It is so easy to get caught up in our day to day. We have so many things running through our minds. We have to pick up groceries. Finish that project at work. Take the kids to practice. Finish the projects around the house. It all adds up and our minds are cluttered with tasks to accomplish. I think it is easy to underestimate the usefulness of slowing down.
Since we have moved to North Carolina time has flown by but life has also slowed down. It has given me the ability to think a lot more and be intentional in my relationship with Jesus in a way I have never been able to before. Having a daily quiet time is necessary but this is different. I don’t have near the responsibilities crowding my mind. I am able to give myself over more to being in God’s presence. This has allowed me to reflect on certain verses and learn something new from them.
Today I want to encourage you with a verse from Romans.
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I have read this verse before but one thing struck me about it today. I never put together the connection of justification and peace. I just read it like I assume most people do. If I have a relationship with God then I am able to feel relaxed, tranquil, safe or any other words we use to describe peace. For some reason today I stopped and thought about it and just sat there on this verse for awhile.
It then hit me that Paul means a literal peace. Later on, in verse 10 he says “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son”. So Paul starts out the thought in verse 1 but brings more clarity later on. If you are a believer in Christ then you are no longer an enemy of war. You are now at peace with God. He doesn’t see you as an enemy but a friend. I have never thought of literally being at war with God before. We are not at war anymore though. Jesus stepped in and brought peace.
If you have ever seen a war movie they do a very good job of making a distinction between war zones and places of peace. The war zone is marked by death, darkness, smoke, and fire. While the place of peace is marked by green, life, sun, flowing water, and birds chirping. Now if you are not a follower of Jesus I’m not trying to scare you. I am talking to believers and trying to encourage them to see the life around you. God is protecting you from so much you don’t see. If you are in a place of peace you forget what the war zone is like. Which is why Paul continues is Romans 5.
“Through him, we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
He is showing us that we don’t have to live in a spirit of fear, brokenness, despair or anything else we used to live in. We can now stand up and rejoice! We can run on the green grass. We can rejoice in suffering because we know it has a purpose. Have you ever had the thought while running or working out “I hope this is worth it”? If there is a reason for our pain we are more likely to be ok with it. Paul is saying to us that there is a reason for it! That we should rejoice in it because at the end it will be worth it.
Life is too short to have a war zone mentality when we have been given peace. God wants you to know that he isn’t at war with you anymore. He is on your side! That is something that should cause us to rejoice and give thanks to him. Life may be busy but take the time to declutter your mind. Give yourself space to actually think this week. You never know what new truth God will use in your life.