Let’s be crystal clear up front – the peace of God is your birth right.
God wants you to enjoy and flourish in His peace – yes, the very self-same peace that God Himself enjoys. That’s right, your heavenly Father wants you to experience the same peace He experiences.
How do we know this?
Jesus told us in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Not just any type of peace. His peace. God’s kind – in quality and quantity.
Jesus says the peace He gives is unlike what this world gives.
He goes on to say in John 16:23, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
So, the distinction is clear.
In the world you will have tribulation. In Christ you will have peace.
So how do we walk in and abide in this peace?
I mean for real. When things are hitting the fan, bad news comes, hopes are dashed and dreams are unfulfilled.
Here are 2 simple biblical steps that, when practiced, will genuinely help you to abide in, enjoy and flourish in the peace of God.
Step 1 – Stop Being Anxious
Paul and Jesus talk about this key step to enjoying God’s peace.
In Phil 4:6 Paul says, “Be anxious for nothing,….” In Greek, this phrase is a lot stronger and it literally means “stop being anxious.”
That’s right – STOP BEING ANXIOUS!
That financial thing that’s concerning you – stop being concerned about it. That relationship – stop worrying about it. That health challenge – stop worrying about it now! That loved one whom you desperately want to meet Christ. Yep, stop worrying about that too.
Answer Jesus’ question from Matt 6:27 (NLT), “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”
The word anxious is from the Greek word, “merimnáœ”, meaning “to have an anxious concern, based on apprehension about possible danger or misfortune” (Greek-English Lexicon). It means, “to divide the mind.” It refers to distractions, anxieties, burdens and worries.
Now before we continue the ‘how you can stop worrying’ part, let’s talk briefly about the ‘why you should stop worrying’ part. Why would you even want to stop worrying?
Here it is.
According to Jesus, worry has the capacity to render a believer unfruitful.
Not unsaved, but unfruitful.
Jesus said that the Parable of the Sower is the most important parable He ever told (Mark 4:13). He said if you didn’t understand this parable, you wouldn’t understand any parable that He taught.
The Parable of the Sower is the testing and leading parable of all the parables – understanding it is the entry point to understanding all the other parables He spoke.
In Matt 13:23, Jesus says, “… he hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.”
Worry is a weed that can grow in your heart and choke the effectiveness and fruitfulness of the Word of God. Period.
Why do need to stop worrying? Because it can render you fruitless for Christ.
Worry left unchecked and unaddressed will compete for your heart’s affection, attention and focus, and, in doing so, will stop the Word producing fruit in your life.
If you truly want to live for Christ and are given to entertaining worry, that ought to alarm you. Really alarm you.
Worry is not ok to entertain and live with. It can radically impact your life as a believer.
If you want to enjoy God’s peace and be fruitful as a believer, you must make a decision to stop entertaining anxious thoughts, worry and the like.
How do you do that?
By changing your thoughts.
Like a rider riding a horse you grab the reins of your mind and you pull back on them and refuse to allow them to think and meditate on worries, cares and anxieties.
Do you know Jesus said exactly the same thing?
John 14:1 says, “Let not your heart be troubled…” John 14:27 adds to this in saying, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Let not. Let not.
The first step to really enjoy God’s peace is to “let not your heart and mind be troubled or afraid.”
Stop being anxious.
Step 2 – Believe God
Having directed your thoughts away from the problem, the second step is to direct them to God.
Phil 4:6 says, “… but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;”
Jesus says, “you believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1).
Make a decision – right now – that you are going to believe God.
Make a decision that you are going to make a new default response in your heart – the response of faith, and not the reaction of worry.
Paul extends this guidance beyond your prayer life and into your thought life. It’s no good to pray about something, experiencing His peace as you transfer the burden and worries to Him, and then entertain a range of worrying and troubling thoughts during the day.
In verse 8, Paul says its really important what you meditate on. He recommends “whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
Fix your thoughts (NLT), fill your minds (MSG), meditate (NJKV) and dwell (Holman) on thoughts that inspire faith, hope and praise.
The glorious promise of this is beautifully expressed in the Message translation.
“Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life.” Phil 4:7.
In the NKJV, it uses the word “guard” and it literally means to garrison.
Imagine going past an army base and see a garrison of heavily armed soldiers protecting the entrance to that army base. There ain’t anything that’s getting through that entrance. They are standing guard and protecting that army base.
The peace of God does the same thing for your heart and mind. It garrisons, guards and internally strengthens your heart and mind with God’s own peace. Nothing will get through because God’s peace – the same peace that He enjoys – is guarding and protecting your heart and mind.
Stop worrying. Start believing.
Trust in Christ and let Him displace worry at the centre of your life.
God’s great peace is yours to enjoy!