This summer, our pastor has been doing a series of sermons entitled: “What Do You Know?”
It has really had a powerful impact on me, so I decided to do a little series of my own on the blog by the same title. Each day will focus on one important aspect of something Jesus has been teaching me in recent weeks.
Pastor Steve began the series with the premise that as Christians, we all have a ton of head knowledge…but an important question must be answered: Has that head knowledge permeated our hearts so that it in turn affects our actions, how we live our day-to-day lives?
What do you know and what do you do with what you know?
This Christian life we live really IS meant to work! It is not just a nice theory or pious-sounding platitudes. True Christianity is a dynamic relationship with the living Christ. The same Jesus who walked the dusty roads of first century Israel is the same Jesus who walks with us today through the gift of the Holy Spirit (the very spirit of Jesus).
I like the way J.I. Packer puts it in his classic book, Knowing God: “…when the New Testament tells us that Jesus Christ is risen, one of the things it means is that the victim of Calvary is now, so to speak, loose and at large, so that any man anywhere can enjoy the same kind of relationship with Him as the disciples had in the days of His flesh. The only difference is that…His presence with the Christian is spiritual, not bodily and so invisible to our physical eyes…knowing Jesus still remains as definite a relation of personal discipleship as it was for the twelve when He was on earth. The Jesus who walks through the gospel story walks with Christians now and knowing Him involves going with Him, now as then.” –pp.33-34
Even a cursory read through the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) will show that the lives of the twelve ordinary men who Jesus called to be His disciples had their lives turned utterly upside down. They went from living their day-to-day lives to seeing the dead raised to life, ferocious storms calmed by Jesus speaking a simple command, all manner of illnesses healed, miraculous provision, etc.
Most importantly, being with Jesus utterly transformed them, in the midst of incredibly tumultuous, fearful times.
They truly experienced life as it was meant to be lived: in the Presence of their Creator and Savior, enveloped in a tsunami of joy.
He will do the same for us.
We live in very scary times: economic crises, natural disasters, horrific crime, social unrest..not to mention the trials, heartaches and stresses of our individual lives…the list could go on and on.
What does the Bible say about how to handle times such as these?
Very simply, Jesus speaks peace to us.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord your God is the eternal Rock. —Isaiah 26:3-4, NLT
A look into the original language of this verse is very helpful.
The word for “keep” means: “to guard from danger, to watch over, to preserve, to observe, to guard with fidelity, to be kept close.”
The word for “perfect peace” means: ‘completeness, safety, tranquility, contentment, friendship with God.”
The word for “fixed” means: “to lean upon, to rest, to sustain, refresh, revive, support.”
Lastly, the word for “trust” means: “to have confidence, to be bold, to be secure, to feel safe.”
In light of these rich definitions, imagine coming to Jesus with all your cares and concerns, just pouring it all out. Then imagine Him taking your hands, looking you right in the eyes, and saying the following:
“(Insert your name here), “I’m glad you came to Me and shared all that is on your heart. I want you to know that I am guarding you from danger. I am watching over you, preserving your precious life. I am and always will be faithful to you. You are safe in My embrace. When you stay focused on Me (and not your circumstances), I will give you contentment and tranquility in the midst. I want you to lean on me and find rest. I will sustain you. I will refresh and revive your spirit. I am the One who upholds you, especially when you feel weakest. My will for you is that you have utmost confidence in Me and My ability to care for you. You can be bold because I walk with you. I am your Friend. Go through this day secure in the knowledge that you are loved with a perfect love. Know this: I am your Rock. No matter what else is shaking in your life, I am in full control, steady and unmovable. You are in a safe place.”
My head has known all that for a long time.
Now my heart knows it too.
And it is glorious.
Really, what is the alternative? Jesus desires to give us His unshakable peace…such a gracious and magnificent gift! Yet we would refuse what He freely offers so that we can hold on to our worry, allowing it to eat us alive?
I am done with that. I am choosing to accept His gift of peace.
I pray that you, too, will truly know His perfect peace today. It is yours for the taking if you are a Christ follower. All you have to do is ask Him for it.
“Peace I leave with you; My own peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated, cowardly, and unsettled).”–John 14:27 (Amplified version)