50 PeacePosted: February 14, 2013
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. John 14: 27
Last time I said that self-acceptance was not possible and then gave you the above verse on peace. Perhaps you wondered, “How do we get that peace that Jesus promises?” That’s a huge question. Here are a few ideas in response. Peace could be defined as self-acceptance or even ‘no internal conflict’. That theoretical state may be desirable, but is improbable. Consider the battle Paul talks about in Romans 7; that battle with our flesh or old self. Then, consider the external conflicts; issues we have with others. Conflict is inevitable.
Internal conflicts often lead to intense emotions from which we seek relief. Finding the peace that comes from an absence of internal conflict is fleeting, at best, especially for reflective people. In perfectionism we seek to resolve all conflict by finding the solutions to all of life’s problems. This shows how prideful, grandiose and self-idealistic we can be. If we can’t find a peace from resolving all of life’s issues, then how do we find peace? We need the peace that Jesus gives rather than a peace that we strive to manufacture within ourselves. His peace surpasses understanding!
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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. Philippians 4:6-7
Emotions give us the energy we need to work through conflict when we find ourselves in conflict. However, we sometimes cannot find solutions through the conflict in the moment of conflict. Also, some internal conflicts follow us throughout life. We need to talk through our intense emotions when we find ourselves ‘sitting and spinning’ or stuck in circular thinking, first with God and then with safe people.+
The above verses help us not only with anxiety, but also with any negative emotions. As the old hymn goes, we need to “Take it to the Lord in prayer.” We need to spend time with God, tell Him all about our struggles and ask Him for what we want and need. He can say, “Yes.”, “No.”, “Not yet.” or, “I’m answering your request in this way.” We invite God into our struggles and put our trust in Him, His resources, wisdom and guidance. If we trust in our own resources we have reason to be anxious. Subsequently, when we entrust our lives to God we need to thank Him for what He has already done for us. In a posture of prayer and thankfulness we receive from God the peace that surpasses understanding. He gives peace regardless of our circumstances and regardless of finding resolutions to conflicts.*
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true…think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8),
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+ See blog #19 for Safe People. Here is a link to it: http://wp.me/p1Z40K-2s
* Following is a link to the sermon from whence some of these ideas come: http://www.vineyardop.org/resources/multimedia/details?id=185630