"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled nor let it be fearful."
I greatly value the peace I have come to know in my life as a Christian. Jesus Himself is my peace. As He promised He freely imparts a peace that we neither know or can receive apart from knowing who Jesus is and what He accomplished for us at the cross and resurrection. The world conjures up a passive picture, one showing an absence of civil disturbance or hostilities, or a personality free from internal and external strife. But the biblical concept of peace is much bigger because it rest heavily on the Hebrew root word sim, which means "to be complete and whole" or "to be sound and live well."
We can never be complete and whole until we are in the right relationship with God the Father. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace because He is our peace offering. He chose to go to the cross and offer Himself as a sacrifice on the cross for our sins so that we could have peace with God. He mended our broken relationship with God and surpassed any good work we could ever do, including a peace offering. All of our brokenness is made whole again through the love of Christ for mankind and His love for the Father. The peace Jesus spoke of is received out of an intimate relationship with Him. He cannot reveal Himself without us pursuing a relationship with Him above all others. In this relationship alone are we able to become complete and whole, to be sound and live well.
He told us to not let our hearts be troubled and fearful. We become troubled and fearful when we take our focus off Him with the enticements and distractions of the world. The world cannot offer you lasting peace, but it can fill you with fears and trouble when we succumb to sin, rather than surrendering our fleshly desires and obeying God. When we allow our lives to be reduced to seeking our personal happiness above all others, instead of becoming fulfilled, we become more and more miserable, and cause misery in other’s lives.
I have been parked in Psalm 38 and Psalm 103 this week. I love David and his Psalms because they are raw, real, and honest. God defined David as a man after His own heart, but the Bible is filled with failure and sin he fell into. But David knew God! He pursued God and attained an intimate relationship with Him through all failures and victories in His life. David learned the character of God. He learned to confess his many sins and repent bitterly, because he loved God so much. But perhaps more importantly He understood how much God loved him even in his failures. He knew the goodness, mercy, and loving kindness of our Father. David knew the peace of God in his life, and he also experienced the lack of peace when he went his own way. Psalm 38 reveals his anguish and his hope in the goodness of God. What God warns us about, and tells us to stay away from is for our good. The Father always knows what is best for us. In Psalm 38:18 David declares to God:
"For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin."
This is true for all of us. Sin never brings peace in our lives, but great anxiety.
I encourage you to take the time to study Psalm 38 and Psalm 103. You will find David in the depths of despair in Psalm 38. Then you will find him in Psalm 103 declaring what he learned from the dark times of life when we truly repent and allow the Prince of Peace to restore us to the peace He promises to give His children freely.
Let’s look at the first five verses in Psalm 103:
"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O’ My soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with loving kindness and compassion; Who satisfies our years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle."
You can see why I stayed in this Psalm all week! David knew God’s character! If we know Him we can praise Him with all that is within us. We will sincerely worship in spirit and in truth. His peace is not surfaced out of stale religion. David knew forgiveness because he had sinned and been forgiven, cleansed, and made whole and complete with a peace that only is found in Christ Himself. David had been healed in sickness. He sought God from the pits of life he ended up in, and God redeemed his life from the pits.
What pit are you in right now? There is no pit He will not come in after you if you call upon Him earnestly! David had received loving kindness and compassion because of the intimate relationship he maintained throughout his life with God the Father.
We know from scripture David’s life was filled with agony at times, failure, betrayal, rejection, and yet he was the king of Israel. But more importantly he never forgot what God taught him when he was separated unto God as a young shepherd boy. God taught him how to rule Israel by serving in the lowliest position of society as a shepherd caring for sheep. Before Goliath there was a bear and wolf he killed to save his sheep. God was preparing Him for Goliath and to lead His people as their king.
We must trust God and His sovereignty to have peace in our lives when life is hard, and life is hard on this earth. This is not our home, and yet in the midst of it all we can say with David,
" He satisfies our years with good things, so that our youth can be renewed like the eagle."
But that will depend on how we respond in the times that are hard. Do we press in to seek God for help, or will we harden our hearts and seek peace in the wrong places that will end up destroying our purpose we were created for? It is a daily decision we must all make. Our choices will be made out of who we decide to love the most — ourselves or the Prince of Peace.
In His love.
Views from my bedroom window morning and evening bring peace to my Spirit as I behold the heavens declaring His greatness and goodness in our lives. It conveys the peace that makes me feel complete and whole knowing He is in control, and has enabled me to live well.