Peace that passeth all understandingPhp 4:7  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Lately I have been in conversation with a number of people who have had terrible things happen to them in their lives. Very destructive and damaging things. In thinking about that the scripture above came to mind.

But how does that peace come to us when so much damage has been done?

Look at what the Apostle Paul tells us in Hebrews;

Heb 12:2  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Heb 12:3  For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

Here is the example of Christ, do you see how he was able to have that peace? Do you see where His FOCUS was? He was looking beyond this world to what was waiting for Him there. He was even able to forgive those who were crucifying Him. And from Hebrews 11 we see many of the specific examples of men and women of faith and how they dealt with adversity and yet overcame;

Heb 11:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
Heb 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
Heb 11:38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
Heb 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

These people through faith in what God has promised them for later were able to go through terrible trials because they believed God and were focused on a world to come. You see if we truly believe the promises that we have been given then that faith allows us to FOCUS on the promises of a better life in the Kingdom. Here is where the peace that passes all understanding comes from, that Faith and Focus on the promises of God.

Take a look at the scripture above and just below Phillipians 4: 7 ;

Php 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

(Php 4:8) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Do you see the process? First you give the problem to God by prayer and supplication, thanking Him that He will take care of it. Being careful yourself that having done that, you let go of any anxious thoughts that you have over what has happened to you. Of course when you are in the midst of a trial or a situation where you are being treated badly you have to deal with things as you can. But in the end, especially if things don’t seem to be resolved properly, you have to let God have the problem in faith.

Notice the final admonition of Paul; think on good things. He goes on quite a bit focusing his readers on the things that we should be thinking of. No negative thoughts here. He tells us to concentrate on the good things around us and let God deal with the bad things.

Doing that, the peace that passes all understanding will begin to rise up in us. Peace that the world cannot understand. Peace that comes from faith in God and a focus in our hearts and minds that is beyond this life.

But that peace cannot come until we have truly given the problem to God to resolve or not as He sees fit. If we continue to try and solve an unsolvable problem, if we continue to dwell on the terrible consequences of what happened to us instead of focusing our minds beyond this life and allowing God to deal with it and the people involved in it, then that peace cannot come into our hearts.

Are you able to give it to God and truly let Him deal with it so that you can concentrate on the good things again and let go of the bad? If not try and look into yourself and find the reason why? There will always be reasons hidden there in your mind that are keeping you from that peace that God promises.

Perhaps it is a lack of faith that God will deal with it. Or at least that He will deal with it in a way that is acceptable to you.

Could anger be so strong over what happened that you cannot let it drain away. You know the bible instructs us to use anger to get rid of sin not to keep it going but in any case it tells us clearly to not let the anger continue to reside in us.

Eph_4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

Do you want the peace that passes all understanding or do you want to keep the pain and anger that you have been made to feel? It is within your power to do something about it. We have the Power of Choice as we heard in last weeks sermon. The choice is always ours. Do we keep the pain or give to God? Can we in faith truly trust God to do what is best and give it to him so we can think on better things and focus our minds on what we have been promised. Only then can that Peace come to us. We deserve that peace of mind but it will only come if we make the right choices.