1 Thessalonians 3:5-6 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless. But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you.
Paul was paranoid. Paul was pessimistic. Paul was planning for the worst. It seems to me like Paul needed Facebook. He was totally disconnected from these people and that absence caused him to worry. His lack of information made him think that maybe something was wrong, that they had stopped living for Jesus. If only he was able to see their status updates. If only he could have seen their photo album titled, “baptisms.” It seems like being an apostle would be way more convenient these days.
This is what happens with silence. We are left to make assumptions. Sometimes we make good assumptions, but other times we make bad ones. Often, our assumptions leave us feeling like something is going terribly wrong. Maybe we had a conversation with someone that didn’t go too well. Then two weeks goes by and we don’t talk to them again. We begin to think they are mad at us. We think they have talked poorly of us all over town. We might even start to think that our whole lives are going to fall apart. Paranoia, I tell you. And it’s mostly due to silence.
Which is why we need to do a better job of finding out information before making assumptions. If you are wondering if someone is mad at you, call them. If you think that someone isn’t doing well, try to find out the truth. Letting our uninformed thoughts determine our peace is pure craziness! Don’t let that happen to you. Instead, seek the truth. Send a Timothy like Paul did. Shoot, check Facebook. You might find that all of your worry is for nothing.
*Are you worried about something that you don’t have good information about?
2 Kings 9:20-22 20 Again the watchman reported, “He reached them but hasn’t started back. Also, the driving is like that of Jehu son of Nimshi — he drives like a madman.” 21 “Harness! ” Joram shouted, and they harnessed his chariot. Then Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah set out, each in his own chariot, and met Jehu at the plot of land of Naboth the Jezreelite. 22 When Joram saw Jehu he asked, “Do you come in peace, Jehu? ” He answered, “What peace can there be as long as there is so much prostitution and witchcraft from your mother Jezebel? ”
Apparently Jehu was a crazy driver. The watchman on the wall could tell who he was from far away because he was driving like a madman. Do you know anyone like that? They think they are in an action movie and must evade the bad guys or something. They go weaving in and out of traffic and it gains them a total of 10 seconds on their commute. This is the kind of stuff that causes car accidents. Hmmm… I wonder if Jehu ever caused a chariot accident. Or maybe he was the suspect in the 8-camel pile up. I digress.
Even though Jehu was a crazy driver, he was actually a pretty smart guy. He had some things figured out about the nature of God. You see, people kept coming to meet him on the road asking if he was coming in peace. His answer to the final guy was actually quite clever: “how can there be any peace with all this prostitution and witchcraft going on?” That’s a really good question. How can there be peace when sin is rampant? How can there be serenity when evil is having it’s way?
How can we have peace if we are not at peace with God? That’s the million dollar question. And the answer is that we really can’t. Sin keeps us ashamed, guilty, opposed to God, stuck, and burdened. Those are certainly not descriptors of peace. Peace happens when we get right. It happens when we repent. It happens when we take our whole burden and place it at the feet of Jesus. Do you have peace today? Are the conditions right in your life for it to even exist?
1 Kings 5:10-12 In this way Hiram kept Solomon supplied with all the cedar and pine logs he wanted, and Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand cors of wheat as food for his household, in addition to twenty thousand baths of pressed olive oil. Solomon continued to do this for Hiram year after year. The LORD gave Solomon wisdom, just as he had promised him. There were peaceful relations between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty.
I would like the congress and senate to read this chapter of the Bible, please. It’s a story of two different leaders, with two different belief systems, get this… getting along. They figured out how to get along to accomplish something great. Solomon provided resources for King Hiram and in exchange was given building materials to build the temple. They could have declared war on each other, but they learned to work together for a greater benefit.
Do you have any people in your life who are unlike you? They may have different goals, dreams, visions. They may have different ideals and standards. They may have a different way of leading. But just because we are different, doesn’t mean we can’t work together. Yet we tend to create walls between ourselves and those who are different from us. We do it for our comfort and we do it for self-preservation. If we just looked at the bigger picture, we might see that God will use others for His glory.
Who is it you are avoiding? Who do you refuse to work with? Ask God today for His bigger plan and see if He would call you to work together for a greater purpose.
1 Kings 4:24b He had peace on all his surrounding borders.
Solomon was wise; Solomon was powerful. With the armies described here in 1 Kings 4, he could have wiped out any enemy he wanted. Even if his neighbors had great armies, he easily could have outsmarted them with a better battle plan. But Solomon had peace on all his surrounding borders. He had peace. All around him.
You know who else has peace all around him? Chuck Norris. Because nobody can defeat the awesomeness that is Chuck Norris. I dare someone to try. LOL. But his peace comes by his hands. It comes by beating up numskulls. It comes by intimidating the most worthy foe with his beard… er, I mean, fighting skills. If peace is determined by how well I can fight, I have a false sense of peace. I might know I can win, but that doesn’t stop people from attacking me. So I am left to defend peace with my mad skills at all times. No thank you Chuck Norris. No thank you.
So I must gain peace another way. It cannot be gained through karate. It cannot be gained with an awesome beard. It must be gained by how I treat others around me. (I have the feeling that Solomon treated others well.) It must be gained by how I lead. I have to guard my tongue, check my heart, and watch my actions. It will take effort on my part. It will require that I don’t take up offenses and that I don’t make assumptions. Peace is work, but it is worth it. And it must be accomplished in my heart, not with my hands.
How are your borders defined? Do you have peace with the people around you? If not, what can you do to change that?
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Peace is often defined rather simply as a state of tranquility and rest. We want peace with our friends, our family, and even our world. Remember the hippie era? “World peace, man.” And we talk about peace in these settings of relationships and world, it is inferred that peace is something we will attain when we work at it. Now we can work hard at getting along, but I am not sure that we can achieve peace. That would likely require that we agree on philosophies and ideals. The countries of the world will never agree with each other. People won’t agree with each other either, which puts humanity at odds against itself. So this striving for peace is a worthless pursuit. It may be attained externally, but never internally.
Philippians 4:7 describes peace in another way. It is not an object to be attained or even understood. Rather, real peace transcends all understanding. It doesn’t happen in the place of the mind, but in the spirit and the soul. We are ineffective in achieving it when we make it an issue of understanding. Peace doesn’t happen that way.
Peace happens when you are in Christ. It is not something you get, it is something you have. And you only have it when you have Christ in you and He gives it to you. It all starts with being in peace with God and that extends to all other areas of our life. We have been going at it backwards; we try to achieve it in our minds and hearts. True peace on comes when it is given by Jesus. It is that peace that goes beyond your understanding. It is that peace that actually guards your mind and your heart.
So if you really want peace today, start by running to Jesus. Live your life IN Him. Peace will naturally come out of that relationship. If you want to know more (shameless plug), you can come to church Sunday morning and I will talk about the shoes of peace that have been given to every believer.