By Michael – 14 August 2017
When I look around me I see that Peace is looked for by many, while real peace is found by few. The reasons are diverse and individual. There are no formulas that can be applied across the board because each of us has been made differently. Real Peace that holds us securely from the inside out is found in the ‘Peace of God that passes all understanding”. (1) This peace cannot be understood because it is unconditional in its action. That means it is there holding us through all conflict, trouble and tranquillity alike. What strength this is that we can live from, no longer thrown about by anxiety, fear and doubt. I love His Peace and the strength of His Peace that holds me, and I hope that you may be encouraged as you read this to receive His Peace more.
The Gift of Peace
The gift of God to us is the gift of Jesus’ own life to live from (2). The truth is that we live in delusion if we think we can live the kind of life Jesus taught about in our own strength. In our Christian cultures, some seem to think that we can imitate Jesus by being disciplined and by hiding our faults and failings from each other. This is a way of life based more on keeping rules than in living supernaturally. Living supernaturally is encouraged by what is said in some fellowships, but frowned upon in practice, unless living supernaturally conforms to performance based rules and boundaries being required by the fellowship or group concerned. It seldom goes beyond basic levels and we find ourselves living a mix of rules and worship, switching in and out of tune with our spirit where He dwells.
Living from Jesus’ Love life welling up on the inside of us conforms to His ways, not man’s convenience, regulations, religious boundaries or guidelines.(3) Jesus consistently taught that we must live and flow God’s agape love to be Kingdom effective. Only once did He talk about love as being man based, and that had little to do with manifesting the Kingdom of heaven. His love is always supreme over humanistic love. We know that and it is taught, but little is taught on how to live there. To my way of thinking Jesus completely nails it in John 10. Mostly John 10:11 is translated that Jesus gives his life for us in dying for us. That is true, however that is not what I understand the sense of this passage to be in the original Greek. (4)
The Greek words are about Jesus giving to the sheep His life, which is / will be above the ego (self) of the sheep. This only makes sense when we understand that it is the superiority of His Life welling up on the inside like living water rivers to control and replace the selfish life that we naturally generate without Him. His Life is higher than ours, His thoughts are higher than ours, His ways are higher than ours. (5) Now it makes sense that He gave His life to us to be higher (or greater) than self. Paul describes this in his letter to the Galatians that a fruit of the Holy Spirit’s interaction with our hearts is “self-control”. (6) Whatever controls must be higher than what it controls.
We are like trees that have many branches. Each branch can be either another aspect of us or a main stream of who we are. When the birds of anxiety, fear or doubt come and sit in our branches, we lose our peace in that area. The only way I know to regain peace in that area (in a way that can diminish or even permanently remove the attack upon it) is to fully surrender that area to Jesus. This is where ongoing surrender is a way of life. We are always under attack. It is the nature of this world and the demonic forces that drive it, to attack, steal and destroy any way they can. Jesus warned us about it. (7) In scripture, those who belong to Jesus Christ are described as trees of righteousness. The ability to stay in His peace parallels our spiritual growth and our strength of submission to His Life in us.
Trees of righteousness
In Isaiah 61:1-4 there is a parable of the trees of righteousness that Jesus quoted from as applying to Him. If this applies to Him, it applies to us as well.
The Spirit of the Lord is on Me; because the Lord has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to appoint to those who mourn in Zion, to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the mantle of praise for the spirit of heaviness; so that they might be called trees (oaks, terebinths) of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.
And they will build the old wastes, they will raise up the ruins of former times. And they will repair the waste cities, the ruins of many generations.
In our physical world, trees are living pillars fixed in a place. Some are so large that we build houses, sheds and restaurants in them. As I understand it, Terebinths, or trees of righteousness, are mobile great kingdom trees. In the scriptural sense, they are pillars or trees of righteousness, whose hearts are held by His Peace.
He gives beauty to replace the ashes of the burned out self-agendas.
He gives garments of praise for the heaviness that can come as we go through the burning out and rewriting in each area. It helps to engage with this praise gift as we surrender each area to Him, because it makes the reprogramming much easier to go through. More connection with His Peace is a result.
He gives the oil of joy as we go through the mourning that goes with loss of what we have relied on and been comfortable with, that is being burned out on the inside. So praise, receive and be calmed and encouraged by His Joy that lifts out of sadness, loss and discouragement.
Why? So that we are grown into trees of His naturally flowing righteousness, the planting of God so that He might be glorified by all that flows out of us.
Glorify Him by being made into a great Kingdom Tree. Co-operate with what He is doing as He breaks down the self-stuff to ashes. See your mourning and feelings of loss and being brought low as opportunities for joy and praise. Praise refocuses our hearts and brings or releases joy to lift mourning and heaviness of having stuff die in our lives. it’s a glorious process of being made into trees of righteousness like Jesus, and glorifying Him from the inside out.
The ability to surrender to Him when anxiety and other things come, keeps us in His Peace which flows like a river just underneath all turmoil. Surrender and sink into His Peace. Your perspective will change which will make it easier to deal with whatever comes your way.
(1) Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
(2) John 10:27-28 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
And I give to them eternal life, and they shall never ever perish, and not anyone shall pluck them out of My hand.
(3) Matthew 16:24-25 Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.
For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, and whoever desires to lose his life for My sake shall find it.
(4) John 10:11 I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.
(5) Isaiah 55:8-9 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways, says Jehovah.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts
(6) Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
(7) John 10:9-10 I am the door. If anyone enters in by Me, he shall be saved and shall go in and out and find pasture.
The thief does not come except to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.