August 19th

 

Peace of God 

1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? James 4:1 NKJV 

If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Your descendants would have been like the sand, your children like its numberless grains; their name would never be cut off nor destroyed from before me.  Isaiah 48:18-19 NIV 

3You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3 NKJV 

6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV 

One of the characteristics of addiction is a lack of enduring peace.  The craving for such peace can be a powerful motive that contributes to our addictive tendencies.  This is especially true when we’re trying to find peace from all the wrong sources.  These false sources only lead us into further bondage to sin in one way or another, because they increase the wars within us caused by our desires for pleasure (James 4:1). 

For example, when we’re hit with a temptation that arouses our passions (ex. porn), our natural tendency may be to find gratification of those heightened passions.  It may be difficult for us to concentrate or rest until we’ve placated the passions.  Once we’ve done so, we may gain a temporary reprieve or false peace, but will likely see the pangs of passion return again in the near future...more intense and more difficult to resist because we gave in the last time around.   

In our quest for true peace, we must realize that true peace only comes from God.  We tap into God’s peace when we start bringing our lives into obedience to his commands for living. God explained this in Isaiah 48:18: “If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river.”  God helps us abide by his commands through the Holy Spirit, who is our live-in guide to freedom.  He actually helps us put to death our sinful desires (Romans 8:11-13). 

As we respond to the Holy Spirit’s leading each day, we must also exercise our power to control our eyes and thoughts.  Many sex addicts become so used to allowing their eyes and thoughts to wander that they forget that they still retain power to control them.  God empowers us to shift our attention to Jesus.  He wants us to set our minds on him.  He wants our thoughts “stayed” on him, and not on fantasies that cater to our fleshly cravings. When we do so, we will receive a wonderful “perfect peace” from God (Isaiah 26:3).   

The most basic place to start focusing on God is in a quiet time of prayer, Bible study and worship each day.  Once we establish a habit of doing that, we can move towards a constant “God-focus” throughout the day.  Prayer is one of the tools that God gives us that will help us prevent getting our focus off of God and onto our earthly struggles.  Every day, each of us is presented with the issues of life that have the potential of stealing our peace and diverting our focus away from God.  We’re not to ignore those issues, but rather, take them to the Master’s throne and petition him to assist us in finding the solutions.   When we do so, we can rest assured in confidence that the answers will come and that God will move on our behalf to assist us (Philippians 4:6-7) 

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Heavenly Father, I desire your peace in my whole being.  I repent from any sinful practices I have committed that have resulted in the erosion of peace from my life.  Please forgive me and cleanse me from my sin.  I ask for your help in developing daily habits that will foster the return of your peace to my heart.  Please guide me and strengthen my convictions to live in obedience to your commands.  I lay down the current things in my life that I am anxious about at the foot of your throne:________ (specify).   Please help me deal with these things and inspire me with your wisdom.  I trust you, O God, and I receive your perfect peace which will guard my heart and mind.  Thank you!  In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.”