This article originally published in the March 2009 issue of groundswell.
Where, exactly, did the wimpy, milktoast, doormat definition of peace arise? When did we give up the idea that peace comes with a price? And why, exactly, do we keep believing that “not rocking the boat” is somehow the best approach to every situation?Show me, exactly, where Jesus chose to not rock the boat. Was it when He walked on water? Challenged the current days’ teachings about God? Or remained silent among the threats and taunts of His executioners–do not be deceived. Christ’s executioners expected Him to get angry, to fight back. They knew He was innocent. The fact that He took a punishment that did not belong to Him didn’t just rock the boat. He rocked the world. Literally!
“For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me.” –Romans 15:18
I do not know your story, but Christ had done anything but make my life smooth waters and non-rocking of boats. He demands me to be honest–requirement me to avoid cliches and playing politics. At the same time, He demands me to be gentle–returning gentle words when affronted with wrath, speaking the truth in love rather than launching into my own verbal sparring match. Even when I am technically right, He requires me to be spiritually right as well.
In the face of persecution, He demands me to focus on Him, not my attackers. And in the face of uncertainty, He demands that I hope in His plan for my life. When the world settles for whining and a victim mentality, Christ demands that I stand tall and speak confidently that regardless of what life looks like right now, I know I am in His will and His control of this world is greater than anything my mind can imagine.
And when someone speaks against Him, He asks me, “do you love Me?” I would defend my family, my friends. Why should I shirk the opportunity to speak the truth (in love, remember) about the One who has done more to change my life for the better than any human ever could.
“I’m at peace with it. It’s not the pansy, pie-in-the-sky, life-is-perfect peace. No, this is the kind of peace that comes after war. It’s the hard-won, show-you-my-scars, didn’t-think-I’d-live-to-tell-about-it, peace. It’s not gentle–it’s wild, fierce, and I’m not giving it up, not ever, because I paid too high a price to get it.” –Jennifer Claassen, from http://jenclaassen.blogspot.com/
Peace is not a daisy floating with the breeze. Peace comes with a sword, the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, cuts through the foolishness of this world. When the world demands your time and attention, true peace demands your focus on Christ.
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” –John 14:27
If you want His peace, there is a little word, used twice in this verse we often overlook. Missing this word means the utter breakdown of any sense of peace in your life. Here is the phrase again, emphasis mine:
“Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
You are responsible for allowing peace to reign in your life. God has provided the Comforter in the form of the Holy Spirit. It is entirely up to you to protect your land from the invasion of anything that threatens the peace indwelling in you.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” –Matthew 5:9
Peace is given to us. If we want to experience its power, its comfort, its calm, we must make it happen. In no way do we create peace–Jesus gave us perfect peace. We must, however, create room in our hearts and minds to make room for peace.
“But how?!?” your heart cries. Go back to the verse from John to gain insight into two powerful ways to start.
“Do not let your heart be troubled…”
Trouble reigns in this world. Whether the constant drama at the office, the drama of raising teenagers, or troubled finances, ample opportunity arises to allow trouble room to grow in our hearts. The question is: will you let it?
You tend that garden–you plant the seeds. Though the enemy may scatter some trouble-seeds in the area, it remains your call as to whether that seed gets room in your garden.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:6-7
“Do not be afraid”–Fear finds foothold when we look at the water rather than the ONe who made it. Peter asked Jesus to call him to the water, then He doubted Jesus would be there in the waves (Matthew 14:28 and following). We cry out for Jesus’ leading, then we fear He will abandon us there. Yet still He promises:
“No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.” –Joshua 1:5
God called Joshua to go–and promised that in His will, Joshua would not fail.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” –Hebrews 10:23
Let His very words wash over your weary heart:
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. IN the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” –John 16:33
As a woman called to leave the worldly security of her full-time job to pursue the GOd-given dreams He has embedded in my very soul, I intimately understand the issues of a troubled heart and a fearful approach to life. As you struggle, I struggle. I do not preach from a pulpit of perfection–I am in the trenches slugging out this battle with you. Take heart and lean on the promise of I Thessalonians:
“Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” –I Thessalonians 5:24
photo by clix
Throwbacks are all about bringing in previously-published articles. These articles appeared back when groundswell was published in the form of an email newsletter. The photos are newly added to the blog.