faith, illness

Peace Day Challenge, Part 1 | We Are Called to Peace

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. Colossians 3:13

You were called to peace.

Did you know that you were called to be peaceful?

Do you feel at peace today?

The world encourages activity, striving, pushing, trying to fix all our problems, being better and getting better, pulling yourself up by your own boot straps.

And the church buys into that –just look at all the Christian self-help books out there!

But, the Bible encourages us to slow down, live peaceful lives, and be content with what we have and where we are.

This is in stark contrast to the way that the world views life.

Every church women’s group advice I’ve heard is “try harder,” “push harder,” and “do more.”

They act like if you really trust God, you’ll be able to get it all done; if you do things the “right” way, it will be easy and everything will just fall into place — usually backed up by a Bible passage taken out of context.

Unfortunately, that is not the way life is nor what the Bible says.

The Bible says that we will have struggles and trials: it doesn’t say to try to make all those trials go away.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Jesus warns us that we will have troubles –in the context of the passage, we will have troubles until Jesus returns, but ultimately everything is in His power so that we can have peace now.

When a young mom is struggling, why do we say, “try harder,” or “schedule better,” or “be more organized”?

Why don’t we say that maybe this is part of the trials that God puts us through to grow us?

Why don’t we recommend that they surrender their situation to God and say “His will be done” just like the pattern in Jesus’ prayer?

Why are we surprised that we face trials when Scripture repeatedly says we will have them?

Why do we act like the trials are something wrong?

Why do we never encourage people to rest in God and be content?

To be at peace?

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-13

We suffer now, but it will be worth it because someday we will be with Him in heaven.

We always seem to think that God needs to fix our situation when sometimes– often times– the thing He is trying to change is us and the method He is using is our trial.

We lack peace because we fight the trail and blame the struggle instead of learning to be peaceful and content in spite of the trial.

Peace brings hope and joy —if you don’t have hope and joy, seek peace.

Sometimes He calms the storm

With a whispered peace be still

He can settle any sea

But it doesn’t mean He will

Sometimes He holds us close

And lets the wind and waves go wild

Sometimes He calms the storm

And other times He calms His child

— Scott Krippayne

We expect Him to fix the situation when that may not be His plan.

Often, He wants us to learn to be content in the storm if that is where He has put us.

What if God doesn’t want us to figure it all out?

What if God’s goal for us is to not succeed at everything?

What if God doesn’t need us to fix everything and be perfect at everything?

What if God doesn’t want us to try harder –He just wants us to turn to Him sooner?

What if He wants us to be weak and unable to do it all because that is where He can use us and where we are most dependant on Him?

What if He wants us to be content without having everything perfect?

What if He wants us to seek peace in spite of the storm raging around us?

Be content — like Paul said– in all things.

We are constantly trying to fix our lives and make all those problems go away.

We rebuke those problems believing they’re Satan keeping us from the happiness and success God wants for us.

But, what if God doesn’t define success the same way we do?

We keep trying to fix all our problems, but what if God is using our problems to change our hearts?

We are constantly trying to do away with the very situations God uses to mature us and make us more like Jesus.

Peace days allow us to stop fighting, stop struggling, stop trying to fix every last problem in our lives.

It teaches us to be peaceful in the chaos, in spite of the chaos. God can use that chaos for our good.

I will write more about Peace Days in coming posts.

We like to say things like: “God often takes people through a hard time before He does something great with their lives” and cite Joseph as an example.

I dare say that Joseph needed to go through those trials to be refined into the kind of man God wanted him to be.

I would also say that these trials happen to all of us regardless of if God ever does anything “great” with our lives.

This is the case because God is far more interested in bringing Himself glory than making us look good by putting us in a high position.

We tend to forget that Lord chastens whom He loves and has the right to do with any lump of clay as He wills –and it’s not always for “great things.”

For who can resist His will? But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have the right to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for special occasions and another for common use? Romans 9:19-21

Maybe He called you to die to yourself a little bit every day to show His love to your children.

That doesn’t seem like a great and awesome thing, but it is perhaps the way that God will get glory from your life, the way that He will use you.

I always wanted to be a hero –to sacrifice my life in a big way one time– and yet, God has required of me thousands of days, over many years, with one more kiss, one more meal. –Sally Clarkson

I wish I had learned to do this a decade ago instead of constantly fighting over and resenting where God put me and what He was doing with my life.

You know what changed my mind?

Once upon a time, a 10-year-old boy put his hand on my shoulder when I was driving and completely stressing out and said, “Mama, it will be okay. None of this is a surprise to God. If it’s happening, there’s a good reason that we don’t know.”

Out of the mouth of babes, indeed.

This child has definitely been holy sandpaper to my soul.

We spend so much of our energy fighting against things, trying to fix things, trying to make ourselves do and be better about things that aren’t even sin issues –like not getting dinner on time, not being able to keep a tight budget, or not having an effective cleaning schedule, basically all the things women’s groups are often about– when we could be being peaceful instead of stressed out, content instead of struggling.

Peace doesn’t come from fixing all the problems around us; it comes from learning to calm ourselves and be content in the storm where God put us.

Godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6

Are you content?

When’s the last time you heard any Bible speaker encourage you to be content where you were?

Are you content where God has put you?

Contentment does not mean that you cease to try to improve; it means that you have a mindset that “Even if my situation never improves, I’ll be happy where God put me.”

Paul said he had learned to be content in all things, even horrible things like beatings and shipwrecks.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:11

Job lay in the dirt with his body covered in boils, his family –except his unhelpful, bitter wife– dead, his wealth completely gone, and his friends making horrible accusations, and what was his response?

Job said that even if God killed him, Job would not stop praising Him.

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him. Job 13:15

Do we have that kind of peace?

That kind of contentment?

Are we so steadfast in God, so content, so trusting, so peace-filled, that no matter what happens we will still praise God?

In my opinion and experience, the try-harder-push-harder mentality rarely comes from God.

God doesn’t want us to push harder; He wants us to turn to Him sooner.

And, turning to God does not guarantee that He’ll fix those burdens.

Remember what God said to Paul when he asked to have his burden fixed?

God told him no.

Sometimes, it’s not God will to fix it.

That’s okay because He’s not the great genie in the sky who grants us wishes.

He’s a holy, entirely good God who bought us with His blood and has the right to do with your and my life as He sees fit.

If what He does seems wrong, that’s because we have a misunderstanding of right, not because He’s wrong –He’s never wrong.

Remember the story of Mary and Martha?

Martha was stressing out; Mary was at peace at Jesus’ feet.

Jesus said Mary had chosen the better.

In the one story in the New Testament about housekeeping, Jesus chided the woman who was functioning like a busy, “godly” women today —or rather what many people teach is godly today.

We glorify the type A woman in our Christian culture and act like she’s the key to being godly.

Being type A go-getter isn’t necessarily peaceful which is the command we are focusing on today.

Jesus did not tell Martha “well done” for managing her home –she was stressed out and not peaceful.

So, maybe there’s more to being godly than having your whole life organized, right?

If Jesus didn’t glorify her for managing her home, being stressed out, and being type A, then why do we glorify it?

I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with being type A, only that being type A doesn’t make you more godly.

It has to do with your personality, not to do with your spiritual state.

Contrary to popular belief.

So, we should stop glorifying type A people as more godly and stop glorifying type A behavior as godly behavior.

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12:l4-15

Lack of peace and grace can cause us to get bitter.

According to that verse above, our bitterness affects those around us!

So practice peace.

In coming posts, we’ll talk about my experience with practicing peace, the Peace Day Challenge and how to implement it.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes


Here are the posts in this series. I will add the links as I publish the posts.

Here are the posts in this series. I will add the links as I publish the posts.

Peace Day Challenge, Part 1: We are Called to Peace

Peace Day Challenge, Part 2: Even If the Healing Never Comes: Choosing Contentment

Peace Day Challenge, Part 3: Scriptures Verses About Living in Peace

Peace Day Challenge, Part 4: The Actual Peace Day Challenge

Peace Day Challenge, Part 5: Yes, I Still Lose My Cool Sometimes

Peace Day Challenge, Part 6: Peace Day Challenge Reflections


If you enjoyed this post, perhaps you would enjoy these as well.

The Condition of My Home ≠ the Condition of My Heart

Independentism: The Negative Effects of Self-sufficiency on Women in the Church

It’s Not a Sin to Be Untidy

13 Ways To Improve Our Women’s Ministries

Confessions of a Horrible Housewife, Episode 1

Confessions of a Horrible Housewife, Episode 2

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