Don’t you love the peace of Christ? Oh, there’s no peace like it! However, if you’re like me, you probably get caught in the maze of life more easily than by amazing grace. It’s easy to miss a step, tumble into negative emotions, and be left dazed and amazed that the peace of Christ so quickly fled.
Fortunately, I have learned that even a rat in a maze can figure out how to get the cheese! Years ago, it came to me that Jesus is the Big Cheese and that He always gives tasty tidbits of His peace to (former) rats like me when we trust and obey Him. Once I saw that, you can bet I started working the surrender lever for all it was worth. I want out of the maze!
First Things, First
This is the first thing you have to see. If you don’t see it, you will keep getting caught in the maze, struggling needlessly against the people and events in your life. You and you alone are in charge of how much of the peace of Christ you want to feast upon. No one and nothing can get between you and the peace of Christ, but you.
Jesus is your God. He is ALWAYS available to you. In every moment, in every circumstance, peace is His grace-gift to you. But the price is high. You have to surrender to Him in faith, trusting Him with what He allows, and following Him in what He asks. Have you come to the place in your walk where you know this?
For thus says the LORD: “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river. Isaiah 66:12 ESV
Are you living in the River of Peace yet? Then on to step two!
Second, Pay Attention
The second thing we have to see is when and where we are missing it. The Enemy is a thief. Like a pick-pocket, he often steals the peace of Christ without us even noticing it’s gone. We have all been “programmed” by life experience to trudge through many situations without this peace and think that it’s normal. No, the “new normal” for every Christian is living around the clock in the peace of Christ–even in the midst of otherwise stressful situations, even when surrounded by problem people.
So, if you notice the peace is gone, press in to the Lord to get it back! His peace is always available. He wants us to have it in every moment. The only hold up is that there is no peace without surrender. That’s true for nations in conflict and it’s also true for us. If we want peace from Jesus, we have to be willing to surrender to the Prince of Peace over any issue that is troubling us.
The great issue of the peace of Christ is will we trust His Leadership over us? Will we trust Him with our life and the lives of our loved ones? Will we be willing to follow Him into the next step and the one after that? If not, there will be little or no peace. Of course, we like to tell ourselves that we trust Him and want Him as our Leader. But it is so easy to self-deceive on this point. Something in us really doesn’t want to fully trust Him or follow Him. It’s called the fallen nature and it is notoriously deceptive.
A Diagnostic Tool
That’s why we need a “diagnostic” tool. Years ago the Lord showed me Isaiah as a model of surrender. When Isaiah saw the Lord, he immediately became fully surrendered to His leadership, saying “Here I am, send me!” By resolutely getting our eyes back on Jesus, re-surrender is inevitably accomplished. To help me “see” when I need to re-focus and re-surrender, the Lord gave me this acronym: SAAW.
If my heart cannot freely and fully say the following, then I know I have a problem with surrendering. This “tool” also shows me where the problem lies. These four areas cover the map:
S. “SEND whatever You desire to send.” This one is easy, if you are firmly convinced that the Father is the giver of every good gift, has nothing “dark” about Him, and always has your best interest in mind. If not, it shows you where false images of God are binding you, making you wrongly suppose that now is not a good time to yield your life to Him.
A. “ALLOW whatever You need to allow.” This is much harder. We want the Lord to manage our world so that we skate past pain, struggle and inconvenience, but that self-centered perspective would completely stymie our growth into true joy. It’s best to put all things into His Hands and want His freedom of action even more than your own. Allow the Lord to choose what people and life situations need to enter your world today. Then, ask Him to take charge over it all.
A. “ASK of me whatever You desire.” If I am to follow Him, I have a right to receive guidance. Indeed, the Holy Spirit is always giving us a sense of the next right thing to do and will gladly bring enhanced vision and listening abilities to those who really want them. The real question is: Have you come to do your will? Or His? This is a daily choice. If you see something in you that doesn’t want to do His will, you have just met your enemy, disguised as yourself!
W. “WITHHOLD from me whatever is not right for now.” This one “kills” me the most! There are so many things I am just dying to enter into, or see come about. Patience isn’t cheap. The cost of it is learning to wait upon the Lord to carry out things His way and in His timing. But if you’ve worn yourself out with your own fruitless efforts, try this.
There is so much more, especially when it comes to getting free! But that will have to wait for another time…
Once you have taken this diagnostic, you can readily see in what area of life your surrender problems lie. Don’t try to power out! His grace really is amazing. He will gladly help you surrender, if only you will ask Him for help. To help you with that, I have posted four “surrender prayers” that have saved my bacon from the fire many times. They will work for you, too, if you truly want to live as a yielded, trusting child. Here’s to good times in the River…