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Day 4: “Ever-Present Shalom”

MEDITATION

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6–7

REFLECTION

In this broken and lacking world there are a lot of things to feel anxious about. Anxiety is the opposite of peace, and rips into anything good, beautiful or true that God wants to manifest in our lives. The debilitating worries of life easily consume our hearts and minds and we feel afraid and can’t stop thinking the worst about what could happen in our day-to-day challenges. It’s hard to sleep or rest or even smile. Our anxiety tears us apart, so much so that we desperately try to find peace and escape anxiety through our numbing addictions and by trying to change our hard circumstances with the world’s resources or ideas. But the peace the world gives us is temporary and fake, and in the end, it leaves us more anxious and disappointed.

God has a different way of giving us peace than what the world offers (John 14:27). God doesn’t necessarily change the circumstances since He knows we can never really be complete and content in this broken and lacking world. Rather, He begins orchestrating everything to help us learn to be complete and content in Him, in His presence alone, full of Shalom on the inside that doesn’t fluctuate regardless of the hard thing happening on the outside. Through God’s powerful peace we are learning to “be content in all situations” (Philippians 4:12), and no matter what we face we can have that tranquility, unwavering hope, and ever-increasing joy that surpasses all understanding… a peace that doesn’t make sense from the world’s point of view.

How? Because HE guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, who is the ever-present Shalom of God inside of us, and our eternal hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). God doesn’t get the most glory by changing our circumstances; He has absolute power and can do that with a snap of His fingers. He gets the most glory when regardless of our circumstances our hearts learn to be content in Jesus. That’s actually what is best for us since in this world we will have many troubles, but Jesus, our Prince of Peace, has overcome the world (John 16:33) and His ever-present nothing-broken-nothing-missing peace living inside of us dispels anxiety and transforms our crippling worries into confident hope.

ACTION

1. Take some time to give thanks to God for what He has done for you in Christ.  Take some time to write out everything you are thankful for, no matter how small. Say it out loud as you write and thank the Lord, the giver of life and every good and perfect gift (James 1:17).

2. Confess to God your fears and anxieties. Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Repent for the ways you are not content with Jesus but running to the world to try and find peace. Repent for not believing Jesus is really enough and that He is with you to give you Shalom.

3. Ask for Christ’s Shalom to fill you and protect your heart and mind from a bitter, self-absorbed, complaining spirit and transform you into a grateful, confident, and joyful worshipper of God who selflessly shines the light of Jesus into the darkest places of this world.

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