Choose Peace

Even as the negative news cycle rolls on, we don’t have to give into despair.

You can never fully exhaust your ability to think about the goodness and greatness of God. You can never reach the end of your praise to Him.

You can never fully exhaust your ability to think about the goodness and greatness of God.

Choose to respond to life the way Jesus responded.
Guard your prayer life.
Guard your thought life.
Seek God and all that is godly.

God’s Word promises that when you fill your mind with what is virtuous and praiseworthy, “the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:9).

—Charles F. Stanley, Finding Peace

 

I was watching the nightly news, listening to the commentator speak in measured tones about symptoms, spread, and quarantines. Officials had said that even many hospitals were unprepared for how bad things would get and likely to run out of beds and medical equipment. It seemed the epidemic, which felt far away only minutes before, had become a pandemic and was suddenly right there in my living room. And while this coronavirus was considered novel, there was one thing that wasn’t at all new.

 

My emotional response has defaulted to fear.

People react differently when facing overwhelming events, and I know God has grace for reactions like mine. But I wish years of walking with the Lord had so developed my faith that terror would never take hold of my heart or dominate my thinking. No matter the enormity of the event, greater is He that is in me, than is in the world, right? Yet it’s hard for that truth to register when I spend more time looking at what’s happening in the world than at Him.

This is why Dr. Stanley’s words in Finding Peace had such a profound effect on me one afternoon. They revealed just how far afield my thoughts were from praying, praising, and thanking God. I had been neglecting these essential activities in my life of faith. I needed to exchange my worries and sleepless nights for the joy found in His presence and His peace that passes all understanding.

Dr. Stanley’s perspective was a very practical reminder to me of the things under God’s care: His eternal plans and purposes, His goodness and greatness, His unfailing provision. Not to mention the entire world and all that is in it. What blessed relief it was to turn off the TV and instead to think on those things—and to search them out as they were revealed in the pages of my dusty Bible.

I needed to exchange my worries and sleepless nights for the joy found in God’s presence and His peace that passes all understanding.

Though the world had felt out of control, Dr. Stanley also reminded me of some things that are mine to manage. I will choose the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart to be positive ones that uplift and edify (Psalm 19:14; Eph. 4:29). And while I can’t control every thought that pops into my head, I can resist those that reinforce fear and pick better ones to dwell upon (Phil. 4:8).

A short glance at the nightly news will lead you to believe the world is a total dumpster fire. I don’t want to discount the seriousness of global events, or the believer’s responsibilities as salt and light. But I can make better choices in what I think on, guarding my heart and turning my attention from the earthly to the eternal. And even in a pandemic, I can feel joy and find His peace.

 

Illustration by Adam Cruft

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9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.

29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

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