Do you get the sense that things are quickly spinning out of control in the contemporary climate in which we live? At the moment, the headlines from Charlottesville are being overtaken by the terrorist attack in Spain. Headlines and news bites vie in the arms race for our attention but more often than not serve up a platter of inaccuracies and spin that leave us fearful and angry.
So here’s my list of five sure ways to lose your peace.
1. Worry about everything, especially things you have no control over.
2. Look for your peace in this world.
3. Trust the word of “experts.”
4. Just pray about general things.
5. Be a pragmatist and rule your own life.
And here’s my list of five sure ways to keep your peace.
1. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)
2. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)
3. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29)
4. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7)
5. If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23)
Charles Spurgeon once said, “Oh! I love God’s ‘shalls’ and ‘wills.’” We would do well to love them also “for it is no empty word for you, but your very life (Deut. 32:47) Spurgeon went on to say the following:
There is nothing comparable to them. Let a man say ‘shall,’ what is it good for? ‘I will,’ says man, and he never performs; ‘I shall,’ says he, and he breaks his promise. But it is never so with God’s ‘shalls.’ If He says ‘shall,’ it shall be; when He says ‘will,’ it will be.
I once had a philosophy professor who loved to quote Proverbs 1:20: “Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice.” What was his point? There’s much to be learned from the world around us—especially concerning the human heart— but it takes effort and discernment. It’s easy to know a little bit about a lot of things when you feed off headlines and social media, but to understand complex issues requires time, research, analysis, humility, and a lot of biblical wisdom. So much of what parades as knowledge today is actually raw emotion infused with pride. In effect, most of the words flying towards us are just a lot of noise.
What better time to commit ourselves to studying God’s word, to thinking God’s thoughts after him. Our own thoughts shaped by the media are worthless for knowing what is good and what is evil, what is true and what is false. A steady diet of news, tweets, and Facebook will rob us of our peace, our joy, and sadly, our love for one another. On the other hand, a steady diet of God’s word will provide everything we need for life and godliness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.