Psalm 107:27-29 (NLT)
They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits’ end. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves.
This morning I woke up as I usually do and started my day in much the same way that I always do. I started my devotions and I hadn’t gone very far before I realized something profound, or at least it was for me. At first I was going to just tuck it away like a treasure but then I thought I really need to share this. Share it so perhaps some brother or sister will be pulled away from the distractions of this world long enough to embrace the peace the passes understanding. Share it so that those who already have their arms wrapped around that peace comes to a better. Do so, by attempting to outline the place that God had me nestled in His love this morning. Because such a treasure, should be shared.
This realization took place this morning, as I contemplated the passage above. “They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits’ end.” That was me not so many years back! I was a defeated Christian running as hard as I could from the very Lord that loved me. Maybe you find yourself running away too. Or maybe you are tired of running so you are just standing by idly languishing in doubts, not really sure of the correct direction the next step. Or perhaps, you are following the Master but can use the encouragement to persevere. Then hopefully this will provide you some insight into what you desire from your heart.
Peace and comfort are not things that we can attain directly. They come to us as a result and realization of some other things.
You must be born again!
If you’ve read many of the articles that I’ve written you more than likely expected this. You might have expected it towards the end of this writing. Well, you were right on the mark. But instead of leading up to this we are going to lead off with it. Lead off because ‘real’ peace and comfort can only be achieved when we’ve entered into a relationship with the Creator. Lead off with the words of Christ the Savior.
John 3:7 (NLT)
So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’
Romans 10:9-10 (NLT)
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.
Acts 4:12 (NLT)
There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
The very first and most critical component of peace is in faith, surrender your life to Christ. If we really begin to understand what that means and really put our faith in Jesus, then we are done here. It’s as simple as inserting our faith in Jesus as our Savior and Redeemer.
Being a true believer in Jesus Christ and living a successful Christ centered life in essences demands only one thing on our part; Faith. There are many components that you will hear and read about, we’ll even discuss a few of them here, but virtually all of them trace their origin back to our initial investment of Faith in Jesus.
When we put in our faith in Him He covers us with several things.
- Salvation – This thing called Grace. When we place our Faith in Jesus for our forgiveness. He covers us with His Grace. Abundant and ever vibrant Grace.
Romans 3:20-24 (NLT)
For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.
But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
Peter 1:2 (NLT)
May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:37-39 (NLT)
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
There are several passages to illustrate the love poured out on us, but I picked this one for the power it projects His love being granted to the believer. His love is manifested in ‘overwhelming victory’; through Christ, who loved us. Then this passage conclude with, “nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
As a result of our vested Faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:28 (NIV)
For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.
God is a 100% pure in his judgment and we are 100% guilty in our sin. The Salvation imparted to us through faith in Jesus isn’t just a ‘Get out of jail’ card. We go from being impure, scarred by sin, corrupt by nature, vile creatures; to pure, clean, and holy before God, robed in His righteousness. Not because of who we are or anything we have done because God chooses to do this when we invest our faith in His Son.
This is why we have that ‘overwhelming victory’ we talked about before. We have that because due to our faith in trust in Jesus, we are justified in every way. All things become new. Those scars are healed smooth and without blemish. Those stains of sin and corruption are washed clean by the blood of the Lamb.
- Peace and Hope
Romans 5:1-2 (NIV)
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
We have reached the focus of article; ‘Peace and Hope’. As mentioned earlier, we could have simply stopped at Faith because the rest of this flows from God to us and what initiates that is in fact, Faith in Jesus Christ.
From here, let’s jump off into what can inhibit the potential or maximize peace and hope. It should be safe to say that at this point regardless we should have some semblance of peace and hope. However there are factors that can come in the way of what God would have for us.
Building Blocks and Stumbling Stones of Faith
There are two classifications of factors that figure into a Christians potential for Peace and Hope. They include inhibiting factors and enabling factors.
In general factors that inhibit the peace of God from flourishing in a believer have a direct correlation to failures in our walk with the Lord. Because they all funnel back the same contributing issues we’ll step through them and then look at what contributes to them.
- Doubt – Doubts we suffer are almost always proportional level of failure on our part to surrender fully to God. It eats away at strength of our faith and hope at the same time
- Lack of trust – When we fail to trust God’s ability to care for us as His children we likewise are unable to remain faithful as we should be.
- Disobedience – We are saved by faith in the Grace of Jesus, but that doesn’t absolve us from repentance and changing our minds and direction to the path which God directs us. This is always going to be consistent with Scripture and pointed out by the Holy Spirit. Failure to obey contributes to guilt and defeats us before we even get started.
- Self-worship – All three of the prior issues can be effectively caused by self-worship. Self-worship comes in many forms and you should consider it the most prolific Anti-Christ in existence.
The reason I say this has to do with how common the enemy uses self-worship to dampen our trust in the Lord.
I use the term Anti-Christ because that is exactly what it is. When we elevate ourselves above Jesus this becomes an “Anti”-Christ standing between you and Jesus Christ the Lord.
1 John 2:18 (NIV)
Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.
Examples of self-worship would include:
- Money priories – We’ve established our giving in Tithes and offerings but we modify that due to personal desires.
- Not taking time in the Word of God – Your schedule is consistently too busy to feed on God’s Word which would indicate that your priority isn’t God’s priority.
- Isolation from the Body of Christ – Yes this might be Church or it may be other things. Understandable that there may be situations that preclude you from these things but when the motivating factor in your absence is simply that you would rather do something else instead then it falls into question if you’ve crossed that line.
- Self-dependence – Taking back from God that which you’ve given.
If you’ve given your life to Jesus, that wasn’t signing on to a time share. You don’t get to pick and choose when God is active in your life and when you would prefer to take the reins for a few miles down the road.
Then why do we want to take control of issues? If the answer to that is because they are too important it displays an inability to trust that God will fulfill your needs. On the other hand, if the issue is not significant enough and we wouldn’t want to bother God with it, then our vision of God doesn’t consider His Omnipotence, Omnipresence, and Omniscience. These three attributes of God mean a) He has the power and ability to do anything he chooses, b) He is everywhere all the time (you may have thought he was just sitting on his throne in heaven), and he knows everything that is to be known. This doesn’t consider his many other attributes; He IS a GREAT GOD!
In either case, when we ‘taking control’ of the situation we are inserting ourselves and our will ahead of Gods will. Rather than turning it over to God, we question God’s willingness or ability to deal with our needs and trusting in ourselves more than God.
Understanding inhibiting factors and working counter to them is important to not only finding oneself at peace but also impacts contentment, joy, confidence, and general well being due to elimination of stress.
The enabling factors are almost in direct opposition to the inhibiting factors.
1. Surrender – The more that we can surrender to the Lord and allow Him to direct our steps the easier everything becomes. I love the way that the King James Version reflects this with Saul on the road to Damascus.
Acts 9:5 (KJV)
And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
The ‘pricks’ were the wooden spurs equipped in the rigging of an animal pulling a cart which would act to prevent the animal from bolting away out of control.
When we refuse to surrender we do precisely that. We bolt away out of control to pursue our own agenda instead of waiting for the reigns of the Master to direct our steps. God wants and will use us, but it important to leave the ‘what and when’ to Him
2. Prayer – We so often sharing our thoughts with the Lord. Remember the attribute of Omnipresence? He is with us always. How rude is it not to communicate with someone traveling life with you? Prayer is our means of maintaining communication with the Lord. How can we expect Him to direct us if we don’t maintain the conversation?
Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on prayers for all the Lord’s people.
3. Get in The Word – It is alarming how many that profess faith in Jesus seldom are reading their Bibles. The scriptures are there for our instruction, to encourage us, to provide us a foundational knowledge and understanding of what God has to say, about a vast assortment of information. If the translation you’re reading isn’t working for you, get a solid modern translation that you can get nourishment from daily.
Psalm 119:15-16 (NIV)
I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.
4. Function within the Body of Christ – Don’t listen to the lie that the devil attempts to plant in our minds that we can live out a successful walk with the Lord and forgo the necessity of uniting with the Body of Christ. This is nothing but a tool which is used to separate us from the needed interaction of metal sharpening metal that takes place we fellowship with one another.
Hebrews 10:25 (NIV)
not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
5. Follow Christ – It is utterly amazing the number of people that claim to be Christian’s which means that you are a follower of Christ, that don’t actually follow Christ. One can go through all of the motions, attend every church function, and until we’ve reached the point of commitment that we follow we will never realize true peace and comfort.
Matthew 16:24 (NIV)
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Now the Peace!
Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV)
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
It’s not just peace and comfort you’ll find. You find the strength and endurance to be victorious in Christ!