A Spirit of Peace, Joy, Patience and Self-Control

Psalm 16:8-9 “I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is filled with joy” (NLT)

John 14:27 Jesus says “Peace I leave 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.” (NIV)

In giving our lives to Jesus, He promises us a peace that this world can not give. A deep-rooted joy that is unshakable despite the circumstances of our life. Why is it then that we can feel so stressed and burdened at times? Why do we feel as if our worlds are falling around us? Why can we feel so lost and despondent, wondering what we have to do to attain the peace that Jesus has promised us? If we are to have Jesus’ peace reign in our hearts, we must be prepared to do what doesn’t come naturally… surrender all to Him in loving obedience and faith. It sounds so cliché, however if we honestly examine our lives closely, we will likely discover many times in which we try to do things our own way and with our own agenda. This will lead to an inevitable struggle and restlessness within, robbing us of our peace as we get consumed within our own little ‘bubbles of troubles’. We focus on the size of the mountain in our path instead of the faithfulness, power and provision of our loving Lord to enable us to climb over it.

To mature as a Christian there has to be some radical changes in our mindset and heart. Therefore God tests us, so that we have the opportunity to allow Him to reprogram our minds and reform our hearts (2 Chronicles 32:31). We are always at conflict with our fallen humanity, however we don’t have to let it pull us down. With the Holy Spirit within us, we now have the power to triumph over it and enjoy the life of freedom God has for us. I have really struggled with certain weaknesses in my life; thoughts and subsequent actions that plague my relationship with God. There are times when I cry out in despair because of the rottenness that dwells within! Guilt sets in as the struggles seem to consume me. However I have learnt not to condemn myself for my struggles. With Christ as my Lord, I am free from condemnation (Rom 8:1). I realised it’s through my weaknesses that God’s grace releases a power within, giving me the strength to push on to live a life honouring Him (2Cor 12:9). I ask myself, ‘what is robbing me of God’s peace in my life?’ Then I ask God for the wisdom and strength to adhere to the decisions and boundaries that will enable Him to reign in my heart. It’s tough and requires much self-control and patience, but God is always there to encourage us. He loves us so much and will patiently teach us what we need to learn to live a more holy life. When the time is right, He will fulfil His word in our lives; the blessings that He has just for us. It’s not about the instant, shallow gratification this world has to offer, but rather persevering and waiting joyfully for God to lead us to His riches. How much more rewarding and precious they will be! And as we push on, let’s not forget the greatest joy we all have now… our personal and secure relationship with our Lord and Saviour!

What is robbing you of your peace with God? What hard decisions do you have to make in order to draw closer to God and experience the joy He has for you? To experience joy is not to always ‘feel’ happy, but to know that our loving and powerful Lord is beside us always, working in our lives for our good. Let’s rest in that truth! Let’s allow God to pop our ‘bubbles of trouble’, and raise us up on His mighty wings (Isaiah 40:31)! Let’s focus on our faithful Lord instead of the mountains that come our way. When we do that, we will find that those mountains will no longer cast a daunting shadow over us, but rather an opportunity to work with God in discovering the eternal riches that lay beyond.

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