And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
If you are anything like me, you are probably a mere two days into actually keeping up with those New Year resolutions. If you are like me, you are just coasting along this January, slowly cranking back into that school routine, and still living on break time. You haven't done terrible at keeping up, but you could do better. But hey! At the least, you are still trying! You have not given up...yet...completely, and you are feeling pretty good.
Like me, you are also probably trying to stay in tune with your daily Bible reading and the allotted time you spend with Jesus in prayer that you desperately wanted to improve. "I bet it would help if I listen to the new Passion 2019 playlist on Spotify!" I tell myself.
Yet, despite all of that, you think you're doing just fine.
Maybe, you're in such a need to hear God - hear anything really - that 2019, so far, has gone nowhere but downhill. Maybe, you're still trying to pray and you're scratching for a ray of hope, but man, hope is hard to find sometimes. You've tried and tried to find a better outlook on your situation, but you just don't see it.
Maybe, like me sometimes, it hurts too much right now to simply think all puppies and rainbows. Maybe, no matter how much you know that God has a plan for you and that He is going to take care of you, you really do not want to hear one more scripture verse quoted at you or one more person to say, "It's going to be okay." You know all that stuff, but you just want to sit and be upset and mad at your situation.
Both feelings, both situations...they're natural. God knows your heart and He sees where you're at. He was actually there before you. He already knew you'd be where you are today. He was waiting on you to join Him there, but He is there. And guess what He brings with Him??
Between those two options above, I am more like the first one...right now. I've just been coasting along for sixteen-ish days trying to just be a better me.
Then, suddenly, I received a text message.
The message was from someone in my past that I had not heard from in three years. The two of us had not had the best friendship, and a lot of hurt feelings came out of it. However, we both moved on with our lives and had not spoken about it again until that night.
I opened it up and was immediately overcome with emotion. I should have been asleep by now, but I wasn't and now I know why.
I pause the story to just thank my Jesus for this amazing narrative I get to share with you all. It was such a blessing that I had no idea I needed. Such peace and awe fills my soul.
This person really just laid it all out on the line, apologizing for any wrong they had done towards me and then went on to encourage my walk with the Lord. It really was like a wave of peace rushing over me when I typed back the words,
"I forgive you."
All I could think to do was to begin to pray for that person and read what the Bible has to say about peace. That is when I stumbled upon Phillipians 4:7 and Colossians 3:15.
"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 4:7
"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:12-17 (emphasis added)
I was not hungry for peace. I was content with where I was in life. However, God was already in the message that person sent to me, and He was waiting on me to receive it. He knew I needed that peace that surpasses all understanding (Hebrews 4:7).
To be honest, I still do not fully understand why God directed this event to take place in my life when it did.
However, I do know that it brought a peace to my heart and soul that - despite my lack of understanding - led me to write this article. It also led me straight to my Bible, and thus, guarding my heart and mind in Christ Jesus just as the verse reads. Overwhelming!
Once I read Colossians 3:15, I decided to read the verses around it. (It is imperative to read the surrounding verses around your verse in order to understand the context of the verse.) Colossians 3:12-17 really caught my attention. In that moment, every thought and hard feeling I had toward that person faded away. I had a whole new outlook on who they were. I had a new outlook on who I wanted to be.
Reread Colossians 3:12-17.
This person was speaking to me with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. This person was compassionate in their apology, kind in their outreach, humble in their obedience to what God was telling them, gentle in their wording, and patient in waiting for my reply.
This person was forgiving toward me just as God is fforgiving toward us.
This person was truly shining, reminding me of God's love.
This person was letting the peace of Christ rule in their heart.
This person was letting God's word and His teaching dwell in their soul. If they weren't, they would not have reached out to me.
Lastly, they were doing it all in God's name, which helped me see that it was all from God from the very beginning.
That is what I want to bring into 2019. I don't want to be saddened by the world around me and the circumstances around me that I cannot change. I do not want to be complacent in my walk with Jesus and just coast through this year.
I want to be clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. I want to bear with each other and forgive one another if I have a grievance - forgiving as the Lord forgave me. I want to put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. I want to continue letting the peace of Christ rule in my heart, since as member of one body I was called to peace. I want to be thankful. I want to let the message of Christ dwell in me richly as I teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in my heart. And whatever I do, whether in word or deed, I want to do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
You know, maybe that person also didn't understand why they were reaching out to me, or why God was calling them to do so. But the peace they described to me and exhibited to me truly transcended all understanding.
My eyes have been opened and I was reminded yet again that God has a plan for me. He is waiting on me in my future and He brings peace in Him. He brings peace to guard my heart and mind and peace to strive for and to be thankful for. I am so thankful.
Please just understand this:
Despite what you are or are not going through, and as much as you may or may not want to fight it, let the peace of Christ rule in your heart this year. Make that your every year resolution. I promise, it is so liberating.
And thank you, friend. Thank you for letting God speak through you to me. Thank you for encouraging me to live like Colossians 3:12-17 and to remember how truly wonderful the peace of the Lord is. Happy New Year!
Author: Joy Grace Webb
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