Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Led By Peace

In my last blog I talked about the specialty teaching or yoke of Jesus, which is peace for our souls. One part of following Jesus and being His disciple is becoming a person led by peace instead of being controlled solely by our bad feelings and outward circumstances. Today I want to talk about being a person that is led by peace.

In Colossians 3:15 we are told to let the peace of God rule in our hearts. The phrase “to rule” means: to be an umpire, to decide, to determine, to direct, or to control. So we are to let the peace of God rule, umpire, decide, determine, direct, and control our hearts and our lives.

What does an umpire do in a baseball game? He calls the shots. He calls whether a pitch is a ball or a strike. He determines whether someone is out or safe. Peace is supposed to do the same in our lives. The peace of God should be calling the shots in our lives. We don't have to be controlled by other feelings if we don't want to be!

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How often are the decisions we make in life determined by feelings other than peace? Feelings of frustration, worry, anger, stress, fear, peer pressure, work problems, money problems, family or relationship problems, etc. The list goes on and on, but we aren't supposed to be controlled by (and we don’t have to be controlled by) those feelings and situations. In Colossians 3 Paul encourages us to let God’s peace control our actions and our words.

While growing up I had a father who was abusive and after 13 years of marriage my parents got divorced. I was in 5th grade at that time, and as a result of growing up in a dysfunctional home I became a very angry young man. For a time I hated my dad and wanted little to do with him. I definitely wasn't letting the peace of God rule in my heart. I was letting anger, bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness rule in my life.

When I was about 19, Jenny (now my wife) and I first started talking and one time she asked what my middle name was and I told her it was Thomas. She said, “Joel Thomas Juni, I like that.” I responded, “That's the first time I've ever heard someone say my full name and I liked it. I hate my dad and his name is Thomas.” (Maybe not one of the best conversations to have with a brand new promising relationship haha!) But thankfully Jenny was loving and gracious enough to look past my baggage and see the man I could become.

Around the same time as meeting Jenny, I learned a type of prayer where I was able to truly forgive my father and trade those bad feelings for something much better, the peace of God. I learned through experience what 1 Peter 5:7 in the Amplified Bible says, “Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.”

I learned to forgive my dad and trade all of those feelings of worry and stress and cares once and for all for the peace of God. I experienced the peace that surpasses understanding and doesn't make sense to onlookers (Philippians 4:7). I knew and experienced truth for myself and the truth from Jesus set me free from my past (John 8:32).

I now have a great relationship with my dad and love him very much. Jenny and I even named our son Andrew Thomas, after both of his grandpas. I am at peace with my dad even though he has never asked for forgiveness for what he did. The bitterness and anger I held all those years harmed me just as much or more than it harmed him.

I now look up to my dad and can see many great things I can learn from him. I don't see him through my filters of unforgiveness and anger any longer, but instead through a lens of love and the way our Father sees him. I don't write this blog to dishonor him in any way, but instead to point to the goodness of God and the reality of the redemption and making things right again Jesus is able to do in our lives! (Even in, or especially in, unhealthy and difficult situations we may face.)

We can either let peace rule our hearts and our lives or let the cares and burdens of this world rule our lives. We have the choice. And from experience, I can guarantee the peace of God is a much easier, healthier, and more fulfilling way to live!

The man that taught me how to hear from God and deal with my issues in a healthy way is Larry Low. He is a great pastor, friend, and man of God from rural Iowa. I truly believe I owe my life to this man and his teachings. I really don't know where I would be without the truth he shared with me about 10 years ago! He has some great resources on his website including books, dvds, and teachings at www.larrylow.com

Until next time, shake the earth!
- Joel

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