Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Why do we lack peace?

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled …” (John 14:27).

This morning Mandy and I read from My Utmost for His Highest, the devotional classic by Oswald Chambers.

Whenever we experience something difficult in our personal life, we are tempted to blame God. But we are the ones in the wrong, not God. Blaming God is evidence that we are refusing to let go of some disobedience somewhere in our lives. But as soon as we let go, everything becomes as clear as daylight to us. As long as we try to serve two masters, ourselves and God, there will be difficulties combined with doubt and confusion. Our attitude must be one of complete reliance on God. Once we get to that point, there is nothing easier than living the life of a saint. We encounter difficulties when we try to usurp the authority of the Holy Spirit for our own purposes.

God’s mark of approval, whenever you obey Him, is peace. He sends an immeasurable, deep peace; not a natural peace, “as the world gives,” but the peace of Jesus. Whenever peace does not come, wait until it does, or seek to find out why it is not coming. If you are acting on your own impulse, or out of a sense of the heroic, to be seen by others, the peace of Jesus will not exhibit itself. This shows no unity with God or confidence in Him. The spirit of simplicity, clarity, and unity is born through the Holy Spirit, not through your decisions. God counters our self-willed decisions with an appeal for simplicity and unity.

Whenever peace does not come, wait until it does, or seek to find out why it is not coming.

Chambers says that there are two possible reasons why a person might lack peace. The first is that he or she is in disobedience. He describes this as acting on one's own impulse or trying to impress people. The second reason why a person might lack peace is that he or she has not given everything over to God. Chambers describes this as complete reliance on God. It may be that a person is obeying God in most things, but just hasn't completely trusted him in everything. For Mandy and I, we often do not have trouble trusting God in the big things. It's the small things that get us in trouble. We see God move in amazing ways, then we have trouble trusting him to finish what he has begun. When this is happening, life as a saint becomes very cloudy, confusing, and frustrating - a far cry from a life of being simply carried along.

My questions arise whenever I cease to obey. When I do obey God, problems come, not between me and God, but as a means to keep my mind examining with amazement the revealed truth of God. But any problem that comes between God and myself is the result of disobedience. Any problem that comes while I obey God (and there will be many), increases my overjoyed delight, because I know that my Father knows and cares, and I can watch and anticipate how He will unravel my problems.

There is a big difference between the problems that come due to disobedience and the ones that come due to obedience. We will always have problems, trials, etc. However, problems between God and I that are due to my disobedience lead to frustration and often bitterness. Suffering that comes as I am obeying God leads to perseverance, which leads to character, which leads to hope (Romans 5:3).

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