I come in contact with a lot of Christians who seem to be as worried and anxious as non-Christians, and it grieves my heart. One of the reasons why Jesus went to the Cross was so that His followers could enjoy a supernatural sense of peace, regardless of their circumstances, through the power of His indwelling Spirit. The apostle Paul had a revelation of this truth, and this is why He wrote: "Now may the Lord of peace Himself grant you His peace (the peace of His kingdom) at all times and in all ways [under all circumstances and conditions, whatever comes]." (2 Thessalonians 3:16 AMP) For most of my life, I didn't realize that I had a choice between worrying and being peaceful, so naturally, I worried about everything. And it was destroying me inside and out. Once I began digging into God's Word, and learning the truth about my inheritance in Christ, I made a quality decision to do whatever it took to walk in His peace every day. I haven't "arrived" in this area yet, but I have made enough progress to know that peace is possible when we live a Christ-centered life in this world.
Paul wrote: "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything." (Philippians 4:6 TLB) I have discovered that when I have a pressing concern of any kind, if I'm not praying about it, then I am fretting about it. Sometimes when I do this, I can sense the Holy Spirit telling me, "If you would just pray about this matter as much as you are thinking about it and talking about it, you would be able to stop worrying about it, and you would give God room to work." That's why the second half of this verse says, "Tell God your needs." The Lord already knows our needs and desires, but when we voice them directly to Him, we invite His presence and His power on the scene. And when we do that, we squeeze the devil and his evil cohorts out of our situation, and neutralize their interference.
The last part of this verse says, "Don't forget to thank God for His answers." (Philippians 4:6 TLB) This is to remind us of the incomparable power of thanksgiving and praise. Every time the Lord answers our prayers and we forget or neglect to show Him our gratitude for it, we miss out on receiving the fullness of His blessing in our situation. On the other hand, when we are quick to give God the thanks and praise for His answers to our prayers, we keep His unhindered blessings flowing into our lives. Do we need to wait for the answers to our prayers to give God thanks for them? Absolutely not. Thanking the Lord in advance not only delights His heart, but fills us with joy before our answer even comes.
Paul goes on to tell us the results of following this divine formula for success. "If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7 TLB) This is God's promise of His kind of peace and rest, which is His reward to us for seeking Him and trusting Him with all of our concerns. Once you experience this indescribable peace for yourself, you will never want to live without it again.
David, the shepherd-king, had a revelation of how he could have God's peace in the midst of trouble and turmoil. He wrote: "Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken." (Psalm 55:22 NIV) In other words, when we are willing to let our cares go, and to give them over to God, He will honor our faith by supporting us and holding us steady, even when we are under attack from the world, our own flesh, or the devil himself. The apostle Peter states a similar promise from the Lord when he says, "Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you." (1 Peter 5:7 NLT) I like to combine the two promises together, and to declare them out loud to the Lord every day: "Lord, I cast all my cares and anxieties upon You because You care for Me. Thank You that You will sustain me and support me. You will never let me be disturbed or shaken!" Every time I do this, I breathe a sigh of relief, because I am giving myself the okay to be at peace and enjoy my day, even when I have a lot going on in my life.
Can we get a peaceful night's sleep when we are surrounded by problems and grief? God's Word reveals that we can. In Psalm 4, David talks about those who were doing their best to ruin his reputation by making false accusations against him. (verse 2) He is brutally honest about his personal anguish and pain. But in the last verse, he declares: "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." (Psalm 4:8 NIV) This is the kind of faith and trust that the Lord longs for us to demonstrate when we are going through dark and difficult times of our own. There are many times when a loved one of mine will ask me about a troubling situation in my life, and I will find myself telling them, "I'm not going to lose any sleep over it." And I don't. I have learned how to claim God's promise of a peaceful night's sleep, and to trust Him to keep working on my problems while I get the rest I need. Now that you know the truth, are you ready to begin enjoying the peace of Christ all the rest of your days?
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the peace that You bought for me on Calvary with Your own precious blood. Teach me how to reap the full benefits of that peace by praying about my problems, casting them all on You, and giving You the praise and the glory for taking such good care of me. When I am tempted to become fearful or fretful, remind me of how my lack of trust can harm my health and well-being, and make me vulnerable to attacks from my spiritual enemies. Today, with all my being, I declare - "I choose the peace of Christ!"
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