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Choose Peace

Happy Wednesday!

I've been thinking a lot about the fruits of the spirit and having peace lately. Mostly because I've needed peace a lot the past two weeks. Things have just felt really heavy and hard... I mean it's been like that for a while now, but for some reason, the past two or three weeks have felt even heavier and harder than it already was and I've found myself asking for peace a lot more, asking for peace daily because I haven't been feeling very peaceful lately.

Let me preface all this by saying that I do absolutely believe that God can give us peace. The minute we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior we have the Holy Spirit within us and the fruits of the spirit are planted within us. We can nourish them and they'll flourish within us, growing outwardly for the world to see. But I do think that God and the Spirit can give us peace even when we're in the most difficult and scariest moments of life. He blankets us in supernatural peace, the peace that comes from us knowing Him. There are moments in life where there is no reason you should feel peace at all. Where you aren't even conscious or deliberating choosing to have peace. Sometimes He gifts us that peace. That's supernatural peace and I've felt that before in some of the hardest times of my life.

But I think more often than not, at least for myself, peace is an active choice. I’m an over-thinker, I have anxiety that ranges from mediocre to extreme on any given day, I can be super pessimistic and depression usually is my shadow every now and again. So having peace and joy during normal circumstances for me doesn’t come as easily or naturally as it does to others, let alone in remarkable circumstances. I’d say 2020 has been one big remarkable circumstance. Finding peace and joy in trial and tribulation is very hard for me. It’s not my strongest area and so I have to lean on God and the Spirit daily to keep me accountable in that area. And I’ll be honest, I fail at them... a lot. I let my emotions and circumstances get the best of me 90% of the times if I’m being honest. 

Because I've been thinking and praying a lot lately about and for peace and joy, I looked up the verse about the fruits of the spirit. I sort of realized I’ve been taking a lot of the Bible at face value. To truly get the most from the Word of God I’ve realized more often than not that you have to go deeper than just what the verse says. The original language it was written in, the context, the writer, all of it is important and gives layers upon layers to a single verse. So I looked up more about the fruits of the spirit and found some really interesting things about the Greek words for each fruit of the spirit and what they actually mean in the original text. The word joy is chara. Chara or a Biblical joy is the knowledge of God's favor and grace in our lives. Biblical joy isn't dependent on our worldly and physical circumstances. This Biblical joy comes from the joy of knowing that God's favor and grace will never leave us. He is always here, always present and always giving us grace. His mercies are new every morning. The word for peace in this verse is eirene (I think that's such a pretty word and fits perfectly with the word peace). Eirene or Biblical peace is a life without conflict and a wholeness and harmony with God and others. With Biblical peace we rest in the knowledge that God is over all things, we aren't burdened by the worry of our finances, safety, salvation or eternity. We don't need to worry because we know that God has all of that under control. 

The reason us, as Christians, are able to have these fruits of the spirit is directly tied to our salvation. We're alive in Christ, we have the Holy Spirit and therefore we can find this peace and joy through God. Biblical peace, joy, patience and all the other fruits of the spirit come directly from our relationship and knowledge in God. 

But I also think sometimes (in my case, a lot of the time) finding peace and joy in trial and tribulation is a choice. If I let myself feed into my worried and fearful thoughts then how am I supposed to feel any peace at all? Does it do me any good to pray for peace and ask God to give me His peace and then turn around and spend all day feeding into my thoughts of worry, fear and anxiety? I don't think so. It goes back to the verse about capturing your thoughts and it goes back to turning your heart constantly to God. I'm not doing myself any good and I'm not helping the Spirit in any way by asking for peace and then worrying all day and letting my anxious and fearful thoughts take control. Peace is a God given gift to us and a result of our faith in Him, a result of having the Holy Spirit. But I also think sometimes its an active choice to choose peace and joy over fear and worry. There's this old Cherokee proverb of the two wolves that came to mind when I was thinking about this battle between having peace and feeling fear. One wolf inside a person is an evil wolf. Fear, envy, anger, hate, greed, arrogance, self-pity, resentment, inferiority, lies. All that. The other wolf is a good wolf. He is joy, peace, forbearance, goodness, gentleness, kindness, self control, love, faithfulness. It's said that there is a constant fight within each person between these two wolves. Which one will win is the one you feed. That's kind of what it reminds me of. How can I feel the peace I have in God, how can I rest in the knowledge that God is over all things in my life and how can I feel joy in my salvation and faith if I'm feeding my wolf of fear and worry? 

And it doesn’t mean I won’t fail a lot... because I do. I’m always aware of how much I fall short and how much I fail at things. But there’s where God’s gift of Jesus and grace comes in. His mercies are new every morning. I can fail one day. I could lose my patience or lose my temper, I could give into my pessimism and depressing spiraling thoughts instead of choosing peace and joy... but I realize that Jesus forgives and His grace is sufficient. I don’t deserve it and yet he gives it to me anyways which then allows me to take a deep breath and try to do better the next day. Choose to do better, choose to find my peace and joy in God instead of in the ever changing and shifting world around me. 

I write all this because right now more than ever we need to find that peace and joy in Christ. I don't know about you, but I've felt particularly down and heavy and awful the past few weeks - more so than I have in the past few months. I just think that everything happening in this world is really wearing on everyone. Some of us thought it would all go away or start to get better. We didn't think it would get this far or this bad. Honestly, I was trying to stay hopeful and kept telling myself no way would it get any worse. No way would masks be mandated in stores. No way would this stuff happen. And then it did... And it's hard to accept, it's hard to deal with in day to day life. I also don't think it's any coincidence that I'm starting to feel the heaviness and hardness of this year more than ever in July, half way through the year. It's been a rough first half of the year guys and I hate to be a downer but... I don't think it's going to get better. I think it's going to get worse before it gets better. Writing that hurts my heart because I don't want to believe it, but I'm just being realistic here. We're all feeling tired and weary. Our stores of peace and joy and hope within us are starting to become depleted. Which is why it's so important more than ever to cling to Christ and God's promises. We need to refill our emptying cups. 

It's more important than ever to spend more time in the Word, more time praying, more time worshiping. Refill your cup and the other way to do that is to spend time in the presence of our Savior. Take time to rest and be near to Him and remember that He is moving in huge ways right now. God is so prominent and so prevalent right now. There is a revival happening. Christians are rising up and non-believers are becoming believers this year because of what has happened. Hold on to the fact that our God is almighty. He is all powerful and He uses everything for His good, even a year as crazy and awful as 2020. Today, tomorrow and for the rest of this week, for the rest of this year, choose peace. Remember that God is over everything your life. He has it all in His hands and He won't let you down. Find peace in your salvation and the eternity that Christ has promised you.  Rejoice joyfully in the grace and favor God has shown you. Find joy in Your ever present and always reliable God. 

Let's find peace and joy in the trial and tribulation that is 2020. Let's have a kingdom mindset moving forward in this last half of the year. 

Have a great rest of your week! :) 

Comments

  1. Peace and joy are such crucial things to choose, to have, to accept. I'm so glad you're focusing on them and writing about them. Blessings your way, dear girl!!!

    MB: keturahskorner.blogspot.com
    PB thegirlwhodoesntexist.com

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    Replies
    1. I so agree, they are so important especially right now. Thank you! :)

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  2. Can I just say that I 100% relate to struggling so hard to choose peace in this time?! I feel like i'm constantly going back and forth between being at peace in the Lord, surrendering my fears to Him, and looking forward to the joy He has ahead, and then being in an ABSOLUTE PANIC over everything that's going on. It's exhausting.

    But you're right: we do have to choose peace a lot of the time. And that requires us to choose to focus on God and choose to feed thoughts that encourage us rather than thoughts that remind us of the difficulty in our circumstances. So thank you for posting this; it was a great reminder for me today. :)


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbosityreviews.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is such a struggle right now to feel at peace with everything going on. Everything's been moving so quickly this year and it feels like every week there's something new being thrown at us. :o But I'm glad this could be encouraging to you. Having peace and joy in Christ in crazy circumstances is so important and completely possible... sometimes it just takes some time and effort to get to there. :)

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