Mark Affleck

It’s NOT Automatic!

December 1, 2016
Spiritual Growth

Peace and joy in Christ are not automatic when we are saved, and we can’t manufacture it through our own efforts. Earlier in my faith walk, I tried with all my might to do it that way and, of course, failed miserably.
Over time I learned that God’s peace can only come out of an intimate relationship with Christ where he lives in our hearts and rules in our lives every day. Most of us can grasp that promise intellectually, but then we want to know how in the world a Christian can experience God’s peace. That seems harder than it sounds, right?
We have made finding peace in Christ difficult by playing the “stay busy game” of frantically chasing worldly pleasure and success. That approach to life is not compatible with what God says and wants for us. He says finding peace is not hard at all if we come to him. Consider this…
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
It is impossible to find God’s peace when we are out of balance, because being out of balance means we are living outside of God’s will. The power to find peace comes after we turn the steering wheel of our lives completely over to God. With him in the driver’s seat, the power of the divine is unlimited. Relying on any other power source will never be enough.
But it gets worse.
Relying on any other source of power than God makes us more aware of what we should not do than what God wants us to do. We are more aware of where we are than where we should be. In this trap we spend time mastering the “don’ts” and living by the “thou shalt nots” rather than living in the freedom and acceptance of Christ.  

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”  Galatians 5:1
The thought pattern that comes with focusing on the “don’ts” relegates the Christian faith to a “works” mentality and a rulebook for living. It sends us out looking for peace in the wrong places. We focus on staying busy on the world’s track that says peace is a derivative of money, security, and success. That thinking has us chasing peace through reason, intellectualism, mystic relaxation, hobbies, vacations, or “doing the right things” and “being a good person.”
It’s a trap! Peace can only come to us when we stop being anxious about things and let the Lord be the Lord in our lives.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Philippians 4:6
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Peace is not automatic when we trust in the Lord for our salvation. We must intentionally yield, commit, and obey Christ.

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