The Key to Finding Peace
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:“
‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Last week we looked at the idea of rejoicing at all times, good and bad, in the Lord. This week Paul covers another issue that our life focus will impact and that is our peace vs. anxiety. We could say peace vs. fear.
- Anxiety and Our Perspective
What is anxiety?
The root of the word is “care” so, we talk about our cares in life. And to have a care is not negative. But, the Biblical idea is to draw someone in different directions, to distract someone. As such, I think that really helps. So, if the fruit of the Spirit is peace, this does not mean the absence of caring. But it means that we have a direction for our care that makes us solid.
Scripture has much to say about anxiety. Matthew 6 for example. And it tells us what the false focus is, or what the distractions are that would pull us away from God’s plan for our lives, and that is that we would have peace.
- Energy focused on the wrong things
Hallowed be God’s name! His character sets the standard for all of life’s pursuits!
- Our ability: Your Heavenly Father knows that you need these things! Your Heavenly Father provides these things for the birds, for the flowers etc.
- Our understanding :
We want a certain outcome. We build our little kingdoms around what it is that we want out of life. What we eat, what we wear, where or how we live. Look ahead to 4:11-13. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.
- The desires of others
Fearing men. Pleasing men. Allowing others to define the quality of your life in the moment.
- Focus on God’s Kingdom
There is a common battle expressed in Scripture between God’s kingdom and the kingdom of others. It is expressed in what our freedom is spent on. God will allow hardships in our lives to point to where we are focused on things other than His kingdom. And He tells us that hardship has a very important kingdom purpose as it reveals our deceitful hearts to ourselves so we can repent. God’s kingdom is His rule in our lives. And His rule comes directly from Him. Jesus said that He came to give us abundant life. That looks like the fruit of the Holy Spirit to me. It looks like people who apply the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. If someone strikes you on the cheek, turn the other one also. An insult is not retaliated upon. What is it that gives us practice on things such as this? Being insulted! God is more interested in having people demonstrate His character than He is people having a human definition of happiness.
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
“It is more important to learn to submit than it is to win.”
It is more important to please God than our own desires.
- Focus on God’s will
This is actually similar to the kingdom issue above. We often pray for our will. We don’t receive it. We pray in our own understanding, and we don’t understand our circumstances. And God then makes us wait. Or we might just have things resolve and not learn and have to deal with the same issue down the road.
- Pray About Areas of Anxiety
Be anxious (distracted and pulled about here and there) for nothing! Instead, we are to pray. So, when you find yourself anxious, pray!
- Do you choose all of your fears?
There is a process of self-discovery here. Prayer is important in this!
There are reflexive attitudes that we have latent in us that frustrate the freedom of the Holy Spirit to work in our lives. And God will wait on us to submit. This waiting is an act of love on His part.
And so, we pray and meditate on Scripture and think about our own lives. If we do not measure up, why do we not measure up? And if we know what the problem is, why do we not act to solve the problem?
- Changing you or circumstances
Do we pray for a change in us or in our circumstance?
Give us this day our daily bread!
We may have a lifetime invested in pursuing certain things. Freedom, order, pleasure, success. Are we willing to change? Are we willing to be changed? Ask God to show you WHAT IT IS! Where is the life in your day today? It is not in fear and anxiety. You will have to face fears in order to rob them of their power in your life. God is not mean. He does not demand all of this in your life at once. He knows that you are in process. But don’t think you will be getting your life from Him, Your daily bread if you are not actually learning to feed on God’s will.
Jesus in John 4: 31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
I think it is important to understand why it is that we pray and then do not have peace!
- Spiritual warfare
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil!
Fight the battles inside of you that need to be fought. Deadening our disappointment through drugs or manipulation is not a win.
Ephesians 6: 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
So we are to stand firm. And we are to pray. And we are to rely upon:
Truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation and the Word of God!
Paul’s example of Spiritual warfare and how it worked in His life:
II Cor 10: 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
He had his pride ground out of Him by really difficult life experiences. He suffered physical abuse and it resolved any pride issues that he might have had. Why would Paul have pride issues? How about because the other Apostles were not classically educated? But they did spend time with Jesus. Read Galatians. Plus Paul has his apostleship attacked all of the time. Well, what does Paul learn?
II Cor 12:
6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
III. Peace is Promised
Yours is the Kingdom, power and glory forever! Amen
- Not circumstantial peace
Paul is still in jail. Epaphroditus still got sick. What about miracles? Well, they are still there. The biggest one is that God can give Paul peace when he is so driven to be out and about and that God is actually expanding his ministry in an exponential way because he is not delivered from jail. Can I get an amen?
- Peace you don’t understand
God promises peace. God delivers peace. This is the daily bread. This is Corrie Ten Boom’s sister forgiving Germans who are starving her to death. We highlight Corrie’s miraculous deliverance and that is real, but what about daily bread in a Concentration Camp?
- Peace in Jesus
Prince of peace.
John 14: 25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 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.
John 16: 31 “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. 32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”