Peace is Not for Sissies

by Andy Wood on October 1, 2012

in Ability, Enlarging Your Capacity, Five LV Laws, Life Currency, LV Alter-egos, LV Cycle, Pleasers, Principle of Abundance

The inhabitants of a small third-world village were understandably alarmed.  An earthquake was literally shaking every corner of their world, and they were terrified.

All except for one elderly woman, that is, who remained completely calm throughout the whole ordeal.  When things had settled down, one of the villagers asked her, “Weren’t you afraid during that earthquake?”

“No,” she replied, “I wasn’t.  You see, I just rejoiced to know that I have a God who is powerful enough to shake the world.”

Needless to say, she had a “peace that passes all understanding.”  I wonder if I do.  I wonder if you do.

I was speaking on this at a retreat over the weekend and I recognized something really important about the peace that is every Christian’s birthright:

Peace isn’t the punch line of a beauty contest joke or the passive purview of those who breathe deeply and chant.  Peace isn’t for sissies.  It’s the result of a conquest.  It is an expression of the God of Heaven going to war to protect our thoughts and minds.

Read these two well-known verses again and look for the traces of battle:

I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” (John 16:33, The Message)

And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7, AMP).

Jesus made it clear that the world is a broken, painful place.  Paul made it clear that your heart and mind were under siege, if not an all-out attack.  Both of them made it clear that when the smoke clears from a war that you don’t even fight, you are blessed to experience a peace that blows the mind and guards the heart.

You really do have a God powerful enough to shake the world – yet keep you completely still in the process.

This peace is more than just being as cool as the center seed of a cucumber.  It actually manifests itself in three ways that are reminiscent of life in the Garden:

Unhindered Intimacy with God

To guard your heart means to protect your intimacy with the Lord.  Jesus said that is in Him that we have peace.  This marvelous power God reveals enables you to run to Him when your world is shaking, not away from Him.  You can cast your cares on Him, knowing He cares for you.

Sometimes our biggest adversary shows up when that broken world grabs hold of something in us that turns us away from God.  There in an effort to relieve our pain or comfort our sorrow, we look for the first available fix.  Something that doesn’t feel like a world of hurt or anguish.  Something that reminds us what adrenaline feels like when it courses through our veins.

The problem is that a life shipwrecked on pleasure only results in more pain.  But God offers something better – His never-ending presence.  David wrote in one of his psalms that in His presence is fullness of joy.  He of all people understood that God is still a peaceful friend of wounded hearts.

Contentment

In the same chapter that Paul – a prisoner at the time – talked about this mind-boggling peace, he also mentions that he has learned the art of being content. With or without a lot of money or things, his life wasn’t defined by money or things.  His wealth was measured, not by what he had, but by what he sensed he lacked (which was nothing).

Did you get that?  Paul was wealthy because he honestly believed he lacked nothing.  That means that anything he did receive over and above that, he was free to enjoy and free to let go of.

That’s contentment.  That’s peace.

Compare that to a poor person, who is always wanting or “needing” more.  Never satisfied.  Never free.  Always concerned about the next twist in the economy or how they’re going to pay down that credit card so they can put more useless stuff on it.

I find it interesting that in the Garden of Eden, there was no concept of poverty or prosperity – only abundance and gratitude.

I also find it interesting that in a Christian believer’s birthright, there is no concept of poverty or prosperity – only abundance and gratitude.

That is peace.

Transparency with Others

Ever play that game where you imagine you could meet and hang out with just one person in the Bible – who would it be?

Assuming it was somebody the Bible presents in a favorable light, you may be in for an awkward surprise.  Most of these people are a lot more transparent than you may have bargained for.  You may find yourself holding up your hand and hollering, “T.M.I!”

David.  Paul.  Moses.  Jeremiah.  Mary.  Martha (for sure).  Peter… All of these people and more had an extraordinary freedom to tell you the truth about themselves – the hero and the zero stuff.

That, my isolated friend, is where peace takes you.  Away from the shame that makes you want to hide.  Away from the blaming that makes you want to duck your responsibility.  And toward a life that speaks the truth in love. Even when the truth is about yourself.

But what if people think poorly of me?  God’s answer:  peace.

But what if people disapprove of my honesty?  God’s answer:  peace.

Peace doesn’t turn you into a word-clubbing jerk or a mindless, babbling fool.  It just sets you free to be yourself and speak loving, gentle truth without fear of what somebody else thinks.

 

Peace is not the result of going along to get along.  It’s not the product of dodging pain or amassing a lot of possessions or money.  It certainly isn’t the result of being the event planner on an ego trip.  Peace is the result of finding your rest in the One who conquered the pain, poverty, and shame of the broken world we live in.

He can still shake your world.

And even in the shaking, you can live as a conqueror.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Martha Orlando October 1, 2012 at 2:40 pm

What a fantastic image you’ve presented here with the elderly woman not shaken by the quake, only thankful she believes in a God who can shake the earth. So powerful! So awesome!
Centered in His peace . . . I’m not always there. I know. Sometimes I try and strive just a bit too hard on my own. Sometimes, worry creeps in. But, He is growing me.
I’m learning to turn to Jesus the moment these thoughts pop up. What a help He is in times of trouble!
Wonderful post as ever, my friend!
Blessings!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post .."You Will Keep the Fires Burning . . ."

Martha Orlando October 2, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Hi, again, Andy!
Would it be okay to share your story about the elderly woman on one of my posts? I will, of course, give you credit for this. Just let me know if it’s okay – my email is marthaorlando@gmail.com.
Thanks, my friend!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post .."Unless the LORD Builds the House . . ."

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: