Points to Ponder: Does Inner Peace Elude You?
Points to Ponder
Does Inner Peace Elude You?
Does inner peace elude you? From most, even perhaps all, outward indications you are doing all right. Better off than many people in a lot of ways; however, there is a sense of emptiness. Just feeling low, sad, or burdened. Sometimes the simplest things can trigger it.
Paul's words from prison are amazing.
"...For I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content" (Philippians 4:11b).
Contentment. How does one learn that? Is it the result of having inner peace? Or is it contentment that leads to that sense of inner peace? Or are they two different terms describing the same thing? Paul goes on with some detail:
"I know how to be abased (live humbly), and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need" (v. 12).
He learned this, he says. I wondered about this type of learning process. With many of us we first need to unlearn some things before we can learn something new. Preconceived notions, faulty assumptions, dwelling on our past (both the aches and the accolades) can set up an invisible barrier that deflects new ideas or uncomfortable truths. Some things you will not even consider because of what you have learned. Even if you have actually learned nothing of substance on a subject, you will defend your ignorance, call it "experience": and deem yourself wise. And so you will deny yourself the very inner peace you have longed for.
The Hebrew rendering of peace is "wholeness," shalom. What an incredible ideal. Who in this world is not broken in some way? Raised by imperfect parents, among a diversity of people with a range of issues and perceptions, we get banged around physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Bruised, damaged, and broken, no one gets through this life without some scars. So, where can you find wholeness, Shalom, in a broken world? That wholeness is not achieved, but received. It can be learned, but cannot be earned. Isn't it amazing how a void can have perceivable weight and substance? You can feel "it." And yet it is nothing. And everything you've tried has not filled that void, removed that weight, or brought you that peace. Why?
Paul, who once had everything in terms of reputation, status, citizenship, and probably some wealth, writes from a prison. He has nothing and depends on friends outside to bring him basic necessities. There were no "three hots and a cot" in Roman prisons. Yet he learned how to be content. It's not what he learned, but from whom he learned.
"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice" (Philippians 4:4).
You can have joy and peace in this world if you don't try to acquire it from this world. In Acts 17:26-27, we are told that God has brought each of us into the world at a certain time in history, at a certain place on earth so that we "should seek the Lord, in the hope that (we) might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each of us." (v. 27).
It's about a relationship with the Lord who created you and came to redeem your soul. He is the Source of true peace. He takes what is broken and can make you whole.
"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yah, the Lord, is everlasting strength" (Isaiah 26:3-4).
You can have that relationship of trust. He awaits your call.
"For the Scripture says, 'Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.' ... For 'whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved'" (Romans 10:11 and 13).
Visit our website and follow "the Roman Road" and allow the Spirit to guide you.
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship of Clear Spring, MD. www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com. Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 2:10am and 10:45am both days.