Adjusting to God for peace can be difficult for us to understand but it is a wonderful resource available from an abiding relationship with Christ.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).
The verse above promises the peace that passes understanding will guard our hearts and minds as a by-product of prayer: a peace that is a quiet, still, calm, serene state of heart and mind. Everyone seeks this, but not everyone wants to meet the conditions. Prayer and supplication imply the acceptance of the truth that you must submissively and earnestly relinquish control over the events of your life to Someone else.
This proposition is a bit much for “modern” self-sufficient people who may have achieved an education, a position, wealth, power, or authority, without giving God a thought. Why should they turn control of their lives over to anyone, even God?
The answer is that sooner or later, a peaceful heart and mind will elude you. Personal attainment, competence, and intelligence are heady stuff, but not the keys to finding the peace of God. Truly self-sufficient people find this hard to believe.
I remember sitting across the desk from a businessman who had all the benefits of success: a large, beautifully decorated home located on spacious, well-tended grounds, a summer home, a farm, the finest food, clothing, cars, and the privilege of frequent travel to other countries. He achieved it on his own, yet now he was telling me how and why he needed the Lord.
He and his wife had been invited to attend an executive seminar a year earlier by several men whom he respected. On the way to the seminar, they rode in silence the whole three hours, nursing mutual hostility toward each other, in luxurious, air-conditioned comfort. They were utterly miserable; this was the third straight day they had not spoken to each other.
They sat in the audience and listened to other business people give their testimonies that they had achieved everything on their own except peace and contentment. Only when they turned control of their lives over to God were they able to experience the peace that passes understanding.
Separately at the conference, both he and his wife prayed and turned control of their lives over to the Lord. This simple step added the missing link for them: access to the peace of God that passes understanding.
A statement once caught my attention. I wrote it down but failed to record the source: “It would seem that a good head, excellent vision, a strong heart, a strong body, an inexhaustible purse; you’d have it made.”
Not so when it comes to finding peace of heart and mind. St. Augustine once said to God: “You made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it finds rest in You.”
Even Jesus, God’s own Son, needed to adjust His mind over to God’s will. When He was about to be crucified, He made a request to God:
“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).
The answer was “no.” Finishing the task was necessary. It seems that everyone takes their turn in enduring something they would rather not face.
But, if you are to experience peace, you must make personal adjustments to God’s will to experience contentment that only comes from following God.
The key to joyful, peaceful, thankful living is to plan your day, put your trust in God, walk in the Spirit, and watch how the day turns out.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Can you remember a time when God provided for you the peace and contentment that passed all understanding? How often does that happen for you? What did you learn that you could share with others?
***Adapted article from The Heart of the Problem by Brandt & Skinner. © 1998 by Henry R. Brandt; © 2015 by Kerry L. Skinner. All rights reserved.