Lately, I have been focused on defeating anxiety in my personal study of the Bible. Anxiety is something I struggle with daily (as you can gather from my posts.) Through my studies I have learned that the opposite of living in anxiety and fear is living in peace. So what is peace? What does peace look like? These are the essential questions that drove my quest for finding peace and contentment in my own life. Here is a glimpse into what I am learning:
What is peace?
Peace is defined as freedom from disturbance; tranquility and quietness. (Mirriam-Webster Dictionary)
From the definition above I can tell you that I have not been living a life of peace. Try as I might to achieve freedom from disturbance I have struggled to find tranquility and quiet in my life. For me, anxiety is at its worst when I try to settle down and find rest. It is when the busy schedule ceases that anxiety attacks. In the moment that I try to turn off all disturbances in my life the worries begin to flood my mind and keep me from the rest and tranquility that peace promises. If I keep myself busy and don’t focus on my worries they seem to be non-existent, but that is not what the promise of peace is. Peace isn’t making yourself busy or ignoring the fact that you’re living your life in a state of fear. Peace isn’t appearing to have it all together.
If the words of Psalm 85:8 are true and God promises peace to His people why am I not experiencing the peace of God in my life? The answer is simple and lies in several verses throughout both the Old and New Testament: I am not seeking after peace in the way that I should. “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” (Psalm 34:14) Peace is indeed a gift and promise from God, but because peace is a product of contentment it is something we must fight the enemy to obtain. Satan is always looking for ways to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10) and he does so in sneaky and devious ways. (1 Peter 5:8) One thing he is constantly out to rob us of is the joy of taking possession of God’s promises. He puts doubts, anxieties, and fears in our minds and robs us of the peace that God has gifted to all of us.
So how do we defeat this master of deception? We seek peace. We look for peace wherever we can find it. We make the conscious choice to be content with our lives and our circumstances. We intentionally set out to create some quiet time and we reflect on all of God’s blessings in our lives. Peace will never come to those who constantly live in fear or timidity. Peace will come to those who seek it just like all of God’s other promises for us. (Jeremiah 29:13- You will seek me (God) and find me when you seek me with your whole heart.)
Some days it is easier than others to put a disciplined foot forward and race after the peace that is rightfully yours. Everyday we should make it our prayer that God give us peace in every situation. It is imperative that when we feel weak, impatient, and attacked by the world that we present our requests to God and seek peace!
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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. (Philippians 4:6-7)
What does peace look like?
Peace is accepting whatever wrenches are thrown in our plans. It is choosing to be grateful for all that we have been blessed with instead of wanting more and better things. Peace is smiling in the face of adversity and rising above the competition. It is giving back to God as a way of thanking him for all he has done.
Let us now throw off all of the things in our lives that keep us from peace. For me, that means getting rid of my natural instincts toward anxiety and releasing control of my life to God. It isn’t until we empty our hands that we will experience the perfect peace that passes all understanding.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)
Additional Verses about peace:
1. Psalm 29:11
2. Psalm 37:37
3. Romans 8:6
4. John 14:27
5. 2 Timothy 1:7
Questions to consider in your life:
1. What in your life keeps you from seeking peace?
2. How can you begin a journey of seeking peace in your life?
3. In what ways can you see the results of peace in your life?