September 9-10, 2017
Several months ago I was working on a project, but the task was stalling because a certain problem kept getting in my way. Although the solution was right in front of my eyes, it was hard to see it because I was holding on so tightly to a few components. Once I loosened my grip, that is, my dependency, on those other elements, the solution became crystal clear. Then a refreshing peace quickly followed and soothed my mind.
God’s peace is all-encompassing, freely given to His followers, and has nothing to do with your current circumstances. Even if you lose everything, if you gain His peace, you are rich beyond measure. Whenever we look for peace in worldly and material items, it is virtually impossible to receive His precious gift of peace.
Think about wrapping your fingers tightly around a shiny penny that catches your eye because it’s so attractive. But it has very little value. You don’t want to give it up, even though God is reaching out and offering you an unlimited supply of gold. The “catch” is that you need both hands to grab the gold, which means you must loosen your grip on that shiny penny.
To receive God’s gifts, you must first open your hands, actually your heart, to Him. As you do, you can release your cares and concerns into His hands for perfect care and keeping. Once you release your grip on transient, material and worldly fixes, your hands are open to receive the peace He has been trying to give you all along. Keep in mind the divine nature of this gift. It is not the world’s peace He gives, but a powerful peace that transcends all human understanding. We can’t mimic it or create anything that can compare to it, even though we try many ways to create or attain it on our own.
You see, you have to grab the right things to find God’s peace. I can tell you that His peace isn’t everywhere. It’s not in a bottle of alcohol, a drug, pornography, sex or love, work, control, the Bahamas, food, thrills, sports, TV or even your kids. But these are often the first places we look. And we are amazed when they don’t bring the peace that only He can deliver. If you really want peace, you have to look in the right places! After His resurrection, the first words Jesus spoke to his disciples were, “Peace be with you.” He knew they needed His peace, and He knows that you need His peace now.
Today, look at an area of your life where you feel unsettled. Ask yourself, “What prevents me from grabbing the peace God is offering me? To what am I clinging?” Is it your ego, control, looks, image, money, security, risk-aversion or kids? We all have areas we exalt more highly than they deserve. Yet not one of them compares to what God offers. Allow your hands to release that thing by applying God’s Word, character and promises. And then feel Him put His peace right in your hand for you to hold onto. Whether you open your heart and look for peace in the right places or you continue to look in the wrong places, grabbing shiny but empty imitations — it’s your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father, I feel that there are so many aspects of my life that are out of my control. I often feel I am a victim of my circumstances. But I know that in reality I am simply a victim of my own thoughts and decisions. Your gift of all-encompassing peace is exactly what I need. Even though Your peace is a gift, I sometimes feel unable to receive it. Perhaps it’s because I am clinging so tightly to other things: my loved ones, my possessions, my reputation, even my addictions or sources of false relief. I keep looking in the wrong places. I pray to You, my Lord, that You help me treasure and value Your Peace above all else. Help me release my grasp on other things so that I may receive Your gifts. I pray in the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. And all God’s children say AMEN!
“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.”
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”