Fruits of the Spirit: Peace
At the start of a new year and in the midst of working on our resolutions, revising for mocks and sticking up our new wall chart to plan 2016, peace may feel like a million miles away. With so much on our to do lists and with so many exciting opportunities to pursue, what does a life shaped by peace even look like?
Psalm 29:11 says ‘The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.’ In this verse, peace is described as a blessing - a gift - and also, God promises that He will bless His people with peace.
Peace is defined as ‘freedom from disturbance’.
All of us have disturbances in our lives: situations that we want to change, worries that go round and round in our mind, or hurdles that seem impossible to overcome. What is it that creates disturbance in your life? What is it that gets in the way of peace?
Perhaps we are worried about work, exams and coursework not going as well as we hope. Or we feel that we’re not good enough, funny enough, confident enough or pretty enough. Or maybe we fear the future: the things that might go wrong, the illness that may come our way, the relationship that may not be all that we hope it will be.
When peace feels far away from me, I know that there’s only one place where I can find true freedom. Jesus says: ‘Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’. Jesus promises that we can find true peace in Him. In Him, we can find breakthrough from fear. We can find true peace.
Ultimately true freedom and real peace can only be found in Jesus Christ. Nothing else will truly free us from the disturbances of our lives.
So when we feel that our lives aren’t shaped by peace, how do we re-focus and find rest in Him?
I have a little routine that I go through that helps me re-focus and take a deep breath. I like to take a piece of paper and draw a cross in the middle. I then write down all of my worries and fears at the foot of the cross, being very specific because it’s easy to let little worries snowball into overwhelming worries in our minds. Being specific really helps us to keep our worries in check: what is really worrying me about my work - which part of it, what is the underlying issue, what could really go wrong?
I then pray that I would leave these anxieties at the foot of the cross, and leave them with God. I give them to Him. I pray that He would remind me that He is bigger than any of the things I worry about. I pray I’d know true peace that only comes through knowing Him. I pray that I’d leave my worries right there - at the foot of the cross.
We need to cast our burdens onto Jesus. To engage with the creator God, who delights us in, who loves to hear us pray to Him, and who can overcome any fear, anxiety and situation we may face. Nothing is too much for Him to handle.
I also know that when I’ve left these things with God, I need to keep interrupting my anxieties by focusing on gratitude, also known as a ‘Praise Break’ (a very cheesy but appropriate name). I take a fresh piece of paper and write a list of the blessings that God has lavished on my life. All of the things that I can thank Him for. All of the gifts he’s given me. All of the specific people that he has put around me who love, support and encourage me. All of the amazing opportunities he's given me to do the things I love. The love that He lavished on us on the cross. The forgiveness for everything I’ve ever done and will ever do wrong. I usually find that I run out of paper and could keep going for hours.
What is it that’s stealing your peace today?
What worries are crowding your thoughts? Are we willing to give these things over to God and interrupt anxiety with gratitude? In Jesus, we can and will find peace and true freedom.
Emma graduated from Cambridge 4 years ago, and now works in Finance. She said ‘I Do’ to the wonderful Luke last April and loves being part of Team Pendlebury! Emma's other passions include leading music at church, doing Pilates & eating salted caramel ice cream! She is so loving seeing God use More Precious to grow his kingdom.