If there’s something that is really missing from many people’s lives, it’s the subject of peace. I want to take a few moments as you enter into the Christmas season, but also entering into the new year, or maybe you’re accessing this as an archived episode many months or years from now and you’re tuning in to this and you’re taking it in. I believe the subject of personal peace and being able to carry the peace of God, a true peace in your heart and life, is so critical to your life and journey.
In fact, many people get taken out by the storms of their life. They get taken out by circumstances, and I really love helping people to get infused in the power that the love of God has and also his peace, where you can be fully engaged in life. You see, you don’t have to be checked out. You don’t have to be somebody who numbs out. You can be fully engaged in what’s going on in your life, but at the same time carry a peace. In fact, the peace of God carries a greater power than any resistance, storm, or opposition that may want to come your way, but there is a struggle. There is a real battle in people really being able to engage the power of the peace of God.
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The Struggle to Maintain Our Peace
When I do one-on-one sessions with people or I sit and do seminars or I’m teaching, one of the themes that comes back is the inability that people have to carry peace in their heart, in their life. Life doesn’t have to steal your peace. The enemy doesn’t have to steal your peace. We can be at the greatest level of peace sometimes in the most challenging of circumstances.
In this episode, I want to encourage you how to do that. I want to talk to you about holding your peace, but also the art of keeping it, of being able to walk with it no matter what is going on in your life. I first want to say that peace is an atmosphere within where we are able to be at rest with God, with ourselves, and even with the circumstances of life. It’s a thermostat that God has given us to carry within. We are not just thermometers to read the temperatures. God has called us to be thermostats where we are able to carry a decision of being able to walk in a powerful setting in our life. Peace sets the atmosphere in our hearts. It sets the mood for the day. It sets the setting for how we face circumstances. It is the posture in how we deal with circumstances.
One of the things I’ve observed in 20-plus years of ministering and helping people and walking them through various struggles is it seems like both believers and non-believers struggle with the same kind of peace issues. This is a real conflict because we are called to carry the peace of God that passes all understanding, that should be something as a gift that we offer to the world as a solution to many of the issues and struggles they’re facing, but we’re getting sucked into the same kind of anxiety, conflict, anger, bitterness, strife, tension, worry, carrying loads and burdens that we must understand we are not called to carry those to the degree that we’re carrying them.
Peace is Not Living in Denial
For too many, living in the peace of God they think just means checking out, so what they do is they live in denial. They avoid problems, they avoid circumstances because so much of our life is spent avoiding pain and just running to comfort. We just want to get out of discomfort as quickly as possible. That’s not the peace of God. The peace of God is able to face circumstances, face the issues in the areas of our life that we’re going through head-on while carrying a power and authority within us that is not taken out by circumstances or those situations.
People who live in the powerful, dynamic peace of God are not avoiders. You see those people that are like, “I carry peace and I’m walking in peace,” and it’s just baloney, because they’re actually living in denial. You can tell if someone really carries authoritative peace if you’re able to talk about any subject with them and they’re able to fully engage, be able to have empathy, connection, even weep, even have heartache, but still maintain a realm of peace.
Being Fully Engaged While at Peace
Jesus was able to go to a funeral of a dearly-loved friend and weep in front of the tomb and then moments later saying, “Lazarus, come forth,” and resurrecting him. That’s the power of peace that’s available. Jesus was able to sleep in a storm in a boat while the waves were crashing, the storm was billowing, and the disciples were freaking out. You see, sometimes when you’re holding your own peace, all it takes is someone else to rock you out of your peace because they spew their toxicity or their fear or their junk on you. They put their worry, their concern, their control issues, their negativity, all their stuff, they dump it on you to try to disengage you from the peace that God is calling you to enter into.
Jesus was asleep, meaning that water is getting into the boat, water is rising, maybe it’s even touching parts of his body as he’s laying there sleeping. The boat’s being filled with water, but yet, he’s able to stand up and in the peace of God, take the peace that he carries, stand against the storm, and actually change the atmosphere of weather coming out of the peace of God.
The Need for Greater Peace
I believe in the days that we’re living in, it is going to be more and more critical that people of God really carry their peace, have a peace that is strengthened each day, that the more difficult circumstances get, the more your peace is actually held stronger. I want to just exhort you and just share with you as you’re gathering the families or you’re entering into the new year or you’re just listening to this episode because you want some help in this subject.
The Importance of Personal Peace
I believe it’s very important to carry our peace for a number of reasons. One, peace is our birthright. God’s given it to us. In fact, in Exodus 14, the Bible says that “The Lord will fight for you and you shall hold your peace.” There is a dimension of me keeping my peace and allowing God to have a divine work in my heart and in my circumstances and situations. It’s the rest of God, living in his rest so that I’m not taken out by circumstances.
The Fruit of the Spirit
Peace is also a fruit of the spirit. It is something that walking with the spirit, listening to the ways of the spirit, being led by the spirit, there is peace that follows it. It doesn’t mean that the steps that you take are going to just magically have peace. Sometimes believers make the mistake of … They say, “Well, I just got to follow the peace.” I don’t know that that’s always accurate, because many times God leads us into very uncomfortable territories. In fact, I find God is stretching me every single day. He’s never allowing me to go to just the place of cozy, lazy, comfortable passivity. He’s calling me to go into a deeper place of strengthening my faith and being able to understand the power of what I can carry over circumstances.
God’s Priority: Not Your Comfort
You have to understand this. God’s number-one priority is not your comfort. It’s not your being able to be cozy in life, sitting on your biscuit, never having to risk it. That is not God’s number-one concern. His number-one concern is your transformation and your strengthening ability to grow in the capacity to carry peace. Peace allows us … This is really the thing I would want you to take away today. It allows us to tune in to the voice of God. Many people struggle to hear the voice of God or to walk in that power and be able to connect to the peace of God and be able to hear his voice. It’s because they lack the peace that makes way for us to hear, because God’s voice is not in panic. God’s voice is not in insecurity.
Hearing God’s Voice
God’s voice is in a place of confident stillness, confident security in being able to instill in you exactly what you need. You see, in every trial and every circumstance, God has exactly what you need so that you can walk in divine power and hear the solutions. You see, if you’re in panic, you’re not going to hear the solutions. If you’re in constant worry and control issues and you’re carrying everyone’s burdens or you’re falling into guilt, you’re going to go into what those pathways carry. If you have guilt as a major force in your life, then when circumstances come, you’re going to carry guilt and you’re going to talk to your family or talk to people from a place of guilt rather than true hearing from God.
The Fear Response
If you always give in to the fear mechanism, then you’re always going to respond in panic and try to go with a fear response, which is what? Worry, worry, worry. The more I worry maybe I’ll figure this out. Or maybe your fear response trains you to go into control. I’m going to control people, I’m going to control circumstances, I’m going to control conversations. It doesn’t allow for the true peace of God to settle in.
Then meanwhile, you’re exhausted after family gatherings, you’re exhausted after the holidays, you’re exhausted going into the new year. You’re just trying to get by. Why? Because there are strongholds and ways of thinking that dictate your state of mind and not the peace of God. The peace is going to help you to tune in to what God is saying, to tune in to his voice, be able to hear what he’s wanting to do in a given circumstance.
God is Never Panicking
I believe the more that people crumble, the more that people feel a sense of panic in our society, the more you are going to need to be tuned in to the peace of God, because he’s never freaking out. He’s never panicking, and he’s never worried, so if we are, it just means we need to tune in to what he is saying, and peace offers the atmosphere of that, but we got to know how to hold it. I find when it comes to peace, there’s two dynamics to this.
There’s the dynamic of resting in God and releasing our cares to him. Exodus 14 that I mentioned said, “The Lord is going to fight for you.” We need a revelation that God is fighting for us, that he is working on our behalf. It says, “So hold your peace.” One way that I hold my peace is by releasing the circumstances, releasing my grip of control that I want to have around people, around situations, around circumstances.
Practice the Power of Releasing
The best advice I can give for you, million-dollar coaching advice I can give for you as you gather with family, is you need to release people, release your expectation of them, release what you need from them. See, many of you get taken out by the enemy because you have an expectation that people need to be something for you, that they need to be some kind of source, they need to be some kind of life breathe to you. Really, at the end of the day, you need to find that in God so that when you go to circumstances, you’re releasing who you are, and if it’s not received, you don’t go into a hissy fit and spiral for the next three weeks.
Shake the Dust Off
Jesus said this. He sent the 70 out, and he said, “Go out to places, and what I want you to do is when you arrive there, take your peace and let it rest in the place.” It’s really showing the powerful spirituality that we carry inside of us. Intentionally in your mind, let the peace rest there. If it’s not received, if what you carry is not received … See, this is where people get messed up, because if their peace isn’t received, they try to talk more, they try to convince, or love me, love me, or then they leave and go, “Nobody loves me,” and they spiral, “I’m so alone and I don’t know what to do,” because we got a hook that stole our peace. Jesus said, “If it’s not received, walk out of there and shake the dust off your feet and keep your peace with you.”
What’s the shaking the dust off? He’s saying shaking the dust off is shaking off the contaminations that come against you in relational interactions. I encourage you, when you interact with people, friends and family, the enemy loves to use them, as great as they may be, can use them to hook you into stealing your peace and from not laying and resting and standing and walking in the rest and the peace that God has for you.
We have to be mindful of this, that we have to … Peace isn’t something that just lands on you. You have to take it, keep it, cultivate it, guard it. Did you hear that? You have to take it, hold it, keep it, guard it. Take it, hold it, keep it, guard it. That’s your responsibility. One of the reasons that we don’t carry supernatural peace is we wake up in the morning and we let our circumstances speak to us. We let the enemy speak to us. We let fear, condemnation, we let accusations speak to us. We let mulling thoughts of worry about certain family situations or friendships or people in church or someone at business, we let those circumstances dictate to us our emotional state. The rise of the overcomers in this day and age is going to be predicated on people that know how to cultivate their own personal state that says, “I’m going to decide this is where I’m going to position myself.”
My Own Personal Example
Last night, in the middle of the night my wife came in, frantic. She had to grab some things quickly. My daughter has a viral bug going through her system and she’s having trouble breathing. The situation, this is real deal, this is last night situation. It calls for panic, and I’m half in a daze. I don’t know how you guys are, but when I get to sleep, it’s like I’m a brick. It’s like out and I’m not … Until I wake up, there isn’t a whole lot of functioning, so I’m in a fog and the first thing that wants to come in is panic, but I’ve made a decision in my life on a daily basis that I’m going to stand for, cultivate, hold, and guard my peace no matter what, so I engaged the peace of God. I intentionally inside took my peace. I said, “No, no, this is what … I’m not letting this steal my peace.” The enemy shows his colors so easily in how he wants to systematically use certain events and triggers to just derail us. I’m like, “No, ain’t happening.”
I stand over my daughter and I’m just listening. I’m listening and I hear the peace of God, “She’s going to be okay.” I prayed with her, and then we just started laughing together and we started just engaging one another. I could feel her starting to feel better. My son’s got a bug, too, and they’re both still recovering. I needed peace. Otherwise, I would go into la-la-loopsy land and panic and make all my decisions based on panic. There has to be something inside of us that learns.
Change Our Posture
What I would invite you into is in the troubling circumstances that you have, we often pray, “God, change those circumstances or just take this torment away from me.” We need to shift our prayer instead and let the troubling circumstances be an invitation to grow into a higher level of peace than what we previously carried. Did you catch that? Let your difficult circumstances be an invitation to carry a level of peace you didn’t previously carry. It’s there, it’s in you. It just needs to be cultivated. Difficult circumstances will cause us, if we have the right mindset, to focus in on carrying a greater level of peace in our life.
I Have to Take the Peace of God
John 14:27 tells us Jesus said, “My peace I leave with you. My peace I give you.” If he gives it to us, that means daily I have to take it. I have to intentionally set my focus on taking my peace, holding it and letting it be a guard over my life. The Bible says, “The peace that passes understanding will guard your heart.” How does it guard your heart? It takes every thought that’s coming in, and peace stands as a spiritual bouncer in the party of your life. It stands over your heart, and stuff that comes in, it says, “Radar, hey, oh, this is stealing peace. Anger, you’re not welcome here. Fear, anxiety, oh, why are you trying to get in? Anxiety, you try to get in all the time. You’re not welcome. I’m peace. I’m the bouncer, and I say, no, you’re not on the welcome list, so, therefore, you can’t come to this party.”
Not Circumstantially Based
You see, that’s what peace does. Now Jesus said, “The peace I give you is not as the world gives you.” What does that mean? In basic terms, it means the peace of God is not circumstantially based. It is not based on your financial account. It is not based on your relational portfolio of how many friends you have and don’t have. It’s not based on how much your family loves you or doesn’t love you. It’s not based on how great your church is doing or not doing, how great your business is not doing. The peace of God is based on who God is as your father, who the Lord Jesus Christ is as your peace, and who the Holy Spirit is as your comforter.
Holy Spirit’s Comfort
You see, a lot of us today don’t know how to nurture ourselves, so we fail and struggle to take in our peace. Do you know what the Holy Spirit’s job is? It’s to help keep you in peace and to remind you with the comfort and nurture of God. That’s why my wife and I spend countless hours with people, helping them to restore their compass for nurture, because if you know how to nurture yourself, you can return out of difficulties, and maybe you feel tired and fatigued. You can comfort yourself. That’s what nurture does.
Lack of Nurture
People who struggle to connect to the Holy Spirit often lack nurture, and the Holy Spirit is there to comfort you, to empower you, to remind you of what the master has taught us, to remind you of the father’s heart for you. Where you may go into a certain season, “I’m so lonely. I have nobody around me,” the peace of God speaks a language from the Holy Spirit, coming directly from the heart of the father that says, “You never have to feel alone,” and now you feel empowered.
Learning to Reframe Our Focus
When I take in the peace of God, I reframe my focus. You see, focus is important, because what you focus your mind on is what you will look for. What you look for is what you will get, and what you get starts to become the narrative. It becomes the testimony you carry. It becomes the story that you live out of, of where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going. If I focus my attention, for instance, on “I don’t have any friends. I feel lonely,” if I focus on that, I will find it in everything. I will find “I’m lonely. I have no friends” everywhere I look and everything I see. It will dictate and it will steal my peace, but if I shift my focus and shift my attention to focus on what God says about my circumstances, what he says about me, I can thrive in any situation.
Constantly Being Taken Out
Now that wasn’t my story. That wasn’t my life. That wasn’t my journey. I would be taken out by any little whim and wave. If you feel like you’re just up and down and somewhat of a bipolar manic kind of struggle all day long, then you’re in good company, because so many of us have struggled or currently struggle with that. I know what it feels like to have constant circumstances, but one of the things that God really taught me is shifting my focus and training my attention on what I’m looking for in the day. You see, if you zero in on that peace of God … and we need to have laser sharp focus … and you learn to zero in on what the peace of God says, what the peace of God means for us in this day and age, in every situation of your life, it will create a narrative that is very empowering.
Everywhere you look, when you look at your finances and you carry the true peace of God, you know how to hear from God about your finances to make a change. If you’re in panic, all you’re going to do is call to God as a victim, “Oh, God, help me. I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried this over and over again.” The peace of God begins to empower you to look for what you need to do in the next day, in the next weeks, or in the coming months to shift your circumstances, but we have to learn to shift our focus.
Now I also want to give you this exhortation, too. If you’re going to walk in the peace of God, you’re going to have to confront your lifestyle, because one of the biggest spiritual forces over our country … You might say it’s greed, it’s anger, it’s this, it’s that, sure. Lawlessness, whatever. Yeah, I get that. You know what a big one is? I would even call it a demonic force over our culture. Business, just constant, chronic business, daily, over and over. Pack the schedule in, listen to everyone’s demands, make sure that we’re doing and going. There is some false sense of accomplishment that we feel when we are constantly busy.
Americans, we have to repent of this. This isn’t an American thing. This is a worldwide thing. When you lack an identity, you lack peace. When you lack an identity and lack peace, you’ll be chronically busy to fill it in. Therefore, holidays or special events or anything, they don’t become fulfilling. They don’t breathe life into us because (a) we’re looking to fill a broken need from people around us or we’re asking God to change our circumstances rather than change us, or we’ve cultivated a busy, busy, busy lifestyle. I want to encourage you to break agreement with business, to repent, renounce it out of your life. Resist this force that wants to tell you that if you’re not doing anything, you’re not productive and you don’t have any meaning in this world.
Having Time to Practice Peace
I tell you, in the scriptures there was more times where Jesus was going away to be alone. There’s more times when people were in preparation. We’re constantly trying to do the next thing, work on the next project. It may achieve something, but it doesn’t produce the kingdom results that are possible, because we need to learn how to stop. I want to encourage you to practice regular stopping and pausing throughout your day. My best recommendation, people I coach, is start your day off, end your day off engaging the peace of God, and in the middle, have breaks, have stopping points where you stop and engage God in his peace.
Now as you’re doing this, you’re going to have to face the issues of your life. I want to ask you the question, what’s keeping you, what’s interfering from you living in the peace of God? Is it business? Is it fear? Is it anxiety, stress, worry? Is it you’re carrying people’s burdens? You’re carrying someone else’s junk. You’re carrying your kids’ problems on your shoulders, and it’s now taking you out. I’m not saying ignore your kids’ problems. I’m saying it’s taking you out, and God’s inviting you to grow and what it means to carry the peace of God in that circumstance.
Look at whatever steals your peace and shift, turn the tables and see it as an invitation that God is calling you into, to grow in your capacity to carry supernatural peace. Instead of, “God, rescue me from this circumstance,” shift the story, shift your focus, shift your prayer into, “God, grow me to a greater capacity so I can face this,” because otherwise, you’ll just become passive and you’ll say, “God, why me, and please help me, rescue me out of this,” and you’ll pray to God like a victim rather than talking to God as an overcomer.
Taking, Receiving, Holding, Keeping, Guarding
There’s this twofold aspect of casting my cares upon God, entering into his rest, learning to release circumstances, “I can’t carry and own this stuff. You are God.” Then there’s the other aspect of, “God, your peace is available to me. I’m going to take it. I’m going to take responsibility to take, keep, hold, and guard my peace.” Those are all different actions, aren’t they? Taking it means I’m going to receive it. I’m going to intentionally receive it. Keeping it means I’m cultivating this throughout the day. I’m not letting anyone steal it. Holding it means I’m guarding. I’m watching over this and I’m holding onto it, because this is the thing that I need to hear from God and be effective, and I’m going to guard it. I really encourage you and exhort you in this season like never before. Guard your peace.
Rebuking the Storm
Are you trying to get sucked into everyone’s drama? Are you trying to play God? Are you trying to control other people, control your circumstances? Then find your enemy and find that stronghold and rebuke it. Stand against it, renounce it. Break agreement with it. You don’t have to serve those thoughts that keep you out of the peace of God. Jesus, if you noticed, even in that moment where he’s in the boat, he rebukes the weather. Who rebukes the weather? Who looks at clouds and storms and rebukes it? Because he knew.
I don’t even know if this fits in with your theological framework, but it’s in the Bible, because there was a spiritual oppression that was behind the weather. See, you have to be keenly aware of what is taking you off of your peace so you can hear from God what he’s saying over your life, what he’s saying over your family, and what he’s saying over your assignment, “Be very aware of peace robbers and let nothing steal it.”
Activation: Practicing the Art of Holding Your Peace
I close with this thought. I really like to encourage people to learn to practice holding their peace. What I did was years ago, back in the early 2000s when I was in my chronic state of anxiety, fear, depression, crazy obsessive thoughts, couldn’t keep my mood or my state in check, so God taught me something that, “This is going to be a process, Mark. You’re going to have to learn how to hold your peace, because you just go with whatever the day has, and that cannot happen anymore. You must learn to be an overcomer.”
I learned to practice holding my peace, and this is what I did. I would hold my peace. I would focus my attention. I would pause and I would stop. This is a simple thing that you can practice all the time in your day. I teach people this all the time. It’s the simplest thing. It’s incredibly powerful. If you take your hand and you put it over your heart, and you take in deep breaths, because that tells your physiology to stop and to pause, to [inaudible 00:28:53] and just … I mean big breaths. Just take it in through your nose, out through your mouth, to just tell your physiology, “I’m engaging the peace of God.”
Then what I would do is … Then anxiety would kick in again, “Oh, well, [inaudible 00:29:13]. I don’t know how to keep my peace. Oh, I have these thoughts. I can’t keep these thoughts out of my mind.” I’d just put my hand over my heart. I would then refocus my attention saying, “In going to hold my peace right now.” I’m going to tell you, as honest as I know my name, I sometimes could only hold it for like 20 seconds and I was out. I was gone. I was taken out.
The thing that God really encouraged me in is his graciousness, that he wasn’t like, “What’s the matter with you? You can’t hold your peace for more than 20 seconds. You should be able to hold it for days and weeks. What’s the matter with you?” No, no, no. I felt because I was learning the love of God, the love of the father, I felt his invitation to go, “It’s all right. Let’s just do this again. Let’s just jump into this again. Let’s go into peace. Come back.” So I’d refocus and 20 seconds would turn into 25 seconds. Sometimes I’d time myself, because I often like to measure growth and measure things so that I can be encouraged.
Next thing you know, I’m holding my peace for five minutes, because I did this every day, all throughout the day. I’d just have pause, stop, going to take my peace. In that, you start to detect the interference, “Oh, fear. Oh, I’ve been carrying a burden I shouldn’t.” Or for most people, “I’m way too busy right now, and I need to pull the brakes and I need to have more margin in my day, because how am I going to expect the miraculous and supernatural in my life if I’m not cultivating stillness?”
The Destructive Need to Feel Productive
One of the things that keeps us from being still is we always have this need to feel productive. It’s a modern culture thing that trains us to just constantly be busy, and we feel like if we’re not productive, we’re worthless. We don’t know how to practice. An old friend of mine, his name was Willis, used to talk about … Willis Larson was his name. He used to talk about the art of nothingness. What does that mean? The art of nothingness. It means being able to be still and there’s no agenda but just breathing in the peace of God.
You know how you can engage that is just with gratitude. That helped me to keep my peace. I’d focus on appreciation and gratitude, and I would focus on thanksgiving of who God is. I could feel more and more so that 20 seconds turned into five minutes. Five minutes turned into 10 minutes, 15 minutes. I remember the day and the time I felt breakthrough, massive breakthrough that I have never turned from. It didn’t happen because I just prayed this special prayer. It was just consistency, faithfully. There were days I wouldn’t do it. Then I’d go, “Ah, oh, I got to come back to this,” and I would just practice my peace.
Now, it is a part of my daily existence. When I’m in the car, when I wake up in the morning, I’m in the shower, when I’m eating, God is constantly conditioning me, spirit, soul, and body to engage his peace so that I’m prepared for the circumstances. You see, most of us, we’re not prepared for what’s ahead. We’re not prepared for the things that come our way. Even just that statement alone drives people into fear, “Oh, my goodness, I’m not prepared for what’s ahead.” No, awaken it, overcomers. Awaken to the peace and the power of God that is available on the inside of you, but you have to practice it. You can’t wait for something or someone or your expectation of somewhere over the rainbow. Ain’t happening. It must be cultivated in your heart and in your life.
Let Me Pray for You
Father, in the name of Jesus I pray that you would release the peace of God. I want to pray over all our listeners and watchers, those on the YouTube, those on Facebook stream. In this coming year, we’re going to add even other streams. We’re going to be streaming everywhere.
I pray that the peace of God would be powerful in your life today, right here, and right now, so take in your peace. Take it, hold it, guard it, and don’t let anyone steal it. Father, I thank you so much for this. I thank you so much that I can live in the peace that passes all understanding. It doesn’t always make sense, but I am at peace and I’m going to receive that. I’m going to live in it, and I refuse to let anything take me out of that place, because God is with me and as I fight the fight, he’s working through me, but he’s also fighting for me, and I’m aware of that.
God, I thank you for that. In the name of Jesus Christ, I bless these people and I release your peace and I rebuke the storms over their life from having power over them, because that’s who you are and I thank you for it.
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