This week, I will trust God to give me peace.
Serving in ministry can be chaotic. Striving to control the situation seems to be the way to calm things down … but is it?
It would be lovely if ministry environments were perfect, full of holy people who all acted like Jesus. But it just isn’t like that! People hurt each other and get hurt themselves; we disappoint and are disappointed; we get angry and we anger others.
So when Jesus talked about turning the other cheek, was he serious? Wasn’t he speaking metaphorically or something? The fact is, when somebody does me dirty and I just stuff my anger instead of venting it, my stomach churns, I can’t sleep, I can’t think straight. This is the real world, isn’t it? Cheek-turning isn’t the real world.
But Jesus stuck to his guns. In John 14:27 he insisted, “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.”
If I am truly living by God’s grace — his ideal design for my life — I’ll find myself settling down. On the other hand, if it doesn’t settle me down — if my innards are still doing flip-flops — it ain’t God’s grace. It’s some cheap substitute.
How can I actually discover, and live by, God’s grace, in a practical, everyday way? When I’m truly walking with God, staying in constant communication with his Spirit, I am tapping in to the supernatural power that I must have in order to pull it off. Try going through the motions and making nicey-nice with the person who’s doing you wrong, and you’ll crash sooner or later. You can’t do it on your own. It has to be the work of the Spirit in you.
I’ll know when I’m really living in his power, because Jesus says the kind of grace that he calls me to will result in my feeling at peace. I’ll be at peace with those who hurt me, those who disappoint me, those who are insensitive to my needs, those who are mean to me, and so on and so forth. It doesn’t make logical sense, but then Jesus isn’t constrained by what I consider to be logical when it comes to his work in my heart and my relationships! He says, “I don’t give you what you expect” — the way he puts it is: “I don’t give to you as the world gives.” He says to us, “I’m going to give you something you can’t get anywhere else: a sense of peace in the midst of the chaos and pain.” Even the all-too-frequent chaos and pain of life in ministry!
My Prayer for the Next Seven Days… Lord, I’d love your peace. I don’t always want to live by your design in order to get it, but help me, please. I want to truly know the “settled down” sensation that goes with being in the very center of your ideal for my life. Thank you! Amen.
Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. I wait for your salvation, O Lord, and I follow your commands.