Learning to be Led by God's Peace
Craig von Buseck
CBN.com Contributing Writer
For the kingdom of God is
righteousness and peace and joy
in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17)
When you are born again - when you have made Jesus Christ the Lord of your
life and you have entered the kingdom of God - then the fruit of that relationship
will be righteousness (which comes as a result of salvation), peace, and joy.
You can expect peace and joy to become a part of your daily life when you
are a Christian - but just like all the other benefits of the kingdom of God,
these attributes come at a price.
During the darkest days of the Revolutionary War, as George Washington tried
to regroup during the winter of 1776, the great English writer, Thomas Paine,
wrote a stirring essay on a drumhead that encapsulated the monumental struggle
of that conflict. It was called "The American Crisis," and it so
moved George Washington that he ordered his officers to read it to every soldier
in the Continental Army, hoping that it would inspire them not to give up
These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and
the sunshine patriot will in this crisis shrink from the service of their
country. But they that stand it now, deserve the love and thanks of men
and women. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered. But the harder the
conflict, the more glorious the triumph. Heaven knows how to put a proper
price on its goods. It would be strange indeed if so celestial an article
as freedom should not be highly rated.
It is the same with the other "celestial articles," like peace
and joy, and the other fruits and gifts of the Spirit. Things of great value,
both natural and spiritual, come at a great price.
In response to an article I wrote on God's guidance for CBN.com, I received
this e-mail question:
Years of making choices from voices that I thought were from God
ended up causing me misery, grief, and heartache. Through years of experience,
I realized that the voice I heard ended up just being from my own mind.
Why does God make it so difficult for us to find Him or understand Him or
to know we are hearing His voice?
Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not easy. God's salvation may be free,
but discipleship is costly. The gifts of the Spirit may also be freely given,
but they are not cheap. In some ways, it is easier to be in the world. Our
preparation for God's eternal purpose is as rigorous spiritually, as an Olympic
athlete's training is, naturally - even more so, because the outcome of our
training has eternal ramifications. Learning to hear God's voice is a lifelong
process. God's preparation in our lives is part of His eternal design - and
only He knows what that purpose will be.
There is a scene in the movie A League of Their Own in which Gina
Davis' character wants to quit the women's baseball team to be with her husband
who has returned wounded from World War II. Tom Hanks, who plays the manager
of the team, travels to her house to try to talk this star player into coming
back for the remainder of the season. She begins to cry at the thought of
returning to the road with the baseball team, and she protests that "
is just so hard." Tom Hanks' character gets right in her face and spouts
back at her, "Of course it's hard. That's what makes it great."
Our walk with the Lord is hard. There are some, like the writer of this
e-mail, who find that it is so difficult that they want to give up and go
back to the pleasures of the sinful life. But Jesus said, No one, having put
his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke
9:62). We can't look back. We must press on in this walk with Christ - we
must learn to hear His voice and obey His commands. Only then will we experience
His joy and peace - and only then will we be the effective ministers of reconciliation
that He wants us to be, and that the world needs us to be.
Being Led Forth in Peace
Without great trials, we would have no great victories. The Lord reveals
Himself in the difficulties of life as our Deliverer, our Sufficiency, and
our Lord. The psalmist tells us, Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the LORD delivers [us] out of them all (Psalm 34:19).
If you are really serious about walking with God, He will teach you, and
guide you, and comfort you, and yes, you will know His peace in your life.
In fact, as you mature in your walk with the Lord, peace and joy will be multiplied
to you. It is an interesting paradox that our heavenly Father orchestrates
in our lives. On the one hand, our trials increase as we grow stronger in
the Lord. On the other hand, the fruit of the Spirit - including peace and
joy - develop to the point that we are given grace to weather the trials,
and the rest of our lives are filled with harmonious fellowship with God.
We should expect to experience God's peace in our lives. If you are not
walking in peace, it may be as a result of several different scenarios. It
may be that you are in the midst of a particular test or trial sent from God.
Or you may be under attack from the devil. Or you may have an area of your
life that you have not yet surrendered completely to God. The Lord intends
for you to have peace. If you are not experiencing God's peace on an ongoing
basis, you may need to ask the Holy Spirit to show you:
- if you are experiencing a test that should be submitted to;
- if you are under an attack that you should resist; or
- if there is an area of continual sin, unforgiveness, anger, or some
other hindrance that should be renounced and repented of.
Most pastors will teach that when you are seeking to find God's will, you
can identify the leading of the Holy Spirit when you sense God's peace about
a matter. I agree, and I believe that is absolutely true. The peace of God
is one of the key indicators of God's guidance. Colossians 3:15 tells us to
let the peace of God rule in [our] hearts. Peace is the umpire of our heart,
telling us if we are "safe" in God's will, or "out," following
our own path or the deception of the devil.
The prophet Isaiah wrote, For you shall go out with joy, and be led out
with peace (Isaiah 55:12). God's best for our lives is that we will be led
forth in peace and joy. Have you ever heard someone say, "I'm not going
to allow these circumstances to rob my joy?" In making this declaration
they are being absolutely biblical - peace and joy are our possessions when
we are born again. The only way that you will walk in unrest as a mature believer
is if you allow circumstances or the devil to rob you of your joy.
Larry Tomczak says, "You are the only being in the universe that can
cause defeat in your life."
You may say, "The devil robbed my joy." The truth of the statement
is that the devil attempted to rob you of your joy - but he only succeeded
if you allowed him to. The life of the Christian is one of peace and joy.
- That is why Paul and Silas could sing praises to God in the Philippian
jail (Acts 16:25).
- That is why the apostles praised the Lord after being beaten by the
teachers of the law, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer
shame in Christ's name (Acts 5:40-41).
- That is why Stephen could praise the God of heaven as he was being
stoned for his bold witness (Acts 7:55-60).
- That is why the apostle Peter wrote, But rejoice to the extent that
you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you
may also be glad with exceeding joy (1 Peter 4:13).
- That is why the apostle Paul, at the eve of his martyrdom, could write,
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the
faith (2 Timothy 4:7).
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You,
because he trusts in You (Isaiah 26:3).
You'll notice that the promise of peace carries with it a condition - to
trust in God. Once again we come back to the necessity of living a lifestyle
of faith. Paul wrote to the Romans, For to be carnally minded is death, but
to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Romans 8:6). A carnally minded
person is one who is self-interested, self-indulgent, and self-sufficient.
There is no peace in the selfish life. The spiritually-minded person puts
God in the center of their life. They are interested in doing the will of
Christ. They are motivated by the Lord to minister to others. They recognize
that they are nothing outside of Christ - He is their sufficiency. It is from
this attitude of surrender to the lordship and headship of Jesus Christ that
peace comes into our lives.
There are times, when we are seeking the will of God and we reach the point
of decision that we experience supernatural peace. This is an important aspect
of discerning between good an evil, and it comes by reason of use (Hebrews
5:14). The peace of God is like a compass for our souls, leading us in the
direction that the Holy Spirit intends for our lives. We can take great comfort
in knowing that the sovereign God is so involved in our lives that He would
supply us with this internal compass as we seek to do His will.
At the same time, the mature Christian will recognize that there is another
way that God uses the fruit of peace to direct our steps. As we surrender
to the lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives, He brings us to a place where
we experience His blessed peace on an ongoing basis. Instead of anxiety, anger,
or depression, the peace of God becomes the normal state of mind for the Christian.
I have a friend named Daryl, and when I meet him in the hall at work, I ask
him how he's doing. In a declaration of our biblical position in Christ, he
always quotes the famous hymn, "It is well with my soul."
If I am in Christ, it truly is well with my soul. I am at peace with God,
and I should be walking in peace in this world. That's not to say that each
one of us won't have our share of problems - and sometimes we will have even
more difficulties because of the spiritual warfare that swirls about us -
but because we are God's children, and His Spirit comforts us and guides us,
we can be at peace in spite of the circumstances.
So as maturing believers, when we are seeking after God's plan for our life,
we must also be sensitive to a lack of peace in a particular direction. This
absence of God's peace in the form of anxiety, stress, anger, or confusion,
is also a strong indicator warning us that we are stepping out of the will
of God. Just as the Lord will grant special peace to the believer when he
or she discovers His plan, He will also remove His peace when a Christian
strays away from His course for their lives.
Now I need to clarify that you don't leave your problems behind when you
come to Christ. It might take years of working through the issues of your
life until you come to the point where you are experiencing the peace of God
on an ongoing basis - but it is God's desire for you. Even when you reach
the maturity level where you are walking in God's peace, you will continually
experience the testing of your faith.
I remember a song on Michael W. Smith's first album that illustrated our
experience in Christ remarkably well. "On the day you were saved heaven
and hell marked it down. Angels praised; devils raged; life became a battleground.
So when hell starts to move and the enemy marches on you, stand strong, it's
a fight. You've been marked by the army of night. You're a target."
But the song doesn't end with the battle. It continues, "When things
get bad and you can't stand to look, it's time to read to the end of the book.
Don't put it down 'till you get to the end, when Jesus comes and His kingdom
for the kingdom of God is
righteousness and peace and
joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17). The peace comes in knowing that
the kingdom of God is here and now, and yet to come.
I go into much greater detail in how to be led by the Spirit of God through
the peace of God in my book, Seven Keys to Hearing God's Voice.
Order your copy from Shop
Used with permission. © Hensley Publishing.
me an e-mail with your comments.
and God's Guidance
Keys To Hearing God's Voice
Keys to Hearing God: Tuning In To His Frequency
God: An Amazing Story
Prophecy and God's Guidance
Personal Prophecy Through the Seven Keys
Harness of the Holy Spirit
Other articles and interviews by
Craig von Buseck
von Buseck is Director of Ministries for CBN.com.
I want to hear from you. Share your testimony of how you have grown to know
the voice of God. Are you having trouble discerning God's voice from the other
things you hear? Send
me an e-mail with your comments.
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