After writing about wanting to be free from fear, the phrase from Colossians 3:15 kept popping up in my mind. “Let peace rule in your hearts…” That particular Scripture is in a section describing how we should relate to the body of Christ. If peace is ruling in our hearts, then we will act in ways that promote peace throughout the body.
I don’t believe in using Scripture to say what you want to say. I believe that we need to find out what God is saying through the context — historical, cultural, and literal. And I’m not going to do that. I am going to say that it made me think, a heart filled with fear, can’t be ruled by peace. Since the Colossians verse isn’t speaking to that, I had to go looking for what the Bible says about peace in the heart of individual believers.
The first person I wanted to hear from was Jesus. John records Jesus saying, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”” (14:27)
How about that! Not only does He say that He will give us peace. He tells us not to let our hearts be fearful. This gives me great hope that my Lord, who laid down His life for me, not only desires me to have peace, but promises to give it!
Paul, on the other hand, brings conviction. In his letter to the Romans he exhorts, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace…” (8:6)
He is talking about unbelievers versus believers here, but to read that made me realize that when I am walking in fear, I am acting like an unbeliever! When I am fearful, it is because my mind is centered on me. My mind isn’t set on the Spirit.
Here’s an example. It always makes me nervous to walk alone at night. If I have to go to the store at night, I try to park under a light. I make sure that I have my keys ready before I get out of the store. And I load my things as quickly as possible into the car so that I can get myself locked in. In this world, some of these actions are fear causing me to make wise choices — like parking in a well-lit area. But in those moments, my thoughts are completely on protecting myself. I am not looking out for anyone else (Philippians 2:3-4). I am not thinking eternally. I am in the moment completely focused on me.
About two weeks ago, I had a completely different experience. I was in our church’s sanctuary working on the choreography for an Easter dance. When the choir finished practicing, the worship pastor offered to lock up in a way that would allow me to continue working. I wasn’t alone at the time. I went to work and became totally engrossed in praying, praising, and seeking movements that would draw people to Him. When I realized that I needed to go, I walked out and found that I was now alone. Normally I would have been frightened of being at the church alone at night. I would have dug out my keys, made sure I was ready to jump in the car without much ado, and raced to get in as quickly as possible! Instead, I sauntered out still singing the song that I had been working on. My mind was set on Him. And I walked, that moment at least, in peace and joy. No fear. No worry.
So today, when I find myself thinking fearful thoughts, I am going to remember to seek the things above. To seek Christ, who gives us peace.
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
And then, perhaps my heart will abound with joy and hope!
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.