And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus Philippians 4:7 (NIV)
As I sit and write this the world is in chaos and so much of my personal world is too. I feel like we are under spiritual attack at every corner, I have felt lower and emptier than ever before. Today God reminded me of when I first became a follower of Him, one of the things that appealed to me about my husband and his friends was this ‘peace’ they all had, they still had the same struggles in life that everyone did but they approached them with a peace I couldn’t grasp. Somehow in my striving to ‘fix’ things, ‘understand’ things, and control the next steps I have lost this peace, God’s peace that transcends all understanding.
So today, in the middle of the chaos of the world and the middle of my personal chaos, I choose God’s peace. I choose to sit in it and let it wash all over me. I choose to only control my own behaviour and responses and do these in light of His Word, in prayer, in consultation with wise and wonderful Christian sisters and brothers and let go of what I can’t control. Instead, I choose to pray into these situations, pray against satan, pray against temptation, pray against untrue whispers and thoughts and I CHOOSE joy, gratefulness, mercy, forgiveness, and hope.
Today I listened to Pastor Craig Groeschel’s message on responding to the coronavirus and his list of what NOT to fear reinforced the peace that I am seeking. This list is his, not mine (but I bolded the NOTs) for the purpose of this encouragement (all from the NIV translation),
John 17:16 we are NOT of this world
Isaiah 8:10-12 Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will NOT stand, for God is with us. This is why the Lord says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me NOT to follow the way of this people: Do NOT call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy: do NOT fear what they fear and do NOT dread it.
Luke 2:10-11 But the angel said to them, “Do NOT be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
Luke 5:32 I did NOT come for the righteous, but for the sinners
Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall NOT live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Matthew 6:19-21 “Do NOT store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do NOT destroy, and where thieves do NOT break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by faith, NOT by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
Matthew 6:34 Therefore do NOT worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Luke 22:41-42 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed,
42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet NOT my will, but yours be done.”
Romans 12:16-21 Live in harmony with one another. Do NOT be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do NOT be conceited. 17 Do NOT repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do NOT take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do NOT be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Matthew 6:13 And lead us NOT in temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Romans 3:28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith NOT by works of the law.
Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, NOT on earthly things.
We are followers of Christ, we will NOT grow weary in doing good things for God. God has placed each of us here on Earth for this time, in this family, in this neighbourhood. How are you going to respond right now? Overcome evil with good, overcome anxiety and fear with hope and love and God’s peace.
This isn’t going to be easy, but let’s LEAN into the Word, lean into one another, be quick to offer forgiveness, grace, mercy, hope and love. Respond in love to whoever God puts in front of you, whether on the other end of the computer or phone or in person, and offer them hope today.
And at the end of the day, give all the glory to God and offer gratefulness.