I keep having this vision…
I see myself with a noose around my neck. When I struggle against it, it grows tighter and chokes me, but when I stop and take a breath and relax into peacefulness, I slip right out of it.
This is an analogy for the difference between living from fear, and walking in the peace that surpasses understanding. The peace that surpasses understanding is a weapon. Do you realize that?
Let’s read those old familiar verses…
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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
Peace stands guard over us. Isn’t it amazing that something that seems so passive is a weapon? A guard?
When we consistently live life from a place of anxiety, we are breeching those walls of protection and giving ourselves to the mind of the enemy over our life. When we believe the stressful and fearful thoughts that the enemy shoots our way, we are living a life out of alignment with God. God is peace. Jehovah Shalom.
As I re-read the words I have just typed, I saw myself outside and digging my fingers deep into soft, fresh dirt, while breathing in deeply the fresh air. Digging into this word feels like that. It feels like such a grounding. A breath of fresh air.
The simplest things can often become the most profound. Remember this verse?
The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. Psalm 19:7
Life can truly be as simple or complicated as we make it. I have learned that the more I simply obey God and make decisions to live from peace, the more life becomes rapidly simple. Simplicity. It’s the word for this hour of the earth. When the world is over complicating everything…calling bad, good and good, bad…when they even want to dispute the most basic of facts…simplicity and truth are like banners of peace waving over us. Stand firm in that. Resist the pull toward complicating everything and just live from peace.
I imagine a church where it’s not about parking spaces and creating comfort, but about meeting Jesus, and whatever that looks like, that’s what is pursued. A church where the Spirit resides so heavily that people even stand outside to listen when it’s too full inside. A place that is real. Not a business.
Think I’m crazy? This happens in other countries. We know very little about real sacrifice here.
Don’t get me wrong, I am SO grateful to be able to worship freely, but in that I must guard against becoming a slave to the comfort. The gospel is uncomfortable. Sometimes, it hurts. Other times, it scrapes scabs off my heart and causes me to bleed, but I know that is part of refining and I am always grateful. It’s time to stop watering down the gospel and to let it do it’s work…all the while remembering it is the gospel of peace.
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage- with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:2-5
And with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Ephesians 6:15
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27