In Pursuit of Peace: Five Ways to Let the Peace of Christ Rule
Have you ever been in the middle of a perfect moment? Maybe you've sat around the table after a great meal, enjoying the warmth of your family. Maybe you've sat in rays of sunshine, watching your kids play outside under a blue sky. Have you ever reached that beautiful place of contentment, your heart utterly satisfied, and then all of a sudden an unsettling thought drops into your head and disrupts everything? You remember your finances, the pressure from your job, or maybe that fight you had with your spouse the other night. Just when you thought you could have a moment of peace, it seems to flee as swiftly as it came. Holding on to that peaceful feeling in the face of stress can be a challenge.
Paul gives us a bit of instruction regarding peace in Colossians 3:15 NIV: "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." We are called to let the peace of Christ rule. That means whatever is true for you, whatever circumstances might be your reality, the greater reality is the peace you are called to in Christ. Let the peace of Christ rule.
Jesus loved us so much, He laid His life down on our behalf. Give yourself a moment today to rest in the fact that Jesus died to give us eternal life. He paid for us to live free of fear, to come close, to be in relationship with Him and to have peace. Reflect on what He’s done, lift up a thankful prayer, or connect your heart with His in some way because when He made that sacrifice, He had you in mind.
Here are five ways to let the peace of Christ rule:
1. Pray. It seems simple, but sometimes we forget prayer is an option. It's always a good idea to hand problems over to God. After all, He makes sure the earth rotates on its axis at the perfect speed and holds stars in the galaxies across the sky. In addition to all that, He invites us to hand over our problems. Philippians 4:6 NIV says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." But, when should you pray - what is the qualifier for talking to God about a problem? Does it have to be something really big? Nope, it says every situation. If it makes you anxious, you can give it to God.
2. Find out what God thinks. Ask God what He thinks about your situation. Dig into your Bible and see what He says. Your problem is not something that's unexpected or unfamiliar to Him. If you dig deep enough in the Word, you might even find a story similar to yours. Dysfunctional family dynamics, leaders with bad tempers, and lack of finances are all situations people faced in the Bible. When you ask God to show you what He thinks, He has a way of putting things into perspective.
3. If it's not peace, kick it out. If a thought comes into your head that's not peaceful, you have permission to kick it out. In 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV, it says, "we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." You have the privilege of choosing what kind of thoughts fill your mind. They can be full of peace or full of fear. Hopeful or discouraging. Go back to the Truth found in His Word, and replace your uneasy thoughts with His peace.
4. Go after peace in your relationships. What's more important - the words you're trying to get across or the person you're talking to? When peace rules in your relationships, it takes priority over being right. This can be a tough one during the family get-togethers when that same family member brings up that same argument about that same thing you've talked about five hundred times. You might have to lay down your arguments, for the sake of protecting your relationship with the person you're talking to. Listen, love, and seek to understand the people around you. God will bring people into your life who listen, love, and understand you.
5. Be thankful. Because Paul went on to say this after instructing us to let peace rule in our hearts, it's probably a good idea to practice. Giving thanks is another tool to put things in perspective for us. If you focus your mind on all you have instead of all you lack, you'll start feeling more content with your life. Also, the very things involved in your anxiety, like family, finances, or your spouse, are probably also the things you're thankful for. Take a minute to switch from worrying about these things to letting yourself feel how thankful you are for them.
Whatever it might be that brings you anxiety, the truth is, there is no area of your life the peace of Christ cannot rule over. The One who spoke peace to the waves can calm any storm inside of you. If you find yourself losing perspective, with problems appearing as insurmountable mountains in your path, remember that the God who conquered death is on your side. Remember that nothing will ever separate you from Him. When you make Jesus Lord of your life, your sins are forgiven and can't be held against you any longer because of what Jesus did. Instead of death, we've been given eternal life. Let the depth of that truth settle and bring rest to your heart.