Training for Reigning - 16 - Garrisoned by His peace


"A mind at perfect peace with God,
O, what a word is this!
A sinner reconciled through blood -
This, this indeed is peace."

Thank God, every true believer has peace WITH God (Romans 5: 1); but the peace OF GOD is something different. It is the peace, the eternal calm, unruffled by any circumstances which may arise in His inconceivably vast and complex realms, enjoyed by Himself. It surpasses all human understanding; yet the Lord would have it to "keep as with a garrison" our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7) . . . something sadly needed by a host of His children, whose peace of mind is being disturbed, daily, by many things - older folks as well as young ones. For while verse 6 gives us the divine recipe for release from it, and Psalm 55: 22 reinforces it, yet, as one dear one explained, "I do cast my burdens on the Lord, but they always seem to come back with me." Well, before discussing another approach (but not actually different) to the problem, perhaps it will be well to outline what goes on in our minds, first.
Those whose business it is to treat so-called "nervous" reactions frankly admit that present-day "progress" is largely responsible for the great increase, since the times of our grandparents, in nervous tensions. ("Scientific advancement" - so wondrous in the eyes of youth as to be almost worshipped as a false god - always forces us to pay an increasingly high price for its acceptance (Ecclesiastes 7: 29). There can be no escape from it by ordinary means). Hence, it isn’t our nerves that bring about these conditions; but rather, the way we feel about things that lies at the bottom of the troubles which we suppose to be of nervous origin. Feeling unwilling, or inadequate to the demands which may be made of us, we begin to feel fearful, or resentful. Feelings of anxiety, or depression, or irritability, or worry, maybe with outbursts of anger, stimulate certain glands which then pour certain poisonous substances into the blood-stream, reacting at once on the nervous system. Thus, in this roundabout way, we may become nervous "jittery," high-tensioned . . . and all because of the way we feel about things - which the authorities call "emotional disturbances."
Clearly, then, what will be needed will be a new outlook on all these troublous matters - that new outlook which is possible only when our hearts and minds are garrisoned by God’s own peace. For the above picture is, in a general way, an outline of numerous situations that keep coming before me concerning both young people and older ones as well. Let me ask the reader to apply it to his own case if he considers himself to be of "the nervous type," subject to "nervous tension" . . . whether going to school, or living under trying circumstances at home, at work, or elsewhere.
The "Be careful (anxious) for nothing" formula of Phil. 4: 6 seems to fail in some people’s cases because their way of praying, and supplicating about everything, with thanksgiving, is incomplete. But there are three other passages of Scripture which have been a great help to me - even if they do "add up" to the same thing. I call them "The Big Three." If you are inclined to be "nervous" about things, to be depressed, or to worry, perhaps you may find the way to His peace through them. They are:

Commitment, Acceptance and Relaxation.

1. Commitment: in which we practice: (Psalm 37: 5) committing (handing over) to the Lord the way we are about to take; and - (Proverbs 16: 3) the works (the things said, or done) we already have done, whether good or bad, including failures or blunders.
2. The grace of acceptance (Matthew 11: 26; Luke 22: 24; Job 1:21) in which we practice the acceptance of all that may come our way as having been allowed of God. Job did not say, as a brother beloved pointed out recently, "The Lord gave, and the devil hath taken away." Even though Satan was the actual offender, Job recognized that "not a shaft can hit unless the God of Love sees fit" (Amos 3: 6b).
3. Relaxation: "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46: 10). This command (as it is in Hebrew) can be well understood by our modern expression "Relax." Relaxation of the Soul (the seat of the emotions) can be assisted greatly, as many have found, by practicing relaxation of the Body as well. These be the Big Three, in so far as I have been able to learn the mind of the Spirit, as it is revealed in His Word. Add "thanksgiving," then you will have your guidance into His peace. You have fulfilled the conditions of Philippians 4: 6.
Now, by way of illustration, let us say that Jack has trouble with mathematics. When exams come around his fears result in a highly nervous state, which only serves to render him more liable to failure. His sister, Jean, isn’t up to the mark in some of her subjects, either. Besides, as a conscientious Christian, she has to take a lot of scoffing because she is "a square." Also, one of the teachers has the habit of "jumping on her"- all of which "gets on her nerves." Both of them pray earnestly for God’s help in these trials, YET NEITHER OF THEM PRACTICE TRUE COMMITMENT - the very thing we are counselled to do by Psalm 37: 5 and Proverbs 16: 3. Were they to humble themselves before the Lord, and instead of asking His help, were to hand over to Him their problems for solution, trusting also in Him for His over-control of themselves, as His children (NOT the exams., or the scholars, or the teacher) they would make it possible for God to fulfil His Word, and so to relieve them of anxious care. A literal translation reads: "Roll on the Lord thy way; and trust upon Him, and He worketh."
Space runs out; and further comments on Commitment of our works, and on the grace of acceptance perhaps will not be needed
- unless it be to remind ourselves that grace can be prayed down from heaven (Hebrews 4: 16).
Relaxation ("Be still") in Psalm 46: 10 just means stop fussing, and fidgeting and fretting. You are dealing with THE LIVING GOD! and if you have committed everything to Him, your only need is to relax in confidence in His all-sufficiency to over-rule where necessary, but particularly to manage you, yourself, in the fulfilment of His will. The results often are surprising! You will need to study, or to work, of course, as a matter of duty (Luke 17: 10), doing it, also, as unto the Lord (Colossians 3: 23-24)
- . . Make it your daily habit to follow the Big Three plus Thanksgiving, wherever you are, whoever you may be; then I can guarantee you will find your anxious care will disappear before the garrisoning peace of God.