Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 116 - Christ's Peace
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #116 – Christ’s Peace
Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to seek, find, and follow Jesus together as we live with purposed eternal perspective.
Do you consider peace to be a quality of life concern? Or is peace something you take for granted, expecting to carry it until you don’t have it? Worries or stressors from jobs, finances, children, aging parents, spouse, culture, and more can easily pile weight on our shoulders and minds. Sleeplessness, fatigue, irritability, tears, depression, and divorce are by-products of life without peace.
Peace is freedom. Everyone desires tranquility, yet so few carry true peace. How do we define peace that passes understanding? Peace that remains within you despite circumstances swirling around, threatening to overtake your life?
Everyone I know desires serenity and contentment. However, what we seek and receive from our own attempts are mere shadows of what we receive through Christ. Various methods exist to seek the harmony sought in this world. Self-care, yoga, breathing, stretching, bubble baths, alcohol, drugs, and many other ways or vices have allowed people temporary freedom from what ails or haunts them. Only one design fills us with everlasting peace we cannot understand, yet appreciate when we receive it.
Philippians 4:4-9 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Have you ever wondered what can make it difficult to achieve or keep peace? Based on my own experience, setting heart and mind on Christ is crucial. If I ever feel peace slipping away, I have learned to recognize that it means I am not focused on God. My gaze has lowered to self. What is going on around me. What might happen. What others are saying. Yet, when I settle my mind on the truths found in God’s word, how He has carried me in the past, and stop to simply breath Him in and out, saying the name of Jesus silently in my mind while clinging closely to Him through prayer, His peace comforts me far better than a warm blanket or a cup of hot tea - and those are two things I enjoy very much. I simply cannot fathom the depth and intensity of the peace of God. It is a blessing beyond compare.
If we look at the passage of scripture from Philippians 4 that I read at the beginning of this podcast, it is easy to recognize 5 steps that clearly show us how to achieve peace. Let’s examine the words more closely to see what we should be doing to receive the peace of God.
1. Rejoice! Seek God despite what is going on in or around you. Philippians 4:4
2. Live with gentleness. In this passage, gentleness is defined as being unconcerned with events that aren’t of eternal importance. Philippians 4:5
3. Hand over anxieties to your Heavenly Father. Prayerful fellowship with God allows your mind and heart to focus where He calls. Philippians 4:6
4. Contemplate life with the mind of Christ. Whatever is true, as God defines it, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, or praiseworthy, meditate on those. Philippians 4:8
5. Allow God’s peace to settle over and within you. Ask for it, expect it, and receive it. Philippians 4:9b
Paul strived to live for Christ and his instruction is clear, “Whatever you have learned, received, heard, or seen in me, put into practice and the God of peace will be with you.” Paul called for believers not to be anxious about anything. The Greek word for anxious means to have a divided mind between reasonable and destructive thoughts. We know that the opposite of peace is worry, which causes anxiety. Worry and anxiety cause toxic thoughts, which are lies, because they are opposite of God’s truths, and they destroy the peace of God before it can settle in your spirit.
Isaiah 48:22 says, “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”
How can we expect the blessing of peace if we are not actively seeking and surrendering to Him?
Once surrendered to the Father’s will, a follower of Jesus will long for Him, eager to seek the Lord’s wisdom, will, and ways. When our mind and heart are fixed on Him, the peace of God that surpasses any human understanding gives us refuge.
No matter who we are in this life, the accolades we may receive, degrees, income, or social standing, we are unable to create genuine, holy, sustainable peace apart from the work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit within us.
Shalom is the Hebrew word for peace, and it means completeness or wholeness. The frame of reference throughout Jewish literature for this shalom (peace) is tied to shelemut (shell-a-met), which means perfection. This perfect peace is not referring to an absence of earthly strife, quarrels, or trials, but transcends, to a divine, moral centering in the soul and comes from God alone. Perfect peace is a blessing manifested by God, the Author of Perfect Peace.
Biblical peace allows more than rest or tranquility. Our Heavenly Father’s peace brings refuge even during conflict and takes action to restore what is broken or hurting through completeness at the Source. Our gracious, loving Father carries many names, of course, as He is the Author of Everything. One name, Yahweh Shalom means “the Lord is peace.” Because the Lord is peace, we receive peace and restoration with God, as well as with others, and ourselves. In this fallen world, peace as a fruit of the spirit is indwelt and felt, as well as sustained, when we purposely seek Him in humble, obedient love and service.
God’s peace is presented and upheld through His Heavenly realm. It is not circumstantial or negotiated, but is a mysterious, indwelt, unfathomable gift.
John 14:25-31 says, “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. “Come now; let us leave.”
When I read this passage and begin absorbing all that it proclaims, I’m struck by the confidence of Jesus. That same conviction lives within believers when we cling to Christ. As he spoke to the disciples, Jesus exhibited full trust that the Father, Son, and Holly Spirit were actively working together and in full control of current and future events. Unlike the peace our broken world offers, Jesus had no fear or doubts. We live on the other side of what the disciples experienced with Jesus, able to see how circumstances played out. We know the joyous ending! Without the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, true peace would be impossible.
We are unable to walk and talk with Christ in the physical sense the disciples were privileged to explore, yet we live with the benefit of hindsight and all the modern conveniences available to study Jesus through scripture, studies, and fellowship. Yet true peace eludes many believers. When Jesus walked with the disciples, they asked questions, followed, observed Him, and heard His teachings. Once He was gone, the Holy Spirit was sent to embrace that duty. For the remainder of their time on earth, the disciples were carried and comforted by Jesus through another means, the Holy Spirit, who works within believers today.
In this passage from John 14, Jesus instructs the disciples not to be troubled. When we follow Jesus, trusting Him as our Savior, our life doesn’t miraculously change to a world of perfection without blemishes. In fact, in many ways it becomes much harder. Yet, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, left as a deposit for us by the grace of our loving Heavenly Father, we may face trials and difficulties while still carrying a peace that transcends anything we could manifest in our own ability.
Also included in this passage is a warning about Satan to the disciples. Jesus tells them that Satan is the ruler of this world, but has nothing in Jesus, meaning there is not a thing that the devil can do to get Jesus to sin. The same truth applies to followers of Christ. The devil needs fertile soil to do his work and damage. His strength is found when we have an area in our life that is not surrendered to Christ. Ephesians 4:27 says, “and give no opportunity to the devil.” In order to achieve the perfect peace of God, we must live a life that honors Christ, willingly seeking Him, and humbly surrendering to His will, allowing Him to transform us moment by moment so the fruits of His Spirit may penetrate and bless the fertile ground He is tilling and flourishing so that His perfect peace may abide and protect us.
2 Peter 1:2 says, “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”
Not simply a greeting, Peter is offering a blessing and encouragement to believers in these words. The disciple knew that God multiplies grace and peace as a believers seek a deep, humble knowledge of Him through relationship with Jesus.
The hallowed power of God supplies His followers with exactly what we need to live a life with holy faith, obedience, and blessings. The key to this fruitful life is always found through two resources. Jesus and God’s holy word. Extracting the truths and promises of God’s word and applying it to our life as we look at each moment with eternal perspective and seek to honor and please Him brings us the peace that only comes from the Holy Spirit residing within us and offers blessings more abundant than we can measure.
Dear Heavenly Father, how good and gracious You are. We simply cannot understand how perfectly You love us and how mightily You long to gift us with blessings such as Your peace that surpasses all human comprehension. Father, help us be worthy of Your perfect gifts. May we seek You in ways that please and honor You, may we follow Your words and live with Your light. Help us to live with confidence in Your promises so that we honor the sacrifice Jesus gave for us. Please gift us with your peace and joy each day because we honor You and follow the ways You taught us to receive them. In the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
If you would like to hear more about living with the peace that can only come from Christ, I invite you to listen to “Live With Eternal Perspective” podcast episode 21, “Peace That Passes Understanding.” You can find it easily at terrihitt.com. Click on the podcast page and type the episode name in the search bar just above the current episode on the left. It’s so easy to listen on the go with your phone or iPad as you travel, work, or exercise.
Have you listened to my second podcast, “Purposed Parent/Connected Child” yet? I hope you will listen, follow it, and share both of my podcasts with friends or family who would like to choose Christ over culture and be a parent (or be a grandparent) who connects with eternal purpose.
Remember, if we are not purposed in knowing Jesus ourselves and showing Him to the next generation, the world will direct them away from Christ. Live With Eternal Perspective helps us to find, trust, and follow Christ more intimately. Purposed Parent/Connected Child shares biblical, practical truths for parents and grandparents to influence and mentor Christ over culture.
I pray that what you hear on this podcast draws you nearer to God and helps you cling to Him, despite any circumstances in your life. Until next week, keep looking Up while focusing on new ways to Live With Eternal Perspective.