great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. [psalm 119:165]
what threatens your peace? what makes you worry or become anxious?
for me, it can be knowing there is something wrong between myself and someone else. knowing that they may be gossiping. sometimes tiptoeing around an issue that should be cleared up. i hate it.
for me, it can also be completing a project and hoping the recipient will like it. my husband and i were in the business of refinishing furniture at one point, and i remember carrying constant anxiety around in the pit of my stomach while someone’s beloved piece was in my care. i remember sweaty palms and tense shoulders while we drove to deliver the finished product. i remember having to slow my breathing.
in these moments, I stumble. i am the opposite of a picture of great peace. my mind is nowhere close to loving the law of God, and my only desire is comfort, control, and the affirmation of man. my own glory.
so how do we grow in peace? how do we become steadfast and immovable? we must love the law of God! how do we love the law of God?
oh how i love your law! it is my meditation all the day. [psalm 119:97]
the first thing we have to grasp is that we cannot create a love for God’s word. that love can only come from God himself, by the blood of Jesus Christ, through the powerful working of the Holy Spirit. so before you try to conjure up passion that will only end up being false, go to the source of love! ask God to do a miraculous work in your heart. he knows how to give good gifts to his children, and he will not deny you. and when you ask, ask in faith. have great expectations of a Father who loves you, hears you, and is waiting for you.
of course we don’t just ask and sit and wait expectantly. flesh out your faith by taking steps of faith. the Lord will respond in faithfulness to those who seek him! the “desiring God” website has some very simple, very practical ways for us to take steps of faith as we wait on the Lord to put a desire for his word in our hearts.
- read it. we have to open the word. often. daily. drink it in. growth in love for the Lord in a way that leads to steadfast immovable peace comes from consistent time spent with him in his word.
- ask questions; expect answers. God can handle your confusion and even your pushback. don’t be afraid to wrestle with his word and dig in. he longs to show you his true character! not all at once, but in his own perfect timing.
- pause and ponder. these are so much more than words on a page. they are Almighty God speaking to you in love. read them as such and listen for how he is speaking to your very heart. meditate on them. churn them over.
- respond in prayer. this is not a one way relationship with a long dead author! our God is alive and well, and he hears your every word! pray his words back directly, or pray back what they are stirring in your heart.
- obey. this, of course, is the hard part. it’s easy to tell ourselves we believe the words, but this is the outworking of that belief. when we submit to his perfect word, and obey out of a genuine heart, our love will grow.
- share. God gave us each other, the body of Christ, to build each other up in him, and to strengthen each other in our pursuit of him in his word. so read it together! discuss it together! proclaim it together!
of course, these are not a magical formula for sure-fire righteousness. they are simply a few practical steps of faith as we wait on the Lord to build in us a passion for his glory. and as we grow, as we spend time in his presence, as intimacy grows between ourselves and our Creator, as He builds in us a love for his law, the things that we face in this life will not cause us to stumble. we will have a firm foundation to stand on, the perfect rock, who will himself be our perfect peace. [micah 5:4-5]
~ arwen eastman