July 8, 2012

We must also wear the shoes of peace

The Warfare of Peace:

When trouble comes, our first temptation is to get upset, speak out of our emotions, and start trying first one thing and then another in the hopes of finding something that will work and turn the situation around. All of these are unacceptable behaviors for the believer who is walking in faith. None of them will bring victory. Jesus gave us peace. It is our inheritance. The devil regularly attempts to steal it, but peace is ours, and we must hold on to it. (See Exodus 14:14)

As believers, we are seated "in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:6, NKJV). The word seated refers to rest, and the words rest and peace are equivalent to one another. The Book of Hebrews teaches us to enter the rest of God and cease from the weariness and pain of human labor. (See Hebrews 4:3, 10-11) This peace is available to us~and has been since Jesus came, died for us, was resurrected from the dead, and ascended on high.

Peace is available, but we are encouraged to "enter" it. We enter the peace of God by believing His Word and by trusting in Him instead of in ourselves or someone else. We actually do spiritual warfare while we rest. Paul told the Philippians, "And do not [for a moment] be frightened or intimidated in anything by your opponents and adversaries, for such [constancy and fearlessness] will be a clear sign (proof and seal) to them of [their impending] destruction, but [a sure token and evidence] of your deliverance and salvation, and that from God" (Phil. 1:28).

The word constancy here refers to being the same~stable and consistent. Our constancy is a sign to the enemy of his impending destruction. Our rest in peace and joy during the devil's attack literally defeats him. He cannot handle believers who know how to "hold their peace." Our consistency is also an outward sign that we are trusting God, and our trust moves Him to deliver us.

We benefit when we defeat the devil, but Jesus also benefits. It gives Him glory when we operate according to His Word. He is able to bless us with our inheritance in Him. Talking about the promises of God is encouraging, but possessing them is much better. We read in Psalm 94:12-13, "Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law, that You may give him power to keep himself calm in the days of adversity, until the [inevitable] pit of corruption is dug for the wicked."

God's plan is to work in our lives to bring us to the place where we can keep ourselves at rest during times of adversity. The prophet Isaiah wrote, "Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.

"Behold, all they who are enraged and inflamed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; they who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you but shall not find them; they who war against you shall be as nothing, as nothing at all.

"For I the Lord your God hold your right hand; I am the Lord, Who says to you, Fear not; I will help you! Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you, says the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. Behold, I will make you to be a new, sharp, threshing instrument which has teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and beat them small, and shall make the hills like chaff.

"You shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest or whirlwind shall scatter them. And you shall rejoice in the Lord, you shall glory in the Holy One of Israel" (Isa. 41:10-16).

Here is my paraphrase of these verses: "Don't be afraid of anything. Do not allow anything to get you upset. Don't start looking all around you at the circumstances; don't start worrying. Remain peaceful; I am your God. I will help you; I will hold you up. [When we feel like we are going to cave in, we have His promise to hold us up!]

"All those in strife against you, those who come at you with a spirit of contention and war, shall end up as nothing. So hold your peace. As you hold your peace, I can work because it shows that you are trusting Me.

"I am doing a new thing in you during these trying times. I am turning you into a new, sharp, threshing machine that will mow down the enemy. Your reward will be glory and joy."

The next time something or someone threatens to steal your peace, don't give in. Instead, release God's power by holding on to your inheritance and trusting that He will take care of the situation for you.

Always remember to wear your shoes of peace when you go into battle. (See Ephesians 6.)

H/T: Conflict Free Living by Joyce Meyer

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