Many people feel stuck in the patterns of their life. They don’t know how to make changes. They aren’t sure which way to turn. By studying the Fruit of the Spirit in this series of messages, my prayer is that you will be able to identify specific ways to allow the Lord to change you from the inside out. Peace does not depend on your world changing, but rather adopting godly attitudes, the way you respond, the values of Christ.
It’s tempting to seek peace in the wrong places. Here is one person’s silly story:
By following the simple advice I read in an article, I have finally found inner peace...The article read: "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you've started." So I looked around the house to see all the things I started and hadn't finished....and before leaving the house this morning I finished off a bottle of red wine, a bottle of white wine, the Prozac, some valium, some cheesecake and a box of chocolates. You have no idea how good I feel.... ////
(Unfortunately, too often this is no joke, grasping for peace by checking out of reality, but guess what, after spending half the day foggy brained the same situation is present the next day.)
READ Phil. 4:7…Inner Peace is like a security guard standing on duty protecting your emotions and thoughts. Peace keeps you focused. Last week we spoke of JOY, today Peace. Joy and Peace are both in this scripture. In these verses, PEACE is the result of JOY. The bottom line: “And the God of Peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:9).
An alert security guard stands watch. Peace will guard your hearts and minds… A security guard protects. A security guard sounds the trumpet when trouble threatens. Watch this short video of what happens when the security guard falls asleep (Youtube Video of the great Rhino Escape, this just took pace in January of this year in Israel ~ Video is posted at the end of this message).
Peace is the security guard of your heart and mind. When peace falls asleep, the Rhinos escape. The Rhinos of worry, the Rhinos of stress, the Rhinos of anxiety. The result of peace is security, to keep the Rhinos in their proper place. Peace stills the clamoring voices, speaks of better things, allows you to see the good and the noble READ Phil. 4:8. When Peace falls asleep, the Rhinos escape, worry takes over.
Jesus is a man of incredible peace. Here are thoughts submitted from Julie Nolan on the peace of Jesus:
Time after time, the Bible records Jesus as a peaceful man. He wasn't worried about much in life. This is demonstrated most specifically when he slept on the boat while a storm raged on. The disciples were panicked and afraid they would die. Jesus took a nap. He was peaceful, no matter what was going on around him. Even at the end, He accepted His fate, and allowed the religious leaders to capture him. He went with them without a fight, because He had Peace in His heart. That peace is what afforded Him the courage that led Him to face His own torture and murder with dignity and grace.
Jesus kept the rhinos of his life in their proper place. He faced persecution and torture. He faced death. Yet he faced his storms with peace, his heart and his mind were at peace. Jesus focused on the people he loved, the people he came to save. From the cross he spoke of forgiveness to those who wronged him and salvation for the guilty. There is no law against being a person of peace ~ nobody can stop you. No matter the storms, you can face them with the peace of God. Peace will stand guard over the rhinos. Peace doesn’t take away the problems, peace keeps them in the cage where they belong. Inner peace tunes our ears to hear the small voice of God. Let peace stand guard over the worries and doubts of your life.
How to be a person of inner peace….
Compassion brings inner peace. READ Phil. 4:1–3. Paul loves people. He addresses the Philippians as “brothers and sisters.” You find PEACE by focusing on PEOPLE, loving people, caring about people.
Worry and anxiety comes from emphasizing problems, what other people will think, your reputation, how things will work out. Paul’s great lesson is love people. Have compassion on people. To think the best of other people. Sally told me this week about a person in her life that thinks she is naïve because she thinks the best about people, whereas he feels he is more realistic about people and is suspicious of their motives. I’ll take naïve any day if those are the options. I know that when I do my best to care about people it brings peace to my life because I am letting go of control…
Pride in other people brings inner peace. Paul calls the Philippians his “joy and crown” in Phi. 4:1. The people in Phillipi are Paul’s source of joy in life. They are also his crown ~ you know what that means? Paul’s crown when he stands before the judgment seat of Christ (see also 1 Thess 2:19-20). Many people pursue pleasure, power, popularity, things ~ Paul pursues people. Paul is invested in people, “my crown.” He gives his time, energy… who cares about programs, classes, outreaches…. It’s all an excuse for people. I know a man that heads a service organization that by his own admission doesn’t like the people he serves. He does it so he can feel good///….How would you answer if Jesus returned today and asked, “Who is your joy and your crown?”
Joy brings inner Peace. In Phil. 4:4 Paul writes, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” Rejoicing in the Lord causes life to fall into place. In every circumstance rejoice, particularly those that are adverse. Rejoicing in the Lord is not a natural thing to do ~ must be deliberate, purposeful. Perhaps you have seen the cartoon that pictures a middle-aged man, pot-bellied, with a frown on his face, wearing a T-shirt that reads “Please don’t ask me to have a nice day.” Or you may identify with W.C. Fields who said, “I start off each day with a smile, and get it over with.” Joy is tough! Even Christians struggle with joy in the middle of problems. Paul is challenging you and me to rejoice even in the midst of conflict.
Gentleness brings inner peace. In Phil. 4:5 Paul writes, “Let your gentle spirit be known to all men.” (Gentleness, like Joy is one of the fruit of the spirit, they are all interrelated) In the midst of conflict, be gentle. Win your enemies over with gentleness. If someone doesn’t like you; if someone is out to get you, show them gentleness. A good translation for “gentleness” is “yielded rights” in other words be ready to forgive when someone hurts you, and do so with grace and love. Let the other person have their way.
Question: Would the people who know you best consider you a gentle person? How about the people who like you the least? Anyone can be gentle around nice people, but only the spirit of Jesus can enable you to respond gently to people who mistreat you. Gentleness is intertwined with Peace.
Perspective of greater things brings inner peace. Paul concludes Phil. 4:5 with a fascinating phrase: “The Lord is near.” This is a reminder to help us find peace. The Lord hears the words you speak. He knows your thoughts and motives. He’s in your midst. He wants you to interact with other believers in a gentle manner, knowing that He is part of every conversation and response. Knowing this, we can give up our rights since Jesus will soon take care of them. Peace literally means to step out of the fight. Let the other person “win.” The Lord is NEAR, that is a sobering perspective on life in everything we think, do, and say.
Prayer Brings inner Peace. READ Phil 4:6. Don’t worry about anything. —absolutely nothing! Worry and Peace are mutually exclusive. It is one or the other.
Some years ago a researcher studied the things people worry about. He discovered that of the things we worry about, 40% never happen; 30% concerns the past; 12% are needless worries about health; 10% are about petty issues; and 8% are legitimate concerns. That means 92% of our “worry time” is wasted energy. But Paul is saying that we are not to worry even about the 8%. The alternative is prayer. When we worry we’re really saying God can’t take care of us ~ our problems are bigger than His promises. What did you worry about this week? How much time did you spend worrying? What did your worrying accomplish? I know the answer to the last question: Worry accomplished Absolutely nothing, Worry is a burden God never intended you to bear, but if you choose to bear it He will allow you to suffer the consequences. When you worry, Peace falls asleep and the rhinos escape.
The cure for worry: “pray about everything.” Prayer, petition, thanksgiving, requests ~ it’s all prayer, all going to God. Keep God in your mind constantly. Peace comes through giving the worries and concerns of your world into God’s hands.
Dwelling on the Best brings inner Peace. READ Phil. 4:8-9. With God’s help, through prayer, through the discipline of the Holy Spirit, you can choose to be a positive person seeing the best in others, enjoying the world around you, looking for the good. When I counsel with people who are struggling, sometimes I pause and ask them to tell me something good. God is good. His world is good. You are amazing. The people around you are amazing. Allow your mind to see the amazing things of God all around.
People who are seeking to Live a Jesus Christ life are called to be people of PEACE. May the indwelling Holy Spirit fill your heart and mind with peace, casting aside all worries, standing watch like a guard. “Give me your peace, O Lord, that I may live your peace in a strife-torn world. Amen.”