18 words; this verse holds some crazy promise, its the stuff the entire world is trying to find every way but God’s way. Even believers can struggle to stay in a place that provides peace to the soul and rest for the weary.
Here are a few ways we work against peace in our lives:
- Multi-tasking – we think that in juggling several projects at once we are more efficient and productive. Not true. I sometimes write with the TV on, or listen to talk radio in my ears while working on something totally unrelated, that doesn’t aid in having clarified thoughts. When I am distracted, I cannot fully engage with any type of practical focus, so I have a menagerie of thoughts and processes swirling around in my mind. Not a recipe for peace.
- There is the lure of our world and having what we are told we deserve. We deserve that car and that house, those designer clothes and meals at fine restaurants . We deserve a vacation to that exotic location.We deserve happiness, and that happiness is provided by all this…stuff. We all know that isn’t true. right?
- We proclaim our faith but allow the temptations of life to pull us away from our pledge. If its not lusting after one thing its another. Hobbies are one thing, and I might add a very positive ingredient for a balanced life. But it can be hobbies and desires out of control that tip the scales from perfect balance into an overly obsessive and vain pursuit in which many other parts of our being suffer. Our desires for anything that eclipse Gods plan for our lives will separate us from Him.
- It is the relentless want to “be the best” and sacrificing any and everything to meet that worldly goal. Making the most money so you can lord it over others. Being the number one sales person not to be a blessing but to hoard it to yourself. Piling up wealth and accolades from an ungodly world to stroke our ego and multiply our personal prestige are vain pursuits.
OK enough of these negative examples, let’s go right to the life of Jesus and see how He maintained peace during a most turbulent time, the three years before His death.
- He was baptised and tempted – He set the example for us of how to stand amid trials. Often after victory (Jesus’ baptismal commission) we find ourselves in a time of testing (The Holy Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness). Jesus provided a model for overcoming. After being lead into the wilderness, He confounded Satan’s multiple attacks by quoting God’s word. This was the foundation of His entire ministry, He knew His Father, where His strength came from, His purpose, and His calling.
- His focus was outward – In scanning through the gospels you see His ministry to the least of these. The diseased, crippled, demon possessed, disadvantaged; raising the dead to life, and feeding the masses. He fought injustice and taught basic principles for godly living.
- He wasn’t intimidated by the religious establishment – Jesus was a revolutionary who was labeled a blasphemer and rejected by the Pharisees and Sadducees. He cleansed the temple, twice, He debated the priests who continually tried to twist and distort His methods, yet He mystified them with great truth they couldn’t understand. He healed on the Sabbath and openly met with, and restored sinners. He didn’t play nice with the religious leaders, giving into their rules, but challenged the faulty practices of corrupt and unforgiving men.
- He knew how to recharge – Prayer and rest; on several occasions Jesus typified a person who didn’t rely on his own strength and integrity to continue on. It was in these moments of solitude, and with His passionate prayers to the Father that He was equipped to do miracles.
- He stood for truth in the face of death – Jesus never backed down or relented from His message despite the withering attacks all around Him. Even though the faith and steadfastness of His disciples was at times highly questionable He never wavered. There is strength and rest even in imminent calamity when one is fully and unwaveringly committed to a righteous faith and cause.