“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 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 4:4-7)
Living in this world is a war of emotions. The physical world around us seems to constantly throw things in front of us causing inner emotional turbulence. We lose our emotional balance and end up losing our peace. The “peace of God” is not something that is comprehended by the natural man, because it is derived from God’s presence. When we were separated from God through sin, we were removed from His presence. But having been restored to relationship with God through the work of Jesus, means that His presence brings us His peace.
As we grow in our awareness that we have been adopted as citizens of another Kingdom, we will come out from under the authority of the earthly kingdoms of this world. This is a process much like changing old habits for new ones, and that will cause the change in emotional reaction.
“Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.”(Isaiah 55:7)
When I think of maintaining “peace” in the midst of adversity, I think of Jesus on trial for His life before Pilate. The ability to maintain your peace when standing trial would be a challenge for most of us. Take a minute to put yourself in the same position as Jesus standing before Pilate. When Pilate becomes upset that Jesus doesn’t answer him, he says:
“Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” (John 19:10)
The arrogant Pilate is not used to someone who doesn’t seem to be aware of the power he holds. But Jesus’ response comes from a place of total peace, He knows that He is right where He is because it was the perfect will of God for Him to be there. He is totally submitted to God’s sovereignty and His response to Pilate is amazing, saying:
“You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above.” (John 19:11)
Sometimes our suffering can be self-inflicted results of not doing what we ought to be doing. But being in the perfect will of God doesn’t necessarily mean the absence of suffering. If we don’t have our confidence in God’s sovereignty, we can never come to the place of peace and our emotional reaction merely reflects where our heart is at.