I recently listened to a man talk about the challenge of keeping our eyes on Jesus. I could really relate!
He told us that he was feeling beat up. He was doubting himself. He felt like the “enemy” was taunting him by reminding him of all his shortcomings, asking him who he thought he was to believe that God could actually use him and work through his life.
He was feeling pretty bad, until he realized that the enemy was right.
He realized how amazing it is that despite his shortcomings and imperfections, God chose to work through him anyway.
He began to laugh at how much the Lord was working through an average guy like him.
How amazing is it that God works through us and brings His kingdom to earth through us? Especially when we are not perfect?!
You know how challenging it can be.
You love Jesus and trust Jesus.
But as we look at the world around us…
…and take our eyes off of Jesus…
We can find ourselves coming under fear, discouragement, hopelessness, anger…
In the book of John, I love that Jesus told us He only did what He saw the Father doing and He only said what he heard the Father saying.
Clearly Jesus is describing for us His strategy for success in life on this earth.
Keep listening and watching, friends.
This can be an unending irritation if we try to force ourselves not to be distracted. It seems the harder I “try” not to pay attention to the media, the critics, the angry judgmental voices…the more I find a hard spot growing in my heart. That spot grips my breath and drains my peace. Can you relate?
In comparison, when I exercise the easy habits/traditions/routines of spending quiet time with the Lord…
…listening, praying, soaking…along with regular time in God’s word…and top it off with regular worship (even if I am alone)…
I find my journey is quite different.
Those habits change me. Those routines are simple, easy, portable and very attainable.
For me it always comes down to managing my peace.
When I have the peace of God solidly inside of me, I am aware of world events, angry people, and all the unrest that is going on. Yet, still I am able to walk forward with wisdom and joy.
When I lose my peace for any reason, it seems that the fear, anger and other things around me hit me on the inside. I don’t make good decisions, I lose energy, I worry….
This is what Paul was talking about when he wrote to the believers at Colossi.
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.
For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.
And always be thankful.
A thankful heart is a strong heart.
It is a heart that knows how to allow the Lord to protect you while being aware of the storms that rage around you. The issue is really what is ruling in your heart. Is it peace? Is it God? Is it fear? Joy?
The Holy Spirit is available to each and every one of us.
He lives inside of us. Some of us give Him limited access, some of us give Him more.
The Holy Spirit is a bringer of peace.
The amount of Holy Spirit peace that resides in us is like a pilot light. For some of us it is lit, but barely burning. For others it is a full flame burning bright.
How bright and strong that pilot light of Holy Spirit’s presence is burning in you is up to you.
Take the time to pray, to soak, to read God’s Word, to worship. Turn up that pilot light of God’s presence – it will keep you aware of God, of His presence, His protection, His perspective. This is how we can, like Jesus, do what the Father is doing and say what the Father is saying.
In this season of Peace, let’s all take time to “practice” turning up the flame of God’s presence in our lives. Don’t allow circumstances to rule in your heart when God is available to keep you in His peace.
My prayer for you this Christmas season is what Paul wrote to the Christians in Phillipi:
“And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7
Blessings to you this Christmas season,