“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:7
There comes a time when you have to look yourself in the eye and call yourself out.
There comes a time when ignoring the stress and the strain is no longer okay.
There comes a time when you must look at your stressed and harried heart and you know that no matter how bad things really are, your stress is not okay. Because your stress is sin.
And you come to that place of realizing that things are never going to get better unless your heart gets better. Because circumstances can’t bring joy and comfort can’t bring peace.
And you wash up broken on the shores of your own life and you feel like the only safe thing to do is turn around and run.
To mentally dodge the stresses and worries.
To say a bible verse then pick yourself up.
To distract yourself with a book or a movie or a tv show.
To push harder and work tougher, trying to make things better.
But what feels safe is dangerous. These “safe” things, these things that distract from the worry and the shame and the guilt, aren’t safe at all. They are lethal.
They will kill your peace.
They will kill your faith.
They will kill your joy.
They will kill your hope.
Because the only safe way is surrender.
And I used to think surrender was easy…like mentally letting go and falling into a gentle heap.
But surrender is not easy.
Surrender is letting go, but it isn’t just falling.
Surrender is stepping out in obedience when you can’t see where your foot is going to land.
Surrender is retraining your mind to really believe what you say is true.
And surrender takes work and time and intention.
And the safe way is the way of humility.
When you look yourself in the eye and admit that you have no idea what the “peace that passes understanding” truly feels like.
When you bare every ugly corner of your heart to inspection and you admit the sins and the failings and allow yourself to be broken over them.
And the safe way is meditation.
When you’ve seen your sin for filth it really is and then you count and recount the mercy of God.
When you repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat the truths of God’s grace and love and power to your faithless heart until you can feel the restoration and grace washing you free.
And peace in the storm is real.
And joy in the pain is real.
And this peace and joy we’re promised, they are amazing. They are everything you would hope and dream they should be.
But most of us never experience them, because we don’t take the time to preach our faithless hearts into a place of truly believing God’s Word.
Because peace that passes understanding isn’t just a gift that God gives without us seeking it. And if we refuse to let go of our fears and worries, then why should we ever expect to feel His peace?
His peace isn’t promise to just anyone….
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
His peace is promised to those who will choose to rejoice always.
His peace is promised to those who will choose to surrender their anxiety.
His peace is promised to those who will choose to pray and ask and seek with thanksgiving.
There comes a time when you have to take a stand and refuse to give your heart and mind a break until the truths of God’s Word break you…
When you decide to preach to your heart and mind until your heart and emotions agree wholly agree with what His Word says…
When you decide that no lie of the enemy and no care of this world will have any way in your mind, but rather every thought will be combated with truth from God’s Word…
Because there’s a big difference between knowing with your head and knowing with your heart. And the challenge, the battle, is to get the truths of God’s Word out of your head and into your heart, burning and alive.
There comes a time when you must refuse to do anything else until you can wrestle your heart into a place surrender to His Word.
Then comes peace and joy and hope beyond our ability or comprehension. Then comes peace that surpasses understanding.