Keeping Peace in the midst of ... well, life
Ever since I met the Lord, there has been a growing desire to maintain a state of peace in my heart at all times, and when I no longer have it, I can instantly feel that something has shifted - either in the spiritual realm, so I can pray, but mainly in my perspective and intimacy with Christ.
One of my favourite stories in the Bible is in Daniel 3:16-28, you can go and read the entire story for yourself, but I am just going to share with you a couple of things that was highlighted to me in some verses:
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego didn't apologize for their commitment towards the Lord - even if others didn't approve. They were still good "employees," but didn't compromise their values and served Jesus as Lord.
Ps. Phillip Pretorius made an excellent point when he said that if we don't serve Jesus as Lord, we enter into an abusive relationship with God where we try to use Him to get what we want.
We can only walk in God's peace when we surrender our entire lives to Him and worship Him as both Lord and Saviour.
17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
They remembered that God is able, and they confessed it even before they saw the miracle happen. I see it as a declaration of faith in God's ability.
Faith is trust in a person, it is relational, not abstract.
Their intimacy with God gave them the confidence to say this.
Faith comes before the miracle manifests, otherwise, it isn't faith - just an observation.
18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Worship is being in awe of something or someone and extending honor consequently.
What you worship consumes your mind.
Many times, we worship our problem, an intimidating individual, and even the work of satan. We need to fill our minds with worship of the One and value His superseding reality above ours so we can see His Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven (Matt 6:10).
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated.
Even if the situation we find ourselves in is worse than everyone else's is - we can encourage ourselves that they found themselves in an "unusually difficult" situation - and didn't have a worse outcome.
20 And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
Their hands were tied, they couldn't do anything except believe. Sometimes, we panic because we cannot do anything about the situation - that is when the testimony of God's work is the greatest.
25 He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
They weren't just sitting in a heap hoping things would get better, they were walking around in the midst of the fire. God can position us in such a way that we can walk and move around freely in the midst of the problem, confident in His ability to keep us. Our hearts can be free, and He might even give us wisdom in terms of what to do about the situation where we previously felt our hands were tied.
Ask the Lord what your responsibility is - we tend to take other people's responsibilities upon ourselves or carry burdens that aren't ours to carry. On the other end, we enter into depression and withdraw into passivity, but when we receive direction from the Lord, we can walk around freely in the midst of the fire.
26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire.
Trouble is not evidence of God's inability. On the contrary, it is an opportunity to show God's ability.
27 And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king's counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them.
We cán get through a difficult situation and emerge unharmed at the other end. God doesn't do incomplete work, He is perfection and He is well able to fully keep us - regardless of what is happening around us - our surrender is key.
Rain falls upon the righteous and the unrighteous (Matt 5:45). We all encounter trouble, not if, but when a storm comes, what determines who remains standing is the foundation each of us have respectively built on - sand, or rock (Matt 7:24-27).
HERE IS THE THING:
IT WAS NEVER ABOUT THE FIRE, BUT ABOUT WHO WAS IN THE FIRE WITH THEM.
Let us never forget: external circumstances are nót the determining factor, it does not have the last say unless we give it the authority; there is a fourth man in the fire and His name is Jesus - the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
"I've found peace far beyond all understanding
Let it flow when my mind's under siege
All anxiety bows in the presence
Of Jesus the Keeper of Peace
And peace is a promise He keeps"
- Lyrics, PEACE, Amanda Cook