At my church, we are in a sermon series about peace. Peace has different meanings in different contexts, but the word “peace” has positive connotations across the board.
When we think about what peace means to us, what comes to mind? Do we automatically place ourselves in some sort of mountain oasis, looking externally to find peace?
Or do we think about peace as a type of feeling?
Well, finding peace doesn’t require warm summer evening, mountain streams or essential oils.
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)
When we learn to be thankful instead of anxious, we are well on our way to peace in our lives. Life is never going to be perfect for us, and there will always be challenges and regrets. We will never know what the next day holds. So if we are trying to find peace in control, then we are going to be at war with ourselves.
But gratitude isn’t about being thankful for what we might one day have, or where we might be in our lives someday – it’s instead about being thankful for now.
When we are thankful, it’s harder to be angry, upset, worried, or unforgiving. So when we feel the world’s burdens on us, prayer and gratitude are likely our best defenses.
25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Matthew 6:25-34 NLT
When we focus on today, instead of far into the future, we will almost certainly perform better at our jobs, and be more adequately equipped for our relationships.
Sometimes we might think “I’ll be all good once:
-I’m in a relationship.”
-I’m a little less broke.”
-I have a better job.”
-I have a better place to live.”
-etc. You know how it goes.
But we would be wise to take the blessings that we currently have, and use them to better the world around us.
I guess the most controversial point that I want to make is this: I believe that trying to plan too far in advance can be destructive rather than productive.
6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. (Romans 8:6 NLT)
Another thing that I think we can do to increase the peace in our lives is to stop living in self-destructive patterns. When we live in sinful ways, then we are generally living in some type of fear of dissatisfaction, or hurting the lives of the people around us. I have definitely felt this weight on my life, and while we are not going to be perfect during this life time, living in ways that don’t pour on the guilt and harmful consequences makes life generally better.
But at the core of the issue, the point is that we should give our concerns to God, pray about the things that are challenging, and thank him for the things that are good, because he is the one that really changes our lives.
7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. (1 Peter 5:7 NLT)
33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NLT)
27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27 NLT)
Thanks to everybody who has checked out my blog, I try to keep the articles short, they have usually been only about 1000 words, and reading a post will probably take only about 5 minutes. If you have any feedback or topics you would like me to write about, please let me know – I want to be writing about things that people want to read about.
Maybe this blog is a little more self-helpy than I’d envisioned it to be, but I do appreciate that people have been checking it out, and I’d like for it to be a place where people can find answers. Not saying that all of my answers are new, or even always right. But if I can bring scripture to people’s attention on certain topics of interest, then I guess God can do the rest.
I use the youversion Bible app when I’m reading scripture and doing Bible plans generally, I would highly recommend it!