That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life...
Philippians 2:15-16a

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Peace ~ A Stayed Mind

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7)

What is peace?  Is it a feeling?  A state of mind?  To me the idea of peace is somewhat elusive.  It's hard to put into words.  It is a feeling, but it's more than that.  It's certainly a state of mind, but it's more than that too.  Actually, it's a lot like this verse says... it passes understanding.  I think one of the greatest benefits of being a Christian is the peace that comes from knowing Christ. Not only peace that comes from knowing Christ, but peace that comes from following Christ. Sometimes I get the sense that a lot of Christians are looking for peace, but they haven't quite got it.  Jesus promised peace. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you... (John 14:27).  If Jesus promised peace, then it's certainly something we can have. 

The world looks for peace in people, pleasure, money, and all sorts of temporal things.  The Bible says that someday this world is going to burn up.  Not much sense in searching for peace in something that won't last.   True, lasting peace can only come from God.  Christians often fall into the trap of looking for peace outside of Christ too.  Why? Because we're influenced by the world rather than by God and His Word.

Peace comes from a focus that is on God. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee [God]... (Is. 26:3).  There are so many things around us that distract us from thinking about God.   Just think about it.  Peace comes from a mind that is stayed on God.  That means it parks there and doesn't move.  Satan doesn't like that.  He wants our mind on anything but God, and he'll use whatever he can to accomplish that.  Work, friends, family, music, TV, sports, cars, sunny weather, rainy weather.   How much time do we spend thinking about God when we're shopping? What about when we're listening to music?  What about when we're cleaning our house? What about at work? How much are our minds stayed on God in our daily lives?  Is God something we just do on Sunday?  

Now there's no need to get all extreme. I'm not saying we have to become hermits who totally seclude ourselves from the world and walk around with our hands folded mumbling prayers all the time.  But, do we want peace?  If we do, then God needs to be A LOT more than something we just think about on Sunday.  My pastor often quotes Matthew 6:33, and it goes right along with this.  Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. God always comes first, and that's what it means to have our mind stayed on Him.  It means we live our lives through the lens of this what God wants me to do? this how God wants me to think? this pleasing to God?  Everything revolves around God.

There's a fad in Christianity today of emptying the mind in order to become closer to God.  It's called various names.  Contemplative prayer, soaking, lectio divina, centring prayer, Christian meditation, spiritual formation, etc.  These practices are nothing more than occult New Age meditation disguised with some Christian jargon.  This type of meditation is very deceptive and completely contrary to the biblical instruction of keeping our mind stayed on God.  No where does the Bible encourage us to empty our minds.  In fact, Isaiah 26:3 is the exact opposite of emptying our minds.  These things may bring a temporary feeling of peace, but that feeling will wear off.  Biblical meditation has nothing to do with emptying our minds, and everything to do with filling our minds with good, godly things.  

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Phil. 4:8).

Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin agains thee (Ps. 119:11).  

When our hearts and minds are filled with God we'll have nothing but peace, because He is the Giver of peace.

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