Do you like getting questions about ideals and dreams? You know those kind of questions…the ones about where your ideal vacation spot would be, or where you think the most perfect place to live might be, or what kind of person fits your criteria for the perfect spouse. We have fun asking/answering those questions because most of time they’re long shots (except the spouse question, because if you’re married, he or she is already perfect right?).
What would you say if I told you that God’s preferred state for you and the human race is that we live in and experience PEACE (*shalom)?
If you were to ask our neighbours moving here from Syria what they desire most, it’s Peace.
If you were to ask a wealthy family with strife what they want most, it’s Peace.
If you ask a mom with energetic kids what she desires most, it’s Peace.
I think we’d all agree that if we want to live a SIMPLIFIED life PEACE is something we must be moving towards.
The Scripture has so much to say about peace. A few examples are…
Why do so many people lack peace in their lives? Two reasons: it’s not an easy place to get to, and there are many obstacles that get in our way.
No matter who we are, we will experience Peace Busters in our lives.
1) Bad News
– that letter, text, phone call, email, that changes everything and turns our peace into turmoil
2) Moral Failure
– the thing we do that crosses a line and moves us far away from who we are or who we want to be
3) Impending Mortality
– illness or age gets us thinking about the number of years we may or may not have left
As valid as these peace busters are, none of them rob us of peace more than FEAR.
There is constructive fear and there is of course destructive fear. Constructive fear is what helps you perform better (nerves) or what drives you to do your best or prepare well for an exam. Constructive fear also stops us from doing stupid things. You can probably look back to your childhood and recognize moments when you wish you used a healthy dose of fear.
Destructive fear is the kind of fear that immobilizes – that stops us from moving forward into God’s way for our lives – the kind of fear that robs us of peace. It’s that kind of fear that God wants us to conquer and move past so that we can experience his kind of peace in our lives.
A few ways to help us get from Fear to Peace are…
Understand where fear comes from
Was there an event, a person, or a circumstance in your past that is causing fear in your life today? Take public speaking for example, the most common fear that people have; they say this fear is often caused by an incident in our childhood, one we may or may not even remember.
Anxiety is often triggered by recent events that raise our stress level. We may be coming out of stressful or unique season in our life that causes anxiety in the forthcoming season.
Expose fear’s lie
Many fears are based on ‘what-ifs’ – we catastrophize situations and think of the worst case scenario. We can’t allow our fear to thrive on deceit.
Face fear head on
One writer on this topic said that avoidance only causes escalation. Instead, reach out for God’s hand and go through it together with him. In other words, lean in and walk through/past your fear. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, ‘take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.’ There’s no use running away, instead we must face it, learn from it, and move forward.
Speak truth to the lie of fear
Finally, we must combat fear with truth. This happens with three kinds of speech: self-talk, scripture-talk, and prayer. Self-talk involves positive words we tell ourselves. Scripture talk is allowing God’s words to fill our hearts and minds. Prayer is the privilege we have as followers of Jesus to talk to God about anything.
Don’t let fear become an obstacle to experience God’s peace in your life. Instead invite God’s peace to move you closer to the SIMPLIFIED life you are longing for.
Let these 3 final scriptures inspire and challenge you towards God’s peace in your life…
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 5:6-7
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
He (Jesus) himself is our Peace…
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small(er) group discussion:
What is your definition of Peace?
What do SIMPLICITY and PEACE have in common?
The two verses from Proverbs are both amazing metaphors and very practical. How so?
Which Peace Buster hits home the most? Why?
How real is Fear in your life and experience and in the experience of your loved ones?
Do you think the steps towards Peace in today’s post are helpful? If so, why? If not, why not?
Spend the last few minutes talking about Philippians 4:6-7. Address things like anxiety, prayer, peace beyond understanding, and guarded hearts.
When you pray tonight, think of those in our world who live in turmoil. Pray for them and other unpeaceful situations that weigh heavy on your heart.
(Along with other requests you may have tonight.)
* Shalom is the Old Testament word for Peace. It’s meaning is deeper than just how I’m feeling inside. Shalom is God’s desire for people’s physical and spiritual state, as well as the state of creation. The story of Scripture leads to God’s restoration of all things so that the earth can live in Shalom/Peace.