Weekly Devotional 01-02-23 Peace and Rest
Every person desires to have peace and rest, this is natural, no one enjoys worrying or being in a state of unrest, but alas, all persons experience these emotions, especially if they are suffering from a long-term ailment, a financial situation or family difficulties, etc. The question is, can a person avoid worrying or being in a state of unrest, can he or she experience peace and rest, at least to some degree? The answer is yes, however; “yes” is a qualified answer. There are at least three qualifying factors of having peace and rest in whatever the circumstance may be. 1) Acknowledging of a circumstance; 2) The ability to handle the circumstance, or lack thereof; 3) And a willingness to seek help.
Many deny that a circumstance exists, or if it is recognized, they believe (perhaps very sincerely) that they have the ability to over-come the circumstance, and they have an unwillingness to seek help. If their circumstance is a long-term ailment, they trust that said ailment will eventually run its course or that the recuperative abilities of their bodies will overcome their circumstance. If their circumstance is financial, or if their circumstances may be of family issues they will not turn to other sources of help. They trust in their own intellect, past experiences, or training. Invariably these pursuits end in failure, followed by worry and unrest.
It seems that the best antidote against worry and unrest is preparedness. All persons will experience some form of illness (be it of a short duration or long duration) and they should prepare for such by having a doctor or doctors who are familiar with their needs. Preparedness is the best approach against financial difficulties that come along and building strong family relation-ships is the best preparation against disharmony or other family issues.
The things mentioned in the above paragraphs are inclusive of all persons but us Christians have a source of supernatural peace and rest that the non-Christian cannot experience or understand. However, such peace and rest are best experienced when max-imized by preparedness. We must fill our minds with the word of God, and we must stay in communication with Him. The Christian whose Bible sets on the shelf between Sundays will not experience the same level of peace and rest as the Christian who is daily reading his Bible and considering its message. The Christian who does not communicate with God as often as the Christian who does will not experience the same level of peace and rest when trials come. Daily filling our minds with the word of God and communicating with Him by prayer are forms of preparedness.
Peace and rest are hard to come by, but it is certain the Christian who has filled his mind (and heart) with the word of God will have more of each, than he who has not and the Christian who prayerfully communicates with God often will have more peace and rest that he who does not. The life of the Apostle Paul exemplifies this truth. If anyone should have been filled with worry or unrest it should have been him. If anyone should not have been at peace, it should have been him. Consider much of what he endured from the time that was brought to saving faith and commitment of serving his (and our) Redeemer.
“23a I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness–28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches” (2nd Corinthians 11:23a-28).
Even though Paul suffered these horrendous things he was able to write in his letter to the Philippians “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Philippians 4:12). In this letter Paul was expressing his gratitude to the Philippian church for their support of him, but from the above verse we learn of his inner disposition, as earlier in this same letter he penned the following encouragement “4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”(Philippians 4:4-7).
Paul was human with all of a human’s inhibitions but because he had filled his mind and heart with the knowledge of God and the good news found in Jesus Christ his perspective of life was changed. Earlier (before being reborn spiritually) he was not able to comprehend what life was truly about but after being born again he then understood the true meaning and purpose of life’s purpose, God’s glorification through the lives of those who are His. This is why he was free from worry and was able to experience peace and rest. This can be your (and my) experience also. The path is simple. Let’s fill our hearts and minds with the word of God and communicate with Him daily.
Transforming Power; the Work of God on Behalf of Man