Peace is often talked about at Christmas time, but I don't just want to talk about it...I want to experience it!! How about you? I know Jesus is the "Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6) and He left us with His peace (John 14:27), but I don't just want to know these truths, I want to receive the gift!!
About a month ago, I was longing for the peace that passes all understanding and found myself calling out to God. He led me on a journey and I pray the summary of it blesses you as well!
I think I read nearly every verse that contains the word peace and eventually God narrowed my focus to the ones about experiencing this peace. I know God provides peace, but I finally asked Him, "What do I need to do to receive it?" and three words came to the surface. They quickly became known as "The Peace PTO"!
A quick word for my non-farming friends...PTOs are an important thing on the farm. I don't know all the details, but it's the Power Take-Off of a tractor. This is where a piece of equipment is attached to a tractor so that it can work. For instance, my husband's feeder wagon - the PTO gives it the power to mix the grain, open the gate and unload the feed. The PTO is what connects the two and makes it work.
The Peace PTO does the same! I know Christ, but this PTO keeps us connected, allows His power to work in me and helps me experience peace.
P - Pray - I understand prayer keeps me connected with God, but I'm learning it has more to do with peace than I first thought. Friends, we may be anxious when we go to God in prayer, but as the conversation continues His peace replaces our anxiety.
Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the PEACE of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
I'm guessing you know confession is a part of prayer, but do you realize it's a part that leads to peace? In Luke 2:14, a familiar Christmas verse, we read, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth PEACE among those with whom he is pleased!” We often hear, "Peace on Earth", but who does this verse say will experience the peace? The ones with who God is pleased!! Oh friend, He is not pleased with the sin we live out nor the sin that lives in our hearts. If we want to experience His peace, we must confess our sins and turn from them!! The BIG ones and the little ones.
Matthew 21:22 is pretty self-explanatory - "And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith." Friends, prayer is a big part of experiencing peace, but it's not the only piece of the puzzle, so let's continue.
T - Trust - Over the years, God has shown Himself faithful time and time again, but daily I must choose to trust Him. Personally this can be hard when trials hit, things unfold in a way I don't understand and plans change, but God is God and He is good. Choosing to TRUST Him brings peace!
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and PEACE as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13
"You will keep in perfect PEACE those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." Isaiah 26:3
O - Obey - The final piece of the "Peace PTO" is obedience. A concept that is vital for a follower of Christ and critical if we want to experience peace. It's often said that "blessings follow obedience" and one of the blessings is peace.
But let us remember that obedience is not just following God out of our comfort zones it's also obeying His commands in Scripture. Instead of reading my words about this, let's take a look at The Word -
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.And the God of PEACE will be with you." Philippians 4:8-9
"Turn from evil and do good; seek PEACE and pursue it." Psalms 34:14
"Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in PEACE. And the God of love and PEACE will be with you." 2 Corinthians 13:11
"Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of PEACE." Ephesians 4:3
Just this morning I was out helping my husband do chores and was reminded of two things...the feeder wagon won't work unless - 1) it's hooked up to the tractor, 2) the tractor is running and 3) the PTO is engaged. Friend, there's also three parts for the "Peace PTO" - if we want the Prince of Peace to reign in our life we must 1) Pray, 2) Trust and 3) Obey!
Just like the PTO shaft on my husband's tractor turns constantly we must do the same with our "Peace PTO" - all three parts need to work continuously and simultaneously. Friend, I encourage you to meditate on these verses about peace, use them to guide your prayers and then engage the "Peace PTO"! This Christmas let's not just talk about peace, but live in it!!