As the world prepared to say good-bye to 2013 and hello to 2014 I started walking through Lara Casey’s goal setting series to help me think critically about what I wanted this year to look like. The word “Peace” kept appearing as I read through scripture, walked through her posts and spent time with the Lord in the days before the new year. Peace smacked me on the face as I read the following passage over breakfast one morning:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:5-7
I’ve read this passage before and you no doubt have at least heard the most quotable lines. For the first time I noticed the promise the last sentence holds. When I rejoice in the Lord and submit all my concerns to Him in prayer He will provide me peace and He will guard my heart.
What a weight off! As Christians we know we are supposed to be at peace in life, not to be anxious about anything and that guarding our hearts applies not just to romance. If you are anything like me, those characteristics of a life fully surrendered to Christ become just another item on your type-a, OCD check list.
- Brush Teeth- Check
- Deodorant- Check
- Walk the Dog- Check
- Coffee- Check
- Be peace-filled and anxiety empty- Epic Fail
- Guard your heart- uh, was I supposed to do that?
What I’m learning is that God is a promise maker and and a promise keeper. Whenever you see a promise like the one above in scripture God will be faithful to fulfill His end of the deal. That promise fulfillment always requires a little something from us first. It doesn’t mean that I have to guard my own heart or force myself to be at peace. I just have to look for joy and give my anxieties to Him.
All the Lord asks of us to provide us with His peace and protect our hearts is to fix our eyes on Him. Whether in joy or in stress. He’s not asking that I live in a standard of perfection but simply that I stick my eyes on Him. In the verses of Philippians above the Lord promises us that if we shift our perspective, He will do what we need- which is give us peace and hold us together. He just wants our eyes on the eternal prize.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith -Hebrews 12:2
As I started thinking and praying through what I want to say I’ve done and who I want to be at the end of 2014 peace kept coming to the top of the list. I chose it as my “word” for 2014. I want this to be a year about pursuing the peace that only Christ can give. While there are some specific, tangible goals this year (which I will share later), my heart just wants His peace. I want to look back on 2014 and say that I have rejoiced always, given my anxiety to the Lord and then show tangible evidence of how He’s guarded my heart and given me peace.