Last week, we opened the conversation to address the elephant in the room of modern life - crippling anxiety. It has become impossible to ignore. Let’s continue that discussion this week...
Have you ever been the recipient of an inheritance? A treasure in our home is the desk and chair set that Eli inherited from our pastor and mentor, Rev. Joe Barnes. This man was such a tremendous influence in our lives - he taught us everything he could about ministry and loving people, and gave us so many wonderful opportunities to learn and grow as young people. The desk and chair are solid reminders of his love and care for us, and the great investment he made into our lives. Every inheritance is something special that the giver wants to leave with the recipient as a blessing and reminder of their love, care, and concern.
We all know that one of the greatest story lines is that of the hero, down on his luck, who opens the registered letter and finds that he has just inherited a vast estate from a favorite great aunt. In a moment, his life changes forever. This story is so inspiring and does something deep within each of us as we read. Why is that? Perhaps it is because this is our story, too - each of us is the person who can have their life changed by Someone who wishes the best for us. Each of us can be the recipient of a solid and real reminder of Someone who believes in us and loves us.
Read in John 14 the following words of Jesus,
“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.”
This is what Jesus spoke to His disciples on the night He was betrayed. This is the inheritance that Jesus left for them and for all of us who believe in Him. Jesus says, “My peace I give you.” Not just any old peace - the peace of Jesus. The limitless peace that Jesus Himself has in His own heart and mind. It is difficult to imagine what that even means.
We often make the mistake of thinking that God is just a magnified version of man. Whatever I am like, or maybe whatever my father was like, is the idea that I have of God in my mind. This is not right - we are made in His image, not the other way around. There has never been a time, since forever, that God felt anxious or worried or afraid. There has never been even a moment in all of eternity when it was unclear if God was going to be able to come through. He is the maker of all things and the owner of all of the resources. Even time is not something that gets in His way, let alone anything else. It is this great peace of knowing that God is control that Jesus offers to us.
Uncertain times and being surrounded by a godless worldview fill our hearts with gripping fear, but Jesus is, "called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end." (Isaiah 9: 6-7) Scary situations and difficult seasons leave us feeling anxious and afraid. God does not feel that way - He can see the deep work He is doing in each of hearts through those tough circumstances, and "that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) Uncertainty leaves us feeling lost and defeated, but God has never been uncertain; death terrifies us, but Jesus says, "“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it." (Matthew 16: 24-25)
Your inheritance is the limitless peace of Jesus, about whom was written, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1: 1-5) Accept this great inheritance and let it change your life.
Paul, writing to the Philippian church, tells us how to put our inheritance to use in chapter 4, “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.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
You have at your disposal the peace of Jesus!
-Know the word of God, and trust that God is never out of control
-Rejoice in the Lord
-Do not be anxious - instead, pray with thanksgiving about every situation
-Only think about what is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (this means we must discipline ourselves to stop thinking about all of the opposites)
In all of this, the unfathomable peace of God will guard your heart and mind from all of that crippling anxiety, and your inheritance will be a magnet to those around you who are desperate for relief.
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Hi! I'm Mary - mother to two wonderful grown daughters, wife to an incredible husband, and loving our life in the piney woods of Texas... (read more!)
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