Day 7: “Shalom vs. Fear”
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” -John 14:27
What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of your life not mattering? Are you afraid of missing out on the pleasures and prosperity this world has to offer that it seems like everyone else but you is experiencing? Are you afraid of being alone? Does your sense of peace and tranquility often fluctuate based on your circumstances? It sounds like you might need a different version of peace to rule your heart and mind. Jesus knows what type of peace we are really longing for, and He promises us a true version of peace that is the antidote to our fear.
Real peace and fear cannot exist in the same room together. You can never be fully at peace if you are afraid. The Shalom of this world was compromised in the beginning when humanity became afraid that God’s Word wasn’t true, and then we made the choice to say to God, “I don’t really need You anymore.” But the more humanity rejected God to choose their own path, the more fear consumed us and the more we sought after peace in the temporal things of this world. Our peace became contingent on circumstances. Unfortunately, humanity continues to believe the lie that we can find peace in this world of chaos and we don’t really need God. But it seems the more we run away from God and after the worldly versions of peace, the more our fear consumes us and the emptier and more chaotic our lives become. Fear begins to drive everything, and not wanting to be afraid, we medicate that fear with false shaloms that are destructive to ourselves and society. The world’s version of peace just isn’t working.
Jesus promised to give us peace the world could never give us. As He prepared to go to the cross to pay the price for humanity’s sin and to bring us back to God, He promised His followers a nothing-broken-nothing-missing peace that wouldn’t fluctuate based on circumstances… A peace that awakens when we come back into the presence of God Himself and under His loving guidance and rule… A peace that knows in the deepest places of mind and heart that we are not alone and that everything is going to be okay because God is for us and not against us, and is causing all things, even our hard circumstances, to work together for our good (Romans 8:28-32). This is a peace the “world didn’t give… and the world can’t take away.” This is Shalom, and it is only possible through the fear-defeating love manifested in Jesus that welcomes us back into God’s presence forever without guilt or shame.
1. What fears consume you and drive you? Write out those fears and be honest about ways you are struggling to trust God. Think through the ways you are running from God’s loving guidance and rule over your life and toward the world’s versions of peace. Be honest with yourself and God about the areas of chaos in your life resulting from not inviting Him into all things.
2. Take some time to talk to God and repent for the false shaloms you have indulged in to try and numb or escape your fears. Think about their effects on your life, your family, your friends, and society. Own it and humbly bring it to God.
3. Rest in the grace available in Jesus because of His life, death, and resurrection. Let His perfect love for you drive out fear and replace it with Shalom. Receive the gift of His peace that He purchased for you with His blood, and let your mind and heart be consumed with it. Pray and ask God for faith to believe His promises and live under His guidance and rule. What does it look like for you to no longer live out of fear but out of a place of Shalom?