Peace is like a fresh, juicy peach picked right off the tree. Its juice pours into your heart, runs out your mouth, and drips down you chin! Peaches taste wonderful and peace feels wonderful!
“I am leaving you with a gift, peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27. This is the page from Junk or Joy about choosing peaches of peace instead of worry worms.
The definition of peace in the dictionary is freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility. When the world defines peace, they mean being in a place where the circumstances and atmosphere around you are quiet and tranquil. Jesus said the peace He gives isn’t like the peace the world gives. His peace is not in our external circumstances. Offense Get Off My Fence is all about your responses to external circumstances that help your heart stay at peace. Removing offense, among other things, opens the gate to peace ruling in your heart. Internal peace is the opposite of worry, fear and anxiety that is so common in our world today!
The peach tree of peace starts with seeds. These are four seeds that you can nurture and water to help peace grow in your heart and mind. The first seed to nurture is time spent with Jesus. When you want to learn something, hang around with people who already know it. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and spending quiet time with Him will allow Him to teach you and you to learn how to walk in His peace that passes understanding. This is how the peach juice “pours into your heart”.
The second seed to practice is giving Jesus small things that upset you or stress you and watch to see how He handles them. 1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. This is best done by practicing with small things where you can see the answers quickly. For example, I began by giving the Lord my hectic schedule which was often a source of stress. I was amazed how He cancelled some activities completely, rescheduled others, and helped finish tasks in record time–all without being late one time! It seemed like He parted the Red Sea of my day and helped me move through on dry ground. When I start with “small” things and see results quickly, my faith to trust Him with larger things builds just as quickly. The Bible puts it this way, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalms 34:8
The third seed to practice is giving Jesus the people in your life that upset you when you really want to lash out at them. People are harder to handle than things so take this on after you have built your trust that He can handle the second seeds. The Lord has proven Himself faithful to me repeatedly in this area. A short, simple example I can give you is when my husband and I were remodeling our bathroom. He wanted to put the new floor on top of the old and I wanted to take it up, check for rot, and fix the old floor. My old self would have started arguing with him and giving him all the reasons why he should do it my way! We have all been there because we feel so “justified”. After all, it is simply a case of “I am right and you is wrong.” I was very angry, but instead of lashing out at my husband, I left the room and said, “Jesus what are you going to do about this floor. If it needs to come up, I trust you to handle it.” I went to bed, slept well, and the next day when I got home from work not only was the floor ripped up, but all the old, damaged sheet rock was off the walls so that we could rebuild from the frame out. I asked my husband why he changed his mind. He had pulled back a corner of the floor by the toilet and found it was rotten. If we had put a new floor on top, we probably would have fallen through to the basement at some point in the future. Notice how Jesus handles people and it will build your trust even more.
The fourth seed to nourish is asking Jesus to show you the root of your common responses– like anger. What is buried alive, stays alive and at some point, the anger you buried long ago will start oozing out of your pores and attacking innocent people at unsuspecting moments. When you deal with the trash in your heart that is attracting those anger ants, then the ants leave and that space can be occupied by peace. If you anger easily or overreact, it probably has less to do with what you just encountered than with the general condition of your heart. You can ask Jesus to expose the root and pull it up with forgiveness, repentance, and obedience to what Jesus is saying. As these things are taken care of, there is more room for your peace tree to grow. This is when you will notice the peaceful peach juice running out your mouth because Matthew says, “Out of your heart, the mouth speaks.” Your words and behavior are good indicators of what is in your heart and only Jesus can clean it up.
Living in the peace Jesus gives is not something we can conjure up or make happen. It does not mean letting others control or walk all over you because you are in a “peacemaker” mode and don’t want to make any waves. That is simply a lack of proper boundaries and Jesus can also help you with that (see my blog on boundaries). Living in peace comes from knowing who you are and who you were made to be and agreeing with heaven’s plan and purpose for your life. I call it living in the eye of the hurricane, because when you are settled in your heart, all the winds that swirl around you do not distress you. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that God is faithful to take what we are willing to give Him and trust Him with.
Dripping down your chin has to do with spilling over–you get so filled with peace that it begins to overflow and effect your choices. When others see you responding out of peace to your tumultuous circumstances, it attracts their attention. They begin to see the possibilities of living from a peaceful heart. This is what Jesus meant when He said we are to be light in a dark world.
When I learned what the Lord says about controlling others, it changed my world. On a good day, the only person you can control is yourself! Offense Get Off My Fence puts it this way, “Communication is to voice your opinion, not to make the other person agree with you.” When our minds get renewed in this area, then we can begin to be responsible for ourselves and let the Lord handle the other person. That is when our peaceful peach tree can fully blossom and reproduce!
This Christmas season, I want to bless you and your household with the peace that passes all understanding and guards your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:7