Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Choose Peace

As this article posts we are entering day number SEVEN of no gas which equates NO hot water and, more importantly in the chilly Montana spring, no heat.  Overall, I have found peace and focus in glorifying God through how I handle it all, however, truth be told, my nerves are running thin at times.  I'm grateful we discovered the gas leak before worse side-effects came of them (yes, "them",more than one leak was discovered in our almost 80 year old, out-coded pipes before the gas company shut them off for safety)... while I'm also daunted by the process since old lines need to be dug up and new ones laid.  Engineers, insurance, hurry-and-wait....


It all seems a fitting exercise in light of the passage I have been studying this week to prepare for the next installment of Jesus' final teachings in our series here.  It comes from John 14, is among my favorite encouraging verses, and will be quite familiar to you as well...

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

It isn't just this verse though, it is the great big context of the chapter itself...

John 14 begins with the same message v.27 preaches:

Let not your hearts be troubled.  [You] Believe in God; believe also in me.
John 14:1

We know, when God repeats Himself, well, we really should sit up and take notice!  My ESV has "[You]" in the footnotes while other translations carry it expressly in the text.  Simply, one could translate it to say; since you believe in God, then believe also in Jesus!  That belief is the core of the power which helps our hearts to not be troubled!  Any doubt?  He goes on to say:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
John 14:15-17

"If" statements... wow.  Always notice those!  Have you ever said that to someone in your life?  "IF you love me you will..."  Well, Jesus does, which makes it a pretty big deal.  "Yes, Jesus, I love you, how can I show you?"  Simple: keep His commandments.

This isn't a "works-based" gospel here, it is a simple fact of life.  When you love someone, you don't consistently and deliberately break their expectations and best hopes and plans for you.  If you did, they would begin to doubt your love and loyalty!  We don't keep commandments to earn Jesus' love, we had His love to begin with.  We keep them to show our love for Him... I would expand that to say: we keep the commands to show our love for Him TO the world at large!  While Jesus may know your heart, He desires that others should see your heart for Him by how you walk: in a way that honors Him.  How do I know this?

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
John 14:13

We could go into an entirely separate discussion here on prayer, however, what I want to focus on today is why God answers prayers.... that He may be glorified.  

This 'Him glorified' thing is kind of a big deal.  Such a big deal that God doesn't want us to be alone in figuring it out. So, we keep His commandments and He sends a helper.

The string-along is something like this:
  • Let not hearts be troubled (v1)
  • Lift all in prayer (v13)
  • Show you love Jesus by keeping his commandments (v15)
  • If you do keep His commandments out of love for Him, a "Helper" is sent (v.16)
What does this "Helper" assist us in?

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 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 14:26-27 (emphasis added)

Following those first points through v.16 cultivates prime real estate in our hearts for the Holy Spirit in-dwelling and, as He moves in, He will teach us things and help us remember what Jesus has done and said.  As a result.... PEACE!

I do believe peace can come unexplained BUT, most often, I see it occur more quickly, more completely, when we have taken steps to draw the Spirit into our heart preemptively.  

One thing which stood out about that last verse as well:

Let not your hearts be troubled NEITHER let them be afraid  

No trouble
No fear 
we can CHOOSE NOT to (or to) walk with a troubled and/or fear-filled heart!  But we shouldn't.

In all honesty, this last passage is technically, I believe, referring to v.28 when Jesus (in part) was saying, "You heard me say... I am going..if you loved me, rejoice... because I'm going to the Father..."  It would seem his words in the end of v27 were intended to encourage them as He prepares for something HUGE and, quite frankly, scary and earth-shattering!  However, we can still apply this concept to our own "huge" and shaky struggles.  We CAN still draw strength and peace which the world can not understand yet God so richly provides.

If that is not enough, notice how this chapter closes:

I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. 
John 14:30-31a   

The ruler of this world has no claim on Jesus... which is great news for us as it means he has no hold on us either!!!  So why, then, does Jesus take the path he does?  So the world may know that I love the Father.

It is easy to spout, "Peace in Jesus", yet it can be hard to walk it out.  As I was tossed around from phone associate to phone associate and contractor to contractor this past week I knew they were doing all they could, I knew this fix would be a process, but even when I was tempted to loose my cool and get upset, I remembered my greater call: So the world may know that I love the Father.

Suddenly, peace in Jesus was possible.
Suddenly, He was teaching me what I needed to know for that very moment.
Suddenly, these problems seemed trivial because Jesus' greatest commandment wasn't "loose my cool with utility representatives" but instead it was "LOVE".  Love God, love others, love all completely and without cause.

Peace in Jesus.

It looks nothing like the counterfeit peace the world sells, and Jesus' peace brings rewards both deeply and eternally gratifying.

I CHOOSE peace.

Not trouble or dismay.

Just. peace... powerful, beautiful, spirit teaching peace.

I pray you choose peace in those hard to fathom places this week.  Jesus gives it freely, we only need to accept.


Post Note: I have come to know some of the most helpful people this past week and even had an opportunity to share my Hope with a representative as a result of the Peace in Jesus I claimed ♥️

To see last week's post in the series, visit this link in text.

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