John 14:27 I am leaving you with a gift, peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. NLT
Everywhere I look, I struggle to see any peace at all. If I watch the news, it is about COVID-19, or a near attempt of kidnapping, murders. Society was already in a mess. I feel it has become worse since the world has been in a pandemic, and in lock down.
Being in lock down isn’t easy. Not being able to travel or go out somewhere at night, being told how to live, feeling like your being dictated too, has put a toll on families. Domestic violence has risen. I have heard too many stories about couples arguing constantly. Then you have families separating or getting a divorce. People are going insane, depression is at a new high, suicide has risen, people have lost their jobs, houses and financial stability. There is also the feeling of loneliness and you may worry about a loved one that you’re not able to visit.
I’m no expert, but it seems all these factors influence our mental state. All you have to do is watch the news and read articles to see the effect of COVID-19. You may have gone through what I have mentioned. The question I ask; where are you finding your peace through this pandemic?
You may ask; how can I find peace through all this? The good thing is Jesus left us with the gift of peace, the peace of mind and heart. It is a peace the world cannot give.
It has taken me a few years to understand the peace Jesus was talking about. God taught me His peace while I was on bail and in prison. If I am struggling, I give it to God. The only way I know I have given it to God is when I feel a peace within my heart.
I have found the following areas have been helpful.
The very first thing I do is pray. I do this to rely on God first rather than man. In the past, prayer was always my last resort. I used to rely on man and man can let each other down, whereas God won’t. In the beginning, we may not like the answers God gives. He knows what we need, and I know from experience, answers will come, and peace will flow through you.
Jesus spent time with His Father in prayer Mark 6:46, and therefore it is important for us to pray. I never used to pray, and when I was alone on bail, all I could do was pray. So I prayed and prayed. It was a struggle at first, because I felt all alone, and I didn’t feel like God was answering any of my prayers. It was through my consistency that I saw break through. I learned to pray through all circumstances, good times and bad times. Jesus taught this in Luke 18:1-7.
Now that I am married, I pray with my wife before we go to bed. We also pray when one of us is struggling, and to give thanks to God for what He is doing in our lives. The saying is, ‘if you pray together, then you stay together’. I believe this is so true. Praying as a married couple strengthens the relationship. It is bringing God into the relationship; the third cord, bringing each other to Himself, to each other, and giving each other over to God.
Read your bible:
2Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realise what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. NLT.
A Pastor I used to be under always said to me, “if you don’t read your bible then your walk with God will diminish”.
I never used to believe him. How naïve I used to be! Scripture has changed my life in so many ways; it has convicted me, corrected me, it has shown me how good God is. It has equipped me to fight off the devil, encouraged me, and brought peace into situations.
That last one has been significant over the years. There have been many times when I looked at my circumstances, especially when I was in prison and felt no peace until I read my bible and spent time with God.
As I shared previously, my wife and I read together. I find it encouraging reading scripture together. Again, it brings us closer together and to God. It makes us spiritually stronger as a couple. It also helps us to unite as one.
I’m reminded of Hebrews 4:12: For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. NLT.
If you want a change in your life; physical healing, emotional healing, spiritual healing, change in circumstances, I recommend reading your bible. If you have a desire to read, but you are struggling to start, then ask the Holy Spirit to help you or show you why you are struggling. I have had struggles to read my bible. I would ask God, why am I feeling like this? My breakthrough started when I would read a verse at a time. For me, those verses spoke to my heart and God healed me. As I did this. I wanted to know more about scripture. I got a hunger for scripture, so I meditated on scripture, which leads me to the next point.
Many Christians I have come across think meditation is of the devil. God created meditation, and it is how we meditate that is important. I meditate on the word of God, or how good God is. Sometimes I meditate on what He has done for me, which leads to me being thankful to God. When I used to suffer with severe anxiety, I was taught to recognise the anxiety, and then focus on my body, every nerve cell, and feel what my body was doing. What I did was include God into it. I would thank God for creating me in His image, thank Him for creating every nerve, cell and molecule. I will close my eyes and be present with what my body is doing and give thanks to God. It has been amazing how the Holy Spirit moved through me as I did this. Mediation becomes a problem when you try to empty your mind and you exclude God.
One of the most important ways to meditate is on the word of God.
Joshua 1:8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. NIV
I have read this passage many times. I never really understood this passage until I practiced it. Reading scripture and studying it is important to me. It brings me life, draws me closer to God, strengthens my relationship with Him, and gives me the TOOLS to defeat the devil. Ephesians 6 speaks about putting on the full armour of God. Verse 17 talks about taking the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Another words use it like a sword in battle.
You may wonder how can communication bring peace. Communication is like uploading your emotions and feelings to someone. You’re not holding onto them anymore. If they are negative, it can bring destruction into your life. Who said you only have to share your negative feelings and emotions?
When I used to live alone, I would talk to God as if He was in the room. I would tell Him how my day was going, my frustrations, hurts, my breakthroughs, and my joys. I would even ask Him to explain situations I didn’t understand. Sometimes I would hear Him speak, other times was through the word of God, music, a book I was reading or even the tv. For our own wellbeing, it is important to unload to someone. When I was alone, I spoke to God. I found these times helpful. It helped my stresses to dissipate. It gave me a calmness within my heart and mind.
Since being married, I now talk with my wife. I spend time with her sharing how I feel, and how my day has been. I still talk to God, and I now have someone alongside me to share with.
You can also talk with a counsellor or a mature Christian friend or mentor. Counsellors help to bring perspective into situations and give guidance to areas you may not see yourself.
Sometimes people struggle with sharing, they can either lie or tell half-truths. This action is not healthy for yourself, your partner, or your relationship with God. From experience, If I have held back from God, I seem to feel stuck in the same room. It is not until I am honest with myself and God; the door is flung open. It is not open by man but God, there is a difference.
Honesty helps to; unload the burdens you are carrying, it brings the situation into the open so it doesn’t give the devil any leeway, gives you direction, starts the healing and restoration process.
If you haven’t been honest, then it will slowly torment you from within and you won’t be able to have peace until it resolves the situation. It feels like you are carrying a heavyweight within you. It is not until you speak out that freedom will come.
Proverbs 11:3 Honesty guides good people; dishonesty destroys treacherous people. Being honest is an attribute. NLT.
Renewing the mind:
Rom 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will. NIV.
At the moment, the world is in turmoil with COVID-19. Families cannot see each other, there is no physical contact, people are dying, suicide, depression and anxiety has increased.
It is horrible, there are no words to describe what is happening right now. I know in my heart how good God is. Sometimes I have been stressed. Memories of prison has come to light. The thoughts of loneliness flood in and it causes a state of depression and anxiety.
When those times have happened, I have gone straight to scripture and prayer. If I was to allow those feelings to manifest then it can lead to darker thoughts of suicide. That is not of God. God has given all of us tools to use to be an overcomer. Mostly He sent Jesus to the Cross for us to have life. He has given us freedom through Jesus. We are overcomers and the reason I know this is that I have it living inside of me. It grows because I spend time with God; Reading, studying, meditating, prayer, allowing God to be number one in my life.
Life has many struggles, life can be difficult. Sometimes life can suck big time. I can assure you God is on your side. He is in your corner. For Him to be in your corner, you need to allow Him to be. If you allow Him to be, then you need to listen to Him, communicate with Him and use the tools He has given you. I have lived a life of many hardships. What got me through was God and allowing God to do what He needs to do in my life. It is difficult; it takes humility and trust. I can assure you, if you follow the above steps, over time you will see God stand on His promises. All it takes is a leap of faith and God will do the rest. It may not happen straight away, this is where you need to trust God and have faith.