Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pursuing Peace

"Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it."
Psalm 34:14

Psalm 34 is full of practical instruction and verse 14 is just one such piece of advice. It instructs me to turn from evil, to depart from it, steer clear of it, deviate from it. I must set a conscious distance between myself and those things that tempt me to sin, and cut them off when necessary! I am called to "do good; seek peace and pursue it".

When the enemy comes knocking with any form of temptation, I should consider that my que to find something good and pleasing to the Lord to do in that moment instead. I must make a conscious choice to turn from that evil thing and turn to the work of the Lord instead. Very practically, if my tongue is the sin instrument tempting me to think and say things I shouldn't, I must train myself to bite my tongue (literally when necessary!) and take such thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), replacing them with the truth of God's Word. 1 Thessalonians 4:18 says, "encourage one another and build each other up". So for instance, instead of saying that thing the Spirit is prompting me not to, I can ask the Lord's forgiveness for the thought and replace it with a word of encouragement to, or about someone, instead. This would be pleasing to God and in accordance with His Word.

I am also instructed to "seek peace and pursue it". In this crazy, busy world full of distractions, it is something I must be intentional about. Peace, stillness, quietness before the Lord...these are things that refresh and renew my spirit now, but once upon a time I was carrying so much sin and brokenness that the quiet was something I avoided. I constantly filled my time with busyness to steer clear of that which the Lord wanted and needed to heal in me. Healing that would bring peace. What I didn't realize was that the strife and bitterness were actually corroding my heart and robbing me of the peace He wanted to give, and something I desperately needed. 

Once He delivered me from the sin and the pain of the past, I found I began to thrive on quiet! I was no longer afraid to be still before the Lord. That peace in my heart, peace with God, peace with my past, peace with myself, make for a peaceful life. And it creates in me a desire to "pursue it" like a river that waters my soul. 

When I'm lacking in peace now, the first thing to do is check for sin. I might be falling into temptation in some area, or I might have too little quiet time with God and need to pull back on my schedule to be more intentional about seeking peace and spending time with Him.

Charles Spurgeon says of verse 14, "True happiness is found in true holiness. The only way to keep out the evil is to fill the soul full of good. We must be active in the cause of God, or Satan will soon lead us to sin."

Father God, thank You for Your Word that is full of practical instruction for living a life that is pleasing to You. Help me Father, to pursue holiness in every aspect of my life, with every part of my body, and chase after peace. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

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