“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6
In this second week of Advent, our theme is peace. Something we could all use right about now. In fact, I think it is safe to say that the entire world is weary and in need of peace. Peace from war. Peace from strife. Peace from anger. Peace from everything that steals our peace what ever that might be for each one of us.
The first question we should probable ask ourselves is this: “What steals my peace?” And of course, the answer may be the same for some of us. But for some of us it will also be different. And that is ok. The bottom line is that we all suffer when we are filled with the emotions that steal our peace.
So, whether it is anger, resentments, worry, frustration, or whatever…we all end up with hearts that are at war with the world around us which includes our friends and family. People we claim to love but because we have allowed the world to steal our peace, we don’t always treat them as well as we should. The results are that we let our anger, resentments, worry and frustrations show and we take them out on the people who are closest to us. Can you say with me: This is NOT ok.
And here’s the thing: we know it is not ok to lash out at the people who are not the root cause of what we are feeling and yet we do it anyway. Unless…oh how I love what Jesus can do for us and by extension what Jesus does for our families and friends through us when we channel God’s peace in our life. Because when we do and we are consistent with our practices, we are less likely to lash out than when we are not mindful about who we are and what triggers our less than desirable emotions to spew out into the world and all over the very people we profess to love and care about.
So, how do we maintain our peace. For starters, we don’t. We can only remain calm and peaceful when everything is falling apart by staying in relationship to Jesus. It is vital to our overall spiritual well-being to spend time with Jesus every day. I can’t emphasize this enough. We need to read our bibles, pray, and reflect on who we are and be honest with ourselves about our lives and what we are feeling. In fact, I think part of our issues are that we are not honest with ourselves and try to blame others for our feelings. Think about that for a minute…we blame others for OUR feelings. We are the ones who control our feelings. We have the power to choose how we will respond to anything. This is one thing we can actually control when we take the time to learn how. No one else has that power unless we give it away. And that leads to some pretty toxic relationship dynamics.
You may be thinking that kind of peace is not possible. I will tell you it is. I have that kind of peace in my life. I work on it every day. It is hard which is why I intentionally tend to it daily. I can’t let my guard down or it will be taken from me by all the stuff we pack into our lives. And…it is worth all the effort. I also know that you can have this same peace because it is one of the fruits of God’s Spirit. Galatians 5 teaches us that while we are free, we should not use our freedom to indulge in the flesh – the desires for the things in life – but instead we should spend our valuable time in pursuit of what God offers and what deep down we desire even as we chase after what will not give us what we want. We are a contradictory mess!
So, I encourage you to devote time each day to God reading scripture, praying, and reflecting on what God is encouraging you to change or to do. I assure you it is time well spent. And you will find that peace that passes all understanding as you walk through the storms of life.