“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Colossians 3:15
I apologize for taking such a long break from my blog. I like to post a few times a week. But my life has necessitated a break in order for me to process the past couple of weeks. I have been able to gain some perspective about what God has been doing in me.
I have found myself being tossed around by circumstances, which has led to a desperate yearning for a peace much deeper than what I’ve ever possessed.
The fact that I can be surrounded by the furies of life and still have a deep internal peace is changing my relationship with Jesus. I’m growing addicted to the peace that doesn’t come from the world, but exists simply because I know the Prince of Peace Himself.
For most of my life, I have known the peace that comes through having a comfortable life; and though I have gone through my fair share of trials, through which I have been forced to seek a deeper peace, I do not know that I have ever experienced peace in such a tangible way as I have these past few weeks.
I used to view peace as something that I must strive to attain. But it appears that true peace is less about striving after and more about shifting our focus and surrendering to the only One who can offer us refuge from the worries of this life. I’ve obtained this opinion after looking at a few precious verses in Colossians 3:12-17. In the verses that proceed verse 15, we are instructed to “put on” a heart of compassion, humility, kindness, love, etc… “Put on” is an active verb. It mandates that we do something. Our clothes don’t just climb upon on our bodies in the morning – we must put them on. Likewise, many Christ-like attributes require us to actively live out the faith. But Paul instructs us to possess peace through a different mode – he doesn’t call us to actively clothe ourselves in it; rather, he tells us to “decide” to let what we already possess in Christ to take ownership in our lives, or to rule our hearts. That word rule means to determine, direct, or control. This is not a peace that comes and goes, but rather, something dictates the core of who we are.
Peace comes when we fix our eyes on (Who) instead of (what). Allowing peace to rule our lives, means that we completely alter our focus away from (what) we see and look upon (Whom) we know.
If we know that God is good… then why do we worry about where our food will come from?
If we know that God is love… then why do we worry about being alone?
If we know that God is faithful… why do we concern ourselves with money, jobs, health, etc…?
I think it’s because we simply don’t know God well enough. We don’t really believe that He will feed us. We don’t really believe that He will take care of us. We don’t know Him well enough to trust that His hand is always there to guide us and provide for us. We don’t know the richness of His love and the depths of His friendship well enough to be led by them; so instead, we turn to what we do know – the tangible elements of this world. And when our job fails, so does our peace. When our health wanes, our peace falters.
We are too much like the Israelites.
As they were being led away from slavery and into the promised land, they yearned for one thing – slavery. They knew the life of slavery, they didn’t know the life dependent on God. They trusted what they knew in a tangible way; and even though God had such better plans for them then captivity, they still desired to go back. Because they couldn’t see the promised land, immediately they groaned for what they knew.
How deeply I can relate.
One of the beautiful things about God is His incredible patience towards us. The more we find ourselves in circumstances that seem too big for us to handle, the more we are able to see our Rescuer for Who He really is. Our faith gets stretched and we get rescued – ahhhh, yes, God is a rescuer. Now I’ve experienced Him as such and I have peace next time I’m up against the wilderness… the promised land awaits me.
Knowing God doesn’t happen over night; it happens over a lifetime of studying His character and knowing Him in our own lives. I’ve become convinced that the more I know God, the easier it is to trust Him, thus possessing that deep tranquility of the soul.
Do I worry? Yes. But when I stop looking at my circumstances and begin to gaze upon my God, the worries subside. Allowing peace to RULE my heart simply requires me to have a steadfast gaze upon (Who) rather than (what).