This Sunday we will be looking at what is possibly one of the better known passages in the Bible on peace.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
It seems to me that as Christians we have an odd relationship with peace. We have turned a gift from God into a rule we are failing at. “You don’t have peace? Oh, well, you’re supposed to have peace. What are you worried about? What are you anxious about? Stop it. Peace! Be still!”
I wonder if a lot of our lack of peace comes from our lack of peace. Do you worry about how much you worry? Does your anxiety make you anxious? “Why am I so worried about this? I’m really screwing this up.”
This passage mentions the peace of God (verse 6) and the God of peace (verse 9). These are not the same thing. They are related, but they are not the same. You can have peace with God only because he is a God of peace. God created you to be a recipient of his love and therefore to live at peace with him.
So what robs us of our peace? We have believed some lie the world, our flesh, or the devil has sold us.
Maybe you have believed that joy comes from happiness. That’s a lie. I know many apparently happy people who have no joy in their lives. Likewise I’ve known many joyful people who have gone through very unhappy circumstances.
Maybe you have been directed by all the little white lies your own thoughts tells you instead of directing your thoughts. Is it time to stop listening to yourself and start talking to yourself?
Maybe you have allowed the accuser more hearing than he deserves. The number one robber of peace in our lives is shame. Shame is always only a tool of the accuser. God is not a God of shame but the God of peace. Do you know the God of peace? Does his peace with you surpass even your own comprehension?
Come this Sunday to Hope of Christ Church to meet this God of Peace for the first time or become reacquainted with him. Learn how to deal with the shame that is falsely used against you. Learn what it means to pursue joy over happiness. Learn what it is to know and be known by the God of peace.