I'm really excited to bring this message that’s been put on my heart that I know blessed me, and I pray that it blesses you, as well! I love reading the word of God, and spending time in His presence and meditating on the truths of God; and how they apply to our lives here today.
In John 16 verses 31 through 33, Jesus had been telling His inner circle, His disciples, about the things that were about to happen on the earth. Problems that were about to come on the world, and how things would really get bad. Then He said that, "The time will come when you will all be scattered. You will all leave Me. But I won’t be alone, because the Father is with me. I’ve shown you and taught you that God is with me and everything I've taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you. In this world you will experience trouble, you will experience sorrows but you must be courageous for I have conquered the world." Then Jesus said, "I want that the peace that is in Me to be in you, so that you will have great faith, great confidence while living in this world, because you know that i have already conquered it. I have already over come it."
I have to tell you that it’s good to know that our God has already fought every battle. He's already made a way where there is no way, in the natural. I don't know if you’ve struggled with this, but you might know what I’m talking about. Have you ever struggled with fear, or anxiety or panic, or even just worry? Anxiety and fear, worry, all manifest differently in each of us, and there’s no one who can’t benefit from the peace that only God can give.
Jesus said, "The peace that is me, it will be in YOU." That means, if you know the Lord, you already have more peace in your soul than you can realize or comprehend. That’s so important, because so many people are struggling with panic, with anxiety, with worry, with fear.
Number One, make peace with God. There has to be a beginning of this peace from God. So, the first thing is to make your peace with God. We call it getting saved, others call it getting born again, or making that commitment, but it's when you open up to the grace of God and experience Jesus coming into your broken life, saving you from your sins, beginning to do a work in your heart by the power of the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit of God moves into your heart and begins to live on the inside of you.
God is the one who created this peace and He gives it to us through Jesus, by the Holy Spirit. Jesus purchased our forgiveness, our salvation when He died for us on the cross. He paid the price for our forgiveness, our peace with God. And because of this, we have the right to accept His grace and His love and His peace. That is summed up in the word, "salvation."
Because of what Jesus did for us, you don’t have to wonder about your eternity. You don't have to spend your life wondering if God really loves you, or if you’re measuring up to His standards. Jesus is His standard, and when you have Jesus in your life, that IS the standard. When you make your peace with God, you are counted as righteous by God. That is the righteousness of God by faith that the Bible talks about.
You’re not perfect, I’m not perfect, but I can say I’m redeemed. God says in Romans 5 that Jesus made the way for God’s righteousness to be counted to us, to our account, and we receive that by faith. God now justifies us, and declares us complete, righteous. Not because of us, but because of Jesus. I need to draw on that when I’m in a season of struggle. I need to know that God declares me justified and that I am not under His condemnation.
It's not by our works, not by our skills and talent, not by our personality, not by our education, but by faith. Our faith, which itself is a gift from God, guarantees us permanent access into the marvelous kindness and grace that has given us a right, a close relationship with God.
You might be going through a really rough time. You might be struggling and being challenged from every direction. But you can have the peace that God still loves you. Romans chapter 5, verses 1 and two say, Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand."
It's not about you never making mistakes, or measuring up, it's about having faith that God is who He says He is. He does what He says He does. When you give your heart and life to the Lord, saying your version of "Jesus, I need you in my life, I am weak and broken, I cannot do this on my own, I turn away from my sins and all that’s wrong and I turn to you…," when you accept the free gift of grace that is in Jesus - in that moment, you’re receiving that peace with God, that peace has been made for you when Jesus died on the cross.
A lot of times the problem is that we imagine we can’t be a real Christian because we still struggle with sins, or bad habits. And the fact that we are struggling, or are conscious of things that need to go from our lives is a GOOD thing! That’s evidence that you have the Spirit of God in your life! If you didn't have the Spirit of God in your life, you'd be enjoying those sins! But because of the Holy Spirit in your life, you are striving for Him to move more in your life, and that indicates that He is working in you!
Peace is something that we receive by faith and then we also grow in it. We have to let it grow in us, too. Philippians 4 verse 7 talks about letting the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.
First Peter 3 verse 11 says that we must turn from evil and do good; we must seek peace and pursue it." We HAVE peace and we also need to keep up with it, to grow in it, to follow in it.
Since Jesus is our peace, the more we draw near to Him, the closer our relationship with Him, then the more we will EXPERIENCE that peace of God in our day to day lives. As we pursue Jesus, we’re going to find that peace being manifested in our daily lives. Seeking Jesus will make manifest that peace. Don’t seek the peace, seek Jesus, and draw near to Him, and that peace will BE there!
I don't want to be that person who one day looks back on my life and finds out that I was pursuing all kinds of things that didn’t bring peace and I spent very little time pursuing the One who IS my peace. I don’t want to be the person who just went to church and called out at times when I was scared or anxious, but never did any more with my relationship with God.
I want to be the person who lifts my voice to God and opens my heart to Him and who experiences what the peace of God really is, and want the power of God can really do in a person’s life. I want to be a Christians who will pursue the Prince of peace and who has that peace of God flowing in and through my life.
Number two is "Experiencing that peace." To experience that peace, you have to know what peace is and what it isn’t. Peace isn’t ignoring reality. It isn’t just not dealing with your problems and responsibilities. Peace isn’t something that comes from getting drunk. Peace doesn't come from being medicated. Peace doesn't come from getting high. Why? Because you can’t stay drunk, medicated or high all the time and ignore what’s going on in your life.
Peace is knowing and believing that even though everything isn’t how you want it to be right now, God is working it all out and is working YOU out and working in those situations. It’s knowing that God is with us in the valley, just like He’s with us on the mountaintop.
It’s like when you watch a movie that you've already seen, with friends who have never seen it before. You know how it is going to end, and who the bad guy is, and how the problem is solved, so, while they are in there upset and worrying and scared, you’re calm and maybe now more able to enjoy the plot, the lighting, the camera angles, the script and the acting. Why Because you know where it’s all going and you know how it ends.
When you have that peace of God, it is sort of like that. You have experiences, and situations, but you know that God is working it out, and that frees you to be able to reach out and help others who are needing help and support, prayer and comfort.
Our culture is scared, anxious and panicking. We need to manifest the peace of God more than ever because we know it’s not going to go away. Our culture is not going to get better. Fear is not going to disappear, and problems are not going to go away.
Jesus said, in this world you will have problems and tribulations. And I’m glad he didn’t stop it there. He said we could be of good cheer, we could have true joy, we can be at peace because He has overcome this world.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, Come to me all you who are weary, who are carrying a heavy burden. He said come to me and I'm going to give you the rest that you need. You’ll find rest for your soul. He said, take my yoke upon you, or be joined to me. Learn my ways and you'll discover that I'm gentle, I'm humble and I'm easy to please… You’ll find refreshment for your soul, your inner being, and you can rest in me.
We know what peace is and that it's not a feeling. It's not a place. It's in Jesus and if you're a Christian, you can worry less about what we are doing, and where we're going and we can focus more about who we're going with. And we can know that when we go with Him, His peace will be there.
I remember when I first realized that I bring the presence of God, the peace of God wherever I went. It’s the same with you. You bring the peace and the presence of God with you wherever you are, wherever you go. You bring the presence of God with you and the peace of God with you. At school. At work, at the grocery store, wherever you find yourself.
I never wanted to be a Christian who can only function well when everything is lined up and going perfectly well, and I’m really feeling good at the moment. It’s easy to feel like the only time we’re effective for Jesus is if every single thing in our is just falling into place and we’re excited about it. But I’m glad that our God isn’t the God of the mountains only, but He is the God of the valleys, too. That’s 1 Kings 20:28.
That’s important because we’re not always on the mountaintop. Valleys come along, too. We can be on the mountaintop and feel great, and then one thing goes wrong and we feel like the weakest Christian in the world. We get paralyzed if we've got something coming against us or not working out.
I’m glad God didn’t make it so we can only function on the mountaintops of life and when we’re winning and people are out there encouraging us and being supportive. But it’s important to know that most of our Christian life isn’t going to be lived on the mountaintops. And I thank God most of it isn’t in the valley. Most of it seems to be between the mountain top and the valley.
Number three is to rest in His peace. Live your life from that place of staying in the peace of God. A christian living from the peace of God is a christian who won’t be overcome by the things of this world. You want to be a Christian that is so rooted in God’s peace that you can walk with God in the valley, you can walk with God up the side off the mountain, you can walk with God on the mountaintop.
God wants us to be so rooted in His peace that we can worship Him, we can praise Him, we can have His joy in our hearts, even when we’re going through trials, accusations, problems and disappointments, the ones that inevitably come in this world.
Jesus TOLD us that in this world we will have problems, issues, trials, storms, tribulations. It's a product of a fallen world. You can draw near to God. You can learn, you can grow, you can get help. You can get counsel. The Bible says that in the multitude of counselors there is safety. It’s OK if you feel like you want to get some therapy. There might be a doctor out there who can help you. We’re in a fallen world and we DO have tribulations in it. Don’t be ashamed if you need some help and counsel. We don’t serve a God who is so petty that He won’t help you if you get some therapy or some help with a doctor. There’s nothing to be ashamed of about needing to get some help. And YES, you can have PEACE about that, because Jesus gave it to you! You can have victory and you can use it as a part of your story and maybe reach someone else. You can get help and know that the struggle isn’t going to be your story forever.
You can go to God throughout each day, praying, making requests and tell him every single detail of your life, and His peace that’s beyond human comprehension will guide your life. Philippians four talks about this. In verses 8 and 9.
Be sure to read those verses in Ephesians 4, verses 8 and 9. Meditate on them, pray over them and apply them in your life. The peace of God is going to surpass even your own thoughts and mind, and will fill your heart with His confidence and goodness. And when that happens, you’re going to get your eyes off of your situations and on to people who desperately need the Lord. And you’ll have a peace that God will speak to them through your life, and that He will reach them through you. What a peace THAT brings!