There was this one time when I lost my glasses. Well, at least I thought I’d lost my glasses, and I was looking everywhere trying to find them until one of my kids said: “Dad, you’re wearing them!” To which I said: “No wonder I could see so clearly to find them.” Sometimes we “misplace” things when they are right in front of us the whole time. It can happen with our confidence in God and it can rob us of our peace of God.
Being careful for nothing isn’t wishful thinking about the future. It’s confidence in the faithfulness of a faithful God. The reward for that kind of faith is a supernatural and inexplicable peace. This is how Paul describes it:
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)
Scripture tells us about the peace of God and the peace with God. Peace with God is something every believer has once they accept Christ as their personal Savior. When I confess that I am a sinner and trust Christ as my only Savior, it is a laying down of arms on my part. The blood of Christ signs the peace treaty and because of His work, I am no longer God’s enemy. Peace with God is a permanent condition. It remains no matter what else happens, even if I sin. Remember: when Christ died for us, all our sins were yet future, but the promise of God is “whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed [disappointed, put to shame. Think refused or turned away]” (Romans 10:11b). I can never lose my peace with God because all God’s promises are sure.
The peace of God is another matter. When I sin against Him, I can break my fellowship with Him. I can lose my sense of His abiding presence. I can lose my sense of God’s peace when I sin. When I am in that condition, I can feel God’s conviction. I can feel anxious and uneasy. I can also allow my circumstances to unravel my confidence in God. When I lose faith in God’s goodness and faithfulness, I can have those same feelings of anxiety and uneasiness even though that kind of thinking is completely unfounded according to Scripture. Lack of faith in God on my part is the sin of unbelief. It’s me believing lies about God, or simply rejecting the truth about Him. Scripture tells me: “my God shall supply all [my] need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippian 4:19). I can know this in my head but still not believe this in my heart because of a lack of faith. The only one who can deny me the peace of God is me.
God wants me to have peace, but just like His salvation, I must accept the peace of God on His terms. Unlike His salvation the peace of God is subject to change, not because God is subject to change, but because I am. Learning to be careful for nothing is a lifelong process. Sometimes it’s as simple and as basic as me telling myself: “God is good” even when my circumstances are screaming at me to believe the exact opposite. “Yea, hath God said?” (Genesis 3:1). Yes, He has!
Sometimes our deepest spiritual lows can hit us after some of our greatest spiritual highs. When Elijah put out his challenge to the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18:19, his faith won the day. God proved Himself in a big way by accepting Elijah’s sacrifice in dramatic fashion (1 Kings 18:38-40). Then Jezebel “texted” him: “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them [the dead prophets of Baal] by this time tomorrow” (1 Kings 19:1, ESV). You would think that after what God had already done for him, Elijah would say: “Oh yeah? Bring it!” But Elijah was just like us. Instead of remembering what God had done, his mindset was: “God, what have You done for me lately?” And he turned tail and ran (1 Kings 19:3).
Peter is another example of our rollercoaster experience with the peace of God. Peter had just boldly proclaimed his faith in Christ by declaring: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16) and Christ told him: “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona” (Matthew 16:17) when just minutes later we find Peter rebuking the Lord regarding His upcoming death on the cross and the Lord telling him: “Get thee behind me, Satan” (Matthew 16:23). Talk about a change of fortunes! What did Elijah and Peter have in common in these situations? Unbelief. Elijah’s manifested itself in fear. Peter’s manifested itself in hubris. Both resulted in an instant evaporation of their peace of God, but neither forfeited their peace with God. God still claimed them both. But if two greats of the faith can lose their way, how much more is it likely for us to do the same? Praise God that our confidence in Him is never misplaced, even though sometimes we can misplace our confidence in Him.
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