over.
And without a doubt, the world marketing system is built upon that concept of peace. If I just get a better education I can get a better job and make more money then get a better car, bigger house, fatter retirement account, nicer toys, take better vacations…
… all so I can finally have the sense that I have arrived and I can be at peace
…when my family starts treating me better, my boss begins to respect me, traffic isn’t so bad, the prices aren’t so high, my kids begin to listen, my teacher quits giving so much homework…..
..When the world sees how hard I am trying, when God answers my prayers, when I finally catch a break, when my parents or my ex-spouse or ex-friends say “I’m sorry” …
…if we just party a little harder, get some better weed, find another bottle, buy another 6-pack, get a cooler place to hang out, get some energy drinks to go with this, find some hot girls to join us…
… boy I can’t wait until I get home to surf the internet, or lock my office door for just a moment, or cruise the beach looking for girls, or pick up a magazine on the way home, or stop at the video store to get a movie from the back room, or cruise the same street or bars where I can always find someone to pick up.
…Or get that promotion, that raise, land that big deal, get the contract signed….
I suspect I rambled on a bit much here, but in reality nearly every one of those I have pursued in my own life in years past, desiring to find “the one thing” that will finally give me that sense of peace that comes from believing “I have all I need”.
IT IS NEVER ENOUGH
Solomon through the Book of Ecclesiastes settles this completely. He was a man above all men, filled with riches, wisdom, success and pleasures beyond anything the world had seen up to that point and possibly even seen since then. He was incredibly disillusioned, never did any pursuit and attainment of anything this world has to offer provide lasting satisfaction in the end.
Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
God’s word, his commands and precepts are not there as a weapon to destroy us, to fit us into some type of religious mold to make us all robots. The bible is the highest form of love He could ever give us, written instructions on how to live our lives in a manner that brings us closer to being able to provide the same unconditional love to others that He showers on us. We don’t deserve it, we didn’t earn it, it is by His grace alone that He saved, is saving, and promises to save us.
But we must respond to His call, to be healed by Him, to be a student of His, and then to carry this message of healing and hope and love and mercy and kindness and charity and grace to others.
When we come to a place in our walk where we can tangibly and physically see the miracles of Christ’s work on the cross and experience the change of heart that the Holy Spirit and God’s word does at the soul level we are then called to take this message to others, through not only words but even more so the way we engage the world.
No longer are we to be in selfish pursuits of what I can get out of this world, but instead how can I help those who have less. If I have millions I can support entire ministries, and if I only have a few dollars I can try and help my community, and if I have nothing I can give freely my time and talents to my neighbors and the divine appointments around me.
There is a not a single possession or relationship on this planet that can give us what only God can; through the pursuit of Him we can attain true supernatural peace.
Here is today’s verse in full context
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Father God, I have come to realize that for many months I have been praying for You to reveal the idols in my life, the areas that I cling to for comfort and peace so that I may freely surrender them to You. It is no coincidence that in the last few weeks the various bible-studies I’m involved in have all verged upon Solomon and his pursuit of not just wealth but “everything under the sun” and he found them all lacking, empty. I see in my own life Lord how I still cling to having a financial cushion, relational ease, physical comfort, and even sanctification at a pace that I expect. None of these things are bad Father and I thank you for them all, but reach into my heart Lord and help me rejoice and praise you when money isn’t abundant and relationships are messy and health is waning. You have provided exactly what I asked Lord, a heavy heart that can no longer rejoice in the pursuits of the things this world values but instead a heart that can only be filled with joy and purpose and passion when I’m pursuing You alone. May all of our lives be lived out in the pursuit of You first Lord and in that You will provide what wen need and we will do our best to rejoice in all that You provide and no longer wish we had more of anything that has no value without You at the foundation. Thank you Father God for your word that sets us free but only when we live it out. Knowledge is not enough, it must lead to action. This is difficult Lord, but Your grace abounds, thank You for your patience and mercy. In Jesus precious name I pray…