The disquieted soul worries about things he fears losing, things he is attached to, things he thinks he cannot live without. A spouse, friend, possession, or reputation are all harmless, but when a soul makes them an ultimate thing or an idol, his attachment to it creates a tumultuous, dark, stormy range of emotions. A believer who has a heart filled with idols will seldom ever exacerience the Peace of God, because He is not putting his trust or faith in the one true God. The result for this type of person is a life full of fear, worry and anxiety, which is a most miserable existence especially when Jesus came to give us life and life abundantly, full of love, joy, and peace.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Each year, during the Christmas season, we are reminded that Jesus Christ, was born of the virgin Mary and divinely conceived by God Himself. He was the long awaited, promised Messiah that would come to the earth as the Son of Man and the Son of God. The Word was made flesh, as God left heaven to come to the earth, so man could leave the earth and go to heaven. Jesus was called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father and The Prince of Peace.
Peace is something everybody in the world desires deeply in their hearts and they try all sorts of things to find peace. In the 1960’s, the hippy movement adopted a peace sign and all their rebellion was done in the name of peace. They took illegal drugs, endorsed illicit sex, and objected and protested against the war in Vietnam, all in the name of peace. Their peace sign was a broken cross and their methods of seeking peace were nothing more than trying to find peace independently of, or without God. Drugs may cause your brain to leave reality for a few hours, but as soon as the chemicals are out of your body, you drop right back down to the cold, hard reality that your disquieted soul is a tumultuous, raging sea of fear and anxiety.
All of mankind was born alienated from God and enemies with God. Our sins separated us from God, and our inherited sinful nature was in direct competition with God for the government of our hearts and lives. None of us were at rest and peace because we were violating the very purpose of God as we walked in our sinful ways and lived in rebellion to God. But Jesus, the Prince of Peace, came to earth, lived a perfect sinless life, and then suffered an agonizing death on a cross to purchase our souls, and defeat and destroy the power of sin. At the cross, Jesus redeemed us as He shed His blood to save us from our sins. As a person believes and receives what Jesus did for him on the cross, he receives justification, redemption and salvation.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: Romans 5:1
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled. Colossians 1:20-21
Jesus has reconciled us back to God; therefore, as we receive Him into our lives, we can find peace with God. We become adopted into God’s family and become His sons and daughters. We were enemies of God before we were saved, but once we put our faith in Jesus Christ and what He did for us on the cross, we are no longer enemies, but now we are sons and daughters and have peace with God. However, there is a difference between having peace with God and the Peace of God.
Before Jesus went to the cross, He promised His disciples that He would give them His peace. He encouraged them not to be troubled, anxious, worried or afraid.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27
In the world, peace is the absence of conflict or war. In the Kingdom of God, it is the presence of a person, Jesus Christ. When we are aware of the personal presence of Jesus, and are connected to Him, we experience supernatural love, peace and joy.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Romans 14:17
There is a story in the Bible where the disciples were in the middle of a great storm, and they awakened Jesus and accused Him of not caring about them. He simply arose and rebuked the wind and the sea, and immediately the wind ceased, and the sea was as calm as glass.
And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? Mark 4:39-40
Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and He can calm any storm that we are going through. He is also the Governor of the storms and He creates the storms of life so that we can learn to trust Him exclusively and depend upon Him completely. The believer needs to understand that God makes peace and He also creates evil. The Hebrew word for evil in the following scripture doesn’t mean wickedness, but instead it means pain. God is the governor of both pleasure and pain in our lives.
I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. Isaiah 45:6-7
Once we understand that God is the supreme, sovereign Ruler of our lives, and we learn to trust Him with the government of our lives, we can surrender to His will and experience the Peace of God. If we really believe that all things work together for our good and God’s glory, then our trust in Him will produce a surrendered will, which in turn produces peace. We simply need to raise the white flag, and stop fighting God.
I believe that the Christians biggest battle is the battle with fear, anxiety and worry. These enemies of God creep into our souls and rob us of our peace and joy. I believe that fear, anxiety, and worry are some of the devils most effective weapons of warfare in his arsenal of weapons against the church. I know believers who have great relationships with Jesus Christ, but yet suffer crippling fears, anxieties and worries. Even King David suffered from a disquieted soul at times in his life.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Psalms 43:5
We worry about the things that we fear losing. We fear losing relationships, finances, health, our reputations, and our jobs. As fear grips us, we take matters into our own hands, and begin to worry about the possibility of our loss. This is what Jesus referred to in the parable of the sower, as thorns and weeds hindered the plants growth, and caused it to be unfruitful.
The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. Matthew 13:22 NLT
I am convinced that every believer has moments in their lives where they will experience the supernatural peace of God. Every time we experience His personal presence, we find peace; every time we connect with Jesus by faith, we experience peace. But when we are in the valley or when we are in our spiritual winter season, we must work to find peace. The Bible gives us a paradox that we must labor to rest.
For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. Hebrews 4:10-11
Peace is found in our relationship with Jesus, plain and simple. But, as with any relationship, you get out of it what you put into it. With our spouses, our children or our friends, to nurture a good healthy relationship requires effort and work. There are certain dynamics to our relationship with Jesus that we should take note of that will help us find the Peace of God, even when our circumstances are stormy.
The first two things we must learn are to surrender and to fight, and then we must learn when to surrender and when to fight. Before we were saved, God was our enemy, but when we gave our hearts to Jesus, He became our friend. Now that we are saved, we have new enemies and they are vicious. The world, the flesh and the devil are the enemies of every believer, and will be for the rest of our lives.
The believer needs to understand when Jesus Christ, the divine sovereign Ruler of our life is imposing His will upon us, we should instantly raise the white flag of surrender. Once we surrender to His will, we will experience the Peace of God. Many Christians are fighting God and do not even realize with whom they are at war. God is the Governor of pleasure and pain in our lives and we would be wise to surrender to Him at all times.
However, when the world, the flesh and the devil are fighting us, we need to learn to fight back. We need to put on our Christian armor (Ephesians 6:10-18), raise our shield of faith and go on the offense with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. We should expect attacks of the enemy for the rest of our lives on this earth. He has already declared war, and he will not relent. It is his mission to steal, to kill and to destroy your relationship with God and the very purposes of God for your life. The world, the flesh and the devil are enemies of God and they are the enemies of all believers.
Secularism, or what I call ‘now-ism’, is a mindset of the world that says what we see, hear, touch, and experience is all there is to life. We should live for the moment, for the now with no regard toward eternal consequences or eternal judgment.
The flesh is the body of sin and death, (the old man) that we inherited from Adam the first. Many Christians still have the ‘old man’ alive and at work in their lives. Whereas, others, by faith, have identified with the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, reckoning themselves dead with Christ. However, even these brave Saints, still have the influence of the body of sin and death to contend with in their souls. Our souls have had a lifetime of influence from the enemy, and are filled with memories and habits that are against God, so it will take some time to get our souls sanctified and transformed. Therefore, the believer will always have to fight the wicked influences of the flesh.
The devil or Satan is our archenemy and he has an army of millions of demons and wicked spirits trying to knock us out of the race, discourage us and steal our faith. He is a liar and an accuser of the brethren. One of his main tricks is to distort things. He will take a little thing and turn it into a big thing, and cause your heart to be filled with fear and anxiety.
For the believer to experience the Peace of God, we must learn to fight the world, the flesh and the devil while simultaneously surrendering to God. I think the hardest part is to know when to surrender and when to fight. In my opinion, the greatest passage of the Bible that deals with how to overcome our anxieties and experience the Peace of God is in Paul’s letter to the Philippians.
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. Philippians 4:4-9
Here, the Apostle Paul gives us the formula for experiencing the Peace of God. The first step toward a peaceful heart is to rejoice or get an attitude of gratitude. Next, Paul writes to be careful for nothing. The King James translation does not do a good job translating this into our modern English language, because this word careful means worry or anxiety. If we are going to live a peaceful life, we must learn how to overcome our fears, worries and anxieties. In other words, worry about nothing!
Then, the apostle instructs us to pray with thanksgiving. If a believer has a heart full of gratitude and thanksgiving, it’s evident he is putting his faith or trust in God. When we don’t trust God with our lives, it will always produce ingratitude. So yes, it is great to pray at anytime, but if you want to gain a peaceful heart, you need to rejoice and be full of thanksgiving before you pray. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Once grateful, then the believer can come boldly to God with prayer and supplication and make his request unto God.
Sometimes I don’t think we really understand this passage of scripture. This is such an amazing promise that God has given to us. He is telling us that if we will come to Him with a grateful heart and pray, we can give him our request and in turn the Peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. I Peter 5:7
This little verse in I Peter 5 gives us a great picture of how this works. The believer simply brings his cares or burdens to God, hands them over to Him, and He will take and carry them for him, because He cares for us so very much. It is these cares, burdens or things that we are worried about that steal our peace. We are worrying because we fear losing something or someone.
This passage in Philippians 4 states the peace of God that transcends human understanding will keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. This word keep in Greek is Phrouréō, which means to guard, protect by a military guard, to prevent hostile invasion, to be a watcher in advance, to mount guard as a sentinel (post spies at gates), to hem in, protect: keep (with a garrison).
That is another amazing promise of God. He will send an army of angels to surround our hearts to keep the enemy from putting fearful or anxious thoughts into our heads. When the Peace of God is surrounding our hearts nothing can or will discourage us. The New Living Translation states:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Philippians 4:6 NLT
I like the way the NLT translation simplifies this matter. Fear, anxiety and worry are the opposite of peace and all three are sins. When you worry, you are not trusting God. The devil’s job is to try to discourage you and he does it with fear, anxiety, and worry. He will accuse you of something you were forgiven of years ago, and he will magnify your mistakes and sins 100 times more than what they are. His biggest strategy is to get you to keep looking at your sins or your failures instead of looking at Jesus. We should all look at Jesus 100 times more than at our sins.
Then our text turns to the apostle telling us that we need to think a certain way. In fact there is a little verse in I Peter that I really like.
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind… I Peter 1:13
We must take control of our thought life. This is spiritual warfare and the battlefield is in our minds. If we allow our minds to drift or to go wherever the wind blows, we will get into big trouble spiritually. Instead, we need the discipline to think about things that are true, honest, just, and pure.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4
When we think thoughts that are true, honest and just, it is like dark stormy skies instantly changing to bright sunshine on a clear day. True thoughts about God, about His promises to us, about Jesus Christ and what He has done for us, about who we really are in Christ, will change our troubled stormy minds into a peaceful calm of tranquil thought.
Yes, we will have trouble in this world and yes, every Christian will, from time to time, experience fears, anxieties, and worry. But, God has promised us His peace, the Peace of God, which transcends all human understanding. If we want a peaceful life, we can have one in Christ Jesus.
The Peace of God is a gift from God. Whenever we are aware of the presence of God and are connected to Jesus, we will experience His peace. When we are experiencing the fruit of the Spirit, we are experiencing God’s love, joy, and peace. They all come at the same time.
When we are disconnected from Jesus and are not aware of His personal presence, or when we are in a valley or a spiritual winter season, I am convinced that if we will diligently work at it, we can find and experience the Peace of God no matter what circumstances we may be facing.
Learn when to surrender and when to fight. Put your complete trust and faith in Jesus Christ and then with a thankful heart go to Him in prayer and give Him all your cares and burdens, hand them over to Him and experience His peace that transcends human understanding. This peace will guard your heart and then you can begin thinking about what is true, honest, just, and pure, instead of what the devil has been lying to you about, accusing you of, or has distorted so much it has caused you to be afraid or anxious.
May the Prince of Peace bless you with His presence this Christmas season.