"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
When we enter into the unknown we have a tendency to worry, and often, that worry leads to unrest, and unrest often turns to panic. As believers in Jesus we know two things concerning this world, we will face tribulation and have trouble, but in Jesus we can have peace because He has overcome the world, and we belong to Him. Unfortunately, we tend to focus on our circumstances more than the one who is greater than them. We tend to focus on the negative and find ourselves in cycles that are hard to break. One of my favorite sections of Scripture is Philippians 4:4-8, let's take a look at it...
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."
There is a lot to unpack here but the long and short is this; no matter your circumstances, rejoice in the Lord always (Paul is writing this from prison after being arrested for sharing the Gospel). Be anxious for nothing but rather pray, reflecting on all that God has done and making your request known to Him. I love this next part, when we truly rest in Him, when we reflect on all He has done and we have made our requests known to Him, the Word states, the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. A question that we need to look at is this, do you/we trust Him? If we trust Him than we know He hears our prayers, and that He is more than capable of handling our lives and the lives of others. When we trust Jesus, we will have peace even in the midst of the hardest of circumstances. The section goes on and it is important. As a people who have a tendency to jump to the negative, Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tells us to focus on what is true, right and pure. This is important. Instead of the negative, we are to dwell on that which is true, God's Word, His promises, and all He has done in our lives and throughout history. When we dwell on these things, we are hard pressed to focus on the negative or our circumstances, we will have oriented our thoughts on Jesus and who He is. I unpack this all a little bit more in one of my podcasts.
"In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8
If we seek to find peace in anything other than Jesus we will continue to find ourselves wanting. It may last for a moment but it will certainly be fleeting and change as your circumstances do. As believers in Jesus we are built on the Rock, so that when the storms come (the trials of life), and they will, we will not be shaken but will stand firm on the Rock. The world is watching, they want to see if you truly believe what you say you believe. May we be a people that show others the peace we have in the midst of the chaos and that Jesus is who He says He is.
Below you will find a song from AJM Family member Dexter Montaie. Not only is this song fantastic, the message is even better. You will have the chorus ringing through you head, and this is a good thing as you sing "Pray about it all" over and over. May we be a people who aren't anxious about anything but rather we pray about it all and trust God with our lives!
Let's keep the conversation going, what are some of your favorite verses as it relates to peace, rest and trusting Jesus? Leave a comment and let's chat. God bless!
Joe Bragg is the Ministry Director for Kalamazoo Youth For Christ. Joe also has the awesome privilege to lead the youth ministry at his church, where he was previously the Executive Pastor. Joe and his beautiful wife Stephanie have 3 wonderful boys, a shaggy dog and a cat that thinks he's a dog. Never a dull moment!