Where is our focus? To whom are we looking?
In one direction there is nothing but hatred and cruelty; demands and ignorance. In another direction there are nice stories of jobs well done, hope or hopelessness in changed circumstances, and shallow love; we are fair-weathered people who turn on an individual or an organization at the drop of a hat; we use labels and name call to describe human beings based on their actions and/or belief systems. It is written that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, therefore our weapons cannot be carnal. (Ephesians 6:12)
The events of tragedy and crisis and destruction have increased in the last ten years. What is going to hold us during these times and what we cannot know of the days to come? Where is our heart? What has rooted us? To what or to whom are we yielding, the flesh or the Spirit?
It is most certainly returning to and resting in the Lord where we are saved, and in quietness and trusting confidence in Him where we find our strength is (Isaiah 30:15). The world demands action, but we are not of this world. The message of the world is that prayer isn’t enough. The message of the news is double-minded and of no real lasting hope. It is good to be reminded, though, that the world does not know nor recognize Him, so by in large the messages that we are receiving or are privy to are not God’s message to us in Christ. He came into the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him [did not know Him] (John 1:10). And The Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot receive (welcome, take to its heart), because it does not see Him or know and recognize Him. But you know and recognize Him, for He lives with you [constantly] and will be in you. (John 14:17).
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] John 16:33
Sparks wrote something poignant that points to our need for spiritual understanding of what Christ overcame. Or as Andrew Murray writes: It is only the full and perfect knowledge of what Christ is and does for us that can bring us to a complete Christian life.
It is faith which brings into effect spiritual ascendancy and dominion over principalities and powers and world rulers of this darkness, spiritual hosts of wickedness and the kingdom of Satan; triumph over it, ascendancy over it. It is faith again. It is faith appropriating all that is true in Him Who is already in the place of power.
Source: T. Austin-Sparks, Faith in Relation to the Heavenlies <—- link
How can we appropriate, or take as our own, that which is true in Christ Who is already in the place of power, if we do not know it ourselves? There is plenty of opinion and religious banter available, but to what end? Life or death?
We cannot simply read John 16:33 and know. We cannot memorize John 16:33 and know. We cannot even meditate on John 16:33 and know. We cannot even offer it to another and have them know. The Spirit must reveal it to our open and willing hearts. This will change everything! To have revelation is altogether other than to have information. That is where we will find ourselves rooted & grounded during trials of all kinds. Not mere mental knowledge or having received second-hand bible information that may be good and even true in and of itself, but where there is and has been no power of an endless life in and through us. It is for a time such as this, where all other avenues are failing and failing in great numbers and on every level, where we are primed to seek the One who called Himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.] (John 14:27)
What is Jesus’ own peace? How does this help us now? And what will it look like?
I have been reading T. Austin-Sparks’ Christ Our All, and just yesterday was in chapter 8 “My Peace I Give Unto You” (<—- Link ) where he writes:
The life of our Lord Jesus was marked by a peacefulness of spirit and a real rest of heart. […] His whole life was marked by rest and peace within. […] He was often pressed to take a wrong course. But He never yielded to the temptation. […] It was a temptation from outside. But it could not disturb His inward peace because He was abandoned to His Father’s will. His loyalty to the Father frustrated the temptations. The secret of His peace was His union with the Father. […] All the temptations He went through were to provoke Him to get away from His Father; to have desires, reasonings, volition which were not altogether of His Father. But such an attitude was out of question for Him. There was no deviation in the least degree from His Father’s will. Behind it all was a perfect faith in His Father and His faithfulness.
Much of the lack of peace in our lives comes from our lack of unity. We are in conflict with our own reasoning, our desires, our will. We are torn in two directions, disturbed because of things at war in us. So often we are like two persons fighting each other, in a state of unrest. The same occurs in our relationship with God. Our thoughts and desires are in conflict with God’s thoughts and desires. How utterly different in the case of the Lord Jesus! He knew the meaning of an inward peace. […]
But how do we get experimentally over our divided nature into such a oneness, such a rest, such a peace? The way is just this: as the Lord Jesus gains the upper hand in our hearts, we become more and more one with Him. As we more and more surrender to Him, all the conflict of mind, heart and will ceases. Christ’s attitude was absolute abandonment to the Father. He was holding back nothing, ready to do all His will. There was no conflict about it. His whole being was one with the Father. As we let go the self-life, letting Christ get the mastery in us, He brings to an end all the inward conflict. A heart wholly the Lord’s is a heart at rest, a heart conformed to the image of Christ. The Lord said: “Take my yoke upon you“, that is, “Be perfectly one with Me.” A yoke makes two beings into one. That is why it was forbidden in the Old Testament to use an unequal yoke, to put an ass and an ox under one yoke, for these two were entirely different beings. The yoke would tear and hurt them. But we are allowed to be under one yoke with the Lord Jesus. The yoke speaks of oneness, fellowship, being governed by one will. Thus we find rest unto our souls. […]
Christ is our peace. Christ is our rest. Rest and liberty always mean strength. If we are without rest we are without effectiveness. Christ is our sufficiency, for all our resources are in Him.
May the Lord lead us into His own peace!