“My life is in the tranquillity of your grace” –
These are the translated words from a line in a Tongan hymn that captivated me at church and had me rummaging around in my handbag for a pen and paper to scribble them down. All the while tears were streaming down my cheeks as the anointing fell. True I read the translated words on the screen but the language of the spirit is universal and listening to the harmonious arcapella worship of the Tongan family, as a church, we entered into the presence of God.
Tranquillity – calmness, peace, serenity. When we surrender our lives to the Lord we find ourselves surrounded by His grace. Within that grace is peace, serenity and there is tranquillity. God’s grace provides us the calm within the storm. It is the still waters, it is the banquet in the presence of our enemies. It is our comfort. Fear does not exist in God’s grace, nor anxiety. Tranquillity though is found.
He arrived at our home to clean the carpets. He was late, stressed and focussed on negativity. He came in swearing like a trooper, frustrated. Yet by the time he went to leave he was calm, happy. His parting comments to my husband were “I was in such a bad way when I came, but I feel so at peace now.” I know for sure that this change in demeanour had nothing to do with the ease of the work he accomplished at our house. It was jolly hard work – the carpets needing a serious clean (think kids here!). I also know that we have the ability to impact the atmosphere and therefore the people around us.
The atmosphere we hold in our hearts and therefore in our homes can influence those around us. As carriers of the peace of God we can release that peace into the environment around us. The fruits of the Spirit too should be evident around us – joy, kindness, love….As Christians we can decide whether to be a thermostat or a thermometer. A thermoster merely taking the temperature and conforming to its environment. A thermostat though transforms its environment. We can be influencers or merely reflect the environment that we engage. In this situation it was my husband’s attitude that made an impact on our carpet cleaner. Peace prevailed!
It’s what I think God means in the Bible when He says “you are the light of the world.” It’s what we should be like. Standing out. Shining light. Impacting the world around us. Transforming darkness into light. Making a difference and releasing the Kingdom of Heaven into the earth around us. We can be God’s grace and love in action to those around us.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” (Matthew 5:14-15)
Peace. A welcoming atmosphere. A place where people leave feeling better than when they arrived. We can make a difference on the world around us.
Be the light.
In the midst of our crazy, busy lives, when life seems to throw all matter of challenging circumstances at us, we live a life of peace. We can have calm within the crazy. Peace within the storm. It doesn’t mean that we take our tins of baked beans and hunker down at home in avoidance of life’s challenges. It means that we live from a place of peace, responding to life with peace.
In Matthew 8 we read of a furious storm that raged over a boat carrying Jesus and His disciples. And while some of these disciples were seasoned sailors, being fishermen by trade, even they were freaked out. Yet Jesus slept, undisturbed by the storm around Him. Woken by the Disciples He spoke to the storm and calm returned.
Jesus didn’t react to the storm. He responded to it with what was inside of Him – peace. The storm had not disturbed His sleep because the peace within Him was greater than the storm that raged around Him. He knew that the Peace that resided in Him was more powerful than His external circumstances.
The enemy wants us to react to the external. To be in a state of being in fear, unsettled and disturbed. He wants us to exclude Jesus from the situation. But the reality is that like Jesus we are filled with peace for we have the Prince of Peace inside of us. We can release His peace to the circumstances and situations around us. God is with us in every situation because He is present within. We have the presence of God all the time and that means we have the peace of God always. The peace of God that is in us is more powerful than what we are going through.
“May the Lord of Peace Himself, give you His peace at all times and in every situation.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
A peaceful life is a powerful life. Declare peace to the storms around you.
It had been one of “those” parenting days. Being asked to meet with the teacher, finding nits in your son’s hair (eek!) and the added concern of transitioning a child to a new kindergarten. That and a few other curve balls were making me feel quite overwhelmed and stressed. As I reached into the cupboard for a mug for a much needed cup of tea, I automatically sidestepped the “Christmas” one – the bright red one with snowflakes, and the words of Christmas. You know – Peace, Love, Joy. But as I grabbed a teal one with polka dots, I felt the prompting of God.
“Are you really relegating peace, love and joy to Christmas alone? Especially when right in this moment you need peace?”
Peace is not just a nice term pertaining to Christmas alone, or to be used only in relation to world events and the absence of war. Peace is real. Peace is tangible and peace is available to you and me(!) today. Peace is God given and God breathed. Not only did Jesus give us peace, but He is peace personified.
“May the Lord of Peace Himself give you His peace at all times and in every situation.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
Peace is something to be received in our spirits, not our minds. Peace comes from within. You can’t try and think your way into peace. It rises up from the inside. When we allow peace to be in charge it refuses admission to anxiety and worry. There is no frustration or fretting in peace.
With Christ in us, we don’t have to react to the external. We respond to an external with what is on the inside. The enemy wants us to focus on the external and not the internal. He wants to remove Christ from the equation. Jesus was able to speak peace to the storm because that was what was inside of Him. We have access to the same for Jesus is in us. We need to capitalise on God being on the inside of us. He is with us in every situation because He is present within. We can speak peace to the storms around us because it is on the inside of us. We sometimes just have to let it out.
I sat with my cup of tea, regretting I hadn’t chosen the Christmas mug, but nonetheless I let the peace of God surround this anxious mother’s heart. I let peace take charge.
“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.” (Colossians 3:15)
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
It was one of those gorgeous clear and crisp winter mornings. Outside I could feel the warmth of the sun on my back, yet that contrasted with the sharp iciness of the air as I breathed in. Cold and warmth experienced at the same time. Rather like sweet and sour. Two opposing forces paired together. It reminded me of when recently I reassured my son who was scared of the storm that raged outside. As I tucked him into bed I reminded him that while the storm went on outside, he could be safe and snug in his bed. Comfort in a storm. Asleep in a storm.
That’s what the peace of the Lord gives us. A life of juxtaposition. The ability to be at rest, calm and safe in the midst of a storm. The ability to be at peace when our circumstances are dictating that we should be anything but that. When circumstances, be it illness, financial or work related, are out of control or in a state of turmoil, we don’t have to be. We can be calm. We can be at peace.
The peace of God is not a state of mind. It is not a feeling. Breathing exercises do not give us access to this peace, neither does a holiday. This peace is a spiritual condition, a posture of our hearts and it has a purpose. The peace that comes from God protects our hearts and minds. God’s peace protects our hearts and minds from turmoil, from chaos. When we have peace in our spirits we can transcend our circumstances.
“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)
“Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7-Amp)