“May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” – 2 Thess 3:16
This study is designed to help you become a person whose first instinct in any situation is to believe God, a person who thinks first of His glory rather than worrying what others think about you, and a person who finds such satisfaction in Him that false gods lose their attraction. It is also designed to help you in your efforts of praying God’s Word. This is a process, but as you continue to pursue the Lord, study His Word, and keep talking to Him about it, you will look back in amazement at the growth God has produced in your life.
This week we are talking about experiencing God’s peace. We cannot overemphasize the importance of God’s peace as a real and practical benefit of our relationship with God. He does not intend for His peace to be an infrequent surprise; God wants to provide peace as an ongoing rule in our lives. Peace CAN be possible “at all times” and “in every way,” but we cannot simply produce it on demand. In fact, we cannot produce it at all. It is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22).
We have Christ’s peace. It has already been given to us if we have received Christ. We just don’t always know how to activate it. Prayer is essential to experiencing the practical reality of God’s peace. Isaish uses the word “peace” 26 times. God continually promised peace when His captives wholeheartedly returned to the Lord. Many of us have memorized the words of Isaiah 26:3…”You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”
Isaiah 32:17, 53:5, and 9:6-7 use words like “reign, government, and trusts.” The key to peace is authority. When we allow the Prince of Peace to govern our lives, peace will result. Sometimes it’s easier to trust God in our most difficult trials because we feel we have no other choice. We may find it tougher to trust God for that peace when we’re not desperate for God to intervene.
Time to Reflect
- What do you need to turn over to God’s sovereign authority?
- Is something from your past holding you back from experiencing God’s true peace?? Bitterness, unforgiveness, insecurity, addiction, unbelief, doubt, fear, guilt?
- Ask God to reveal to you the obstacle in your way of His peace & pray for Him to remove that stronghold.
Bending a knee to God’s authority is ultimately a matter of obedience. You may not feel like giving your hurt, circumstance, or loss to him; but you can choose to submit to Hus authority from belief and obedience rather than out of emotion. Obedience is always the mark of authentic surrender to God’s authority. What do you think would happen if we paid attention to God’s commands and live totally under God’s authority? He tells us clearly.
“If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” – Isaiah 48:18
Like a River
- A river is a moving stream of water. A peaceful life does not mean boring! To have peace like a river is to have security and tranquility while meeting the many unexpected turns on life’s journey.
- A river is a body of fresh water fed by springs or tributary streams. We cannot have peace in the present while relying on a relationship from the past. Peace comes from an active, ongoing, and obedient relationship with the Prince of Peace.
- A river begins and ends with a body of water. Every river has an upland source and an ultimate outlet or mouth. Rivers are fully dependent because they are always connected to other bodies of water. Likewise, peace like a river flows from a continuous connection with the upland source (Jesus Christ), and is a timely reminder that this life will ultimately spill out into a glorious eternal life. The present life is not our final destination- hallelujah!! We who know Christ travel over rocks and cliffs, through narrow places and wide valleys to a heavenly destination. Until then, abiding in Christ (John 15:4) is the key to staying connected to the upland source.
Take pleasure in knowing that God inspired His Word with great care and immaculate precision. He chose every word purposefully. When he said peace like a river in Isaiah 48:18, He wasn’t drawing a loose analogy. He meant it. What does it take? Attention to God’s commands by obedience through the power of the Holy Spirit. Obedience to God’s authority brings not only peace like a river.
God’s way is the ONLY peaceful way in a chaotic world.
This is not a “one day” goal. It can start RIGHT NOW. The path to peace is paved with knee-prints. Bend the knee to His trustworthy authority. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Col 3:15).
How Prayerlessness Affects Peace
Phil 4:6-7 (Read alternative from book on p. 83)
Without a doubt, avoiding prayer is a sure prescription for anxiety and a certain way to avoid peace. To experience the kind of peace that covers all circumstances, the Bible challenges us to develop active, authentic (”meaty”) prayer lives. Prayer lives with real substance to them- personal and intimate. Often, we do everything BUT pray because other things (meeting with a counselor, seeking godly wisdom, studying the Bible, etc.) seem more tangible. The enemy has such victory in our prayerlessness! He’d rather see us ‘serve ourselves into the ground’ because he knows we’ll eventually grow resentful without prayer. He’d rather see us study the Bible into the wee hours of the morning because he knows we’ll never have a deep understanding and power to live what we’ve learned without prayer. He knows prayerless lives are powerless lives, while prayerful lives are powerful lives!!
Worldly philosophy is forced to minimize difficulty because it has no real answers. (The“Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s all small stuff” mentality.) We face a lot of big stuff, and only through prayer are we washed in peace! It’s time to roll away the stone of prayerlessness.
The Bible is a book of prayer. From Genesis to Revelation, there are hundreds of references to prayer.
Abraham prayed…Isaac prayed…Jacob prayed…Moses left Pharoah and prayed…so Moses prayed for the people…Manoah prayed to the Lord...Samson prayed…Hannah wept much and prayed…So David prayed…Elijah stepped forward and prayed…And Elisha prayed, “O Lord:…After Job had prayed for his friends…And Hezekiah prayed…From inside the fish Jonah prayed…Very early in the morning while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed…Going a little farther, He fell with His face to the ground and prayed.
When our lives are complete, may the words be written of us, “Then she prayed.”
**Pray Psalm 86
Source: Moore, Beth. Living Free. Lifeway Christian Resources; 2002/Christian Growth Study Plan edition (December 31, 2001)