How to Enter into Peace

By John Thiel, mp3, pdf

Scripture reading: John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

We know that there is a region of peace, but how to enter it is a subject that should capture our attention. We live today in the last days of this earth’s history and these are the conditions that surround us:

Hearts Failing

Luke 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

What is Jesus saying here? Distress among the nations. We see around us this reality; across the planet humanity is more than ever distressed, both in military and social conflicts. And we see indeed men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth. The condition of cardiovascular failure is the number one killer today. The heart is constantly under pressure; and as a consequence, the hearts are failing. This is what you call heart failure in the medical world. We are surrounded by it. And if we as believers feel that maybe it doesn’t mean us, Jesus informs us of the contrary:

John 16:20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

Although the world rejoices we know that very quickly those rejoicings and those partyings are over, and then there is misery. As they look upon the Christian, the Christian is sometimes lamenting and weeping, so the world says, Why are you Christians lamenting and weeping? look at your faces. The sorrow that we have to meet is indeed a reality in these last days. The sufferings apply to God’s people, because as it says in 2 Timothy 3, in this time the children are disobedient to parents, the wicked have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. Perils will come upon us. And Jesus brings this perilous time in which we live, very close to the heart, very close to the natural experience of human relationships.

A Sword

Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes [shall be] they of his own household.

This is what intensifies to our time. So it becomes something very close to the heart. Our own households, those that are our families, will cause us perplexity.

Matthew 10:21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against [their] parents, and cause them to be put to death. 22 And ye shall be hated of all [men] for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

All this perplexity will be turned into joy; we will be saved. But here is the description of perplexities and distress and anxiety affecting the heart; all these things are descriptions of things with which we can actually identify. But then, sometimes those experiences are forgotten and we are sitting in the comforts of our lounges, or in the comforts of the church, and it’s all words that describe something that we can’t fully appreciate because we forget so quickly. It is like a mother having a birth; she forgets it when the joy of the baby is there, and so we also forget. We often read these things and say, Yes, that’s true… but when the reality strikes home and the reality of our experience meets up with the words we are here considering, we are often overwhelmed and we feel that this is too much, this is too hard.

In the Shaking Time

November 20, 1857, I was shown the people of God, and saw them mightily shaken. Some, with strong faith and agonizing cries, were pleading with God. Their countenances were pale, and marked with deep anxiety, expressive of their internal struggle. Firmness and great earnestness were expressed in their countenances, while large drops of perspiration fell from their foreheads. Now and then their faces would light up with the marks of God’s approbation, and again the same solemn, earnest, anxious look would settle upon them. {1T 179.3}

Evil angels crowded around them, pressing their darkness upon them, to shut out Jesus from their view, {1T 180.1}

This is the description of our time. It is a mighty shaking experience when it happens; it is really becoming overwhelming to these people, and we can see that the distress that is spoken of applies to believers and unbelievers alike. It says they were pale with anxiety. We talk today of people having anxiety attacks; and they are on drugs to keep the anxiety attacks under control, because if they don’t use the drugs they don’t know how to control it. Have you ever suffered from anxiety attacks? This is the description given us for our time by the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. The description given refers to God’s people in the shaking time, which we are now in.

Why are they suffering this anxiety, this terrible paleness that comes up in their faces? Why are they like this?

The assaults of Satan are strong, his delusions are terrible; but the Lord’s eye is upon His people. Their affliction is great, the flames of the furnace seem about to consume them; but Jesus will bring them forth as gold tried in the fire. Their earthliness must be removed that the image of Christ may be perfectly reflected; unbelief must be overcome; faith, hope, and patience are to be developed. {5T 474.3}

What does this tell you? Why are they going through it? What is the problem? Why are they going through this anxiety, this pale anxious concern and pleading? Because unbelief must be overcome; faith, hope, and patience are to be developed. It is not there yet perfectly. If faith, hope, and patience are to be developed, then that means it is not perfect in their life yet. So they are going through this terrible time. And besides that, their earthliness must be removed. They have some earthliness about them that is ruining their peace. The image of Christ is not yet fully, perfectly reflected in them.

As the people are experiencing these anxieties, and fears, and perplexities, it shows that there is a lack of perfection, a lack of belief; that they need faith and hope to be able to ride over the top of all that anxiety. This is self-evident. Patience still has to be developed. The patience isn’t there properly yet. So that is why they are in that circumstance.

Patience and Faith Still to be Developed

Here was Melanchthon, the friend of Luther, in the time of the Reformation:

To Melanchthon, who was crushed under the burden of anxiety and fear, [Luther] wrote: “Grace and peace in Christ–in Christ, I say, and not in the world. Amen. I hate with exceeding hatred those extreme cares which consume you. If the cause is unjust, abandon it; if the cause is just, why should we belie the promises of Him who commands us to sleep without fear? . . . Christ will not be wanting to the work of justice and truth. He lives, He reigns; what fear, then, can we have?” {GC 210.2}

Martin Luther is trying to lift up this brother, and he says, I hate with exceeding hatred those extreme cares which consume you. I wonder how Melanchthon took that. Luther brings his mind to the grace and peace of Christ. This is what Jesus said, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. There was this perplexity and anxiety that Melanchthon was having; and the children of God in the last days have got this too.

Many look back to the Israelites, and marvel at their unbelief and murmuring, feeling that they themselves would not have been so ungrateful; but when their faith is tested, even by little trials, they manifest no more faith or patience than did ancient Israel. When brought into strait places, they murmur at the process by which God has chosen to purify them. {PP 293.2}

Isn’t this a reality that certain things go wrong and we forget that God is actually behind it? And we think we are fighting an enemy, when God is there. He is there to purify us.

Though their present needs are supplied, many are unwilling to trust God for the future, and they are in constant anxiety lest poverty shall come upon them, and their children shall be left to suffer. Some are always anticipating evil or magnifying the difficulties that really exist, {Ibid.}

There are difficulties, but we magnify them,

…so that their eyes are blinded to the many blessings which demand their gratitude. The obstacles they encounter, instead of leading them to seek help from God, the only Source of strength, separate them from Him, because they awaken unrest and repining. {Ibid.}

This is what was described in Testimonies Vol. 1. They are pleading with God, but they are anxious. There is still patience to be developed there. And it is an encouragement when you really look at it; because when trials come our way and we start suffering like this and we start to fall into these traps of thinking, It’s too much, I can’t handle it anymore! we can actually see that what I am going through is what is described for God’s people in the last days. We are meeting it. And we are not be discouraged because this is happening. The Lord is permitting this to happen to purify us, to develop patience in us.

How true this has been in my own experience. The moment I pray for patience, all of a sudden all things go wrong, little things that annoy. These are little trials; they annoy and they cause me to become frustrated; and I look up to the Lord and I say, Oh… if that is frustrating me, what will the more severe ones do? and I am brought face to face with the Lord to open my heart to enter the region of peace in the midst of this corrupt circumstance that we are living under. God is trying to develop patience, hope and faith, to fully remove unbelief from my system.

How to Enter the Region of Peace

Our quest is to know how we can enter into that region of peace in the midst of these circumstances. In the midst of the boiling sea, in the midst of trouble, we can experience peace if we will follow this example of Christ:

In the heart of Christ, where reigned perfect harmony with God, there was perfect peace. He was never elated by applause, nor dejected by censure or disappointment. {DA 330.3}

How do you feel when you are censured? Jesus was never dejected by censure and disappointment.

Amid the greatest opposition and the most cruel treatment, He was still of good courage. But many who profess to be His followers have an anxious, troubled heart, because they are afraid to trust themselves with God. {Ibid.}

“Oh, but I’m not afraid to trust myself with God.” Or am I? We want to examine closely why we go through these perplexing times, to actually come to admit what God is saying here. There is something in the way that prevents me from trusting myself totally in the hands of God.

They do not make a complete surrender to Him; for they shrink from the consequences that such a surrender may involve. {Ibid.}

We need to examine this closely. If I was totally surrendered, is there a consequence that makes me feel uncomfortable? Can I really surrender completely on certain issues of life? Do we still want to hold the reins of life? and if I let them go I don’t know what is going to happen. People are doing this sadly, and this is why they are in that situation.

Unless they do make this surrender, they cannot find peace. {Ibid.}

In the description of these people, these children of God who are going through this anxiety and stress, the Lord is trying to teach them something. And what is it He is trying to teach them to perfect this? Make a complete surrender. We are not fully surrendered yet. Total surrender needs to be engaged in; because if I am not surrendering totally I cannot find peace. That is what the problem is. Jesus had this peace:

He was never elated by applause, nor dejected by censure or disappointment. Amid the greatest opposition and the most cruel treatment, He was still of good courage. {Ibid.}

This is because He was so perfectly surrendered to the Father. If I want to enter that region of peace, I need to surrender completely. Let us appreciate how that surrender is operative so that I can have that perfect peace.

When temptations assail you, when care, perplexity, and darkness seem to surround your soul, look to the place where you last saw the light. Rest in Christ’s love and under His protecting care. {MH 250.1}

And as we are struggling with those sinful personalities within us,

When sin struggles for the mastery in the heart, when guilt oppresses the soul and burdens the conscience, when unbelief clouds the mind, remember that Christ’s grace is sufficient to subdue sin and banish the darkness. Entering into communion with the Saviour, we enter the region of peace. {Ibid.}

The question is, How can I make this happen so that I will no longer be under this anxiety, so that my earthliness can be completely removed and I can have perfect patience and I have nothing that troubles me anymore, like Jesus? The answer often comes, I should pray. But when we pray, we often wait for some magic to happen to us. I have been under this plight for quite a while myself, and it still wants to drag me down. Please, Lord, something has to happen; You have to intervene here. And then, in God’s mercy, He does step in sometimes by His Spirit. But a lot of times we wonder why I’m not getting the answer to my prayer. I am still troubled; I am still in distress. So what must I do and how must I do it? I must pray, yes, but there is something else I must do. As the Spirit of Prophecy says, we often have to answer our own prayers as far as we can. We are to surrender self; we are to trust ourselves into God’s hands, to be in communion with Christ. These were the hints given us in the previous statements. But O how many times these statements are clichés in our experience. The doing action is to be explored. How? What do I do? Jesus here puts something in front of us that we must do:

Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

So we say, Yes, Lord; here I am, I am coming. And we have those beautiful songs, I am coming Lord, coming now to Thee. But the next minute something happens and we’ve forgotten that beautiful song. So what does Jesus say? What must we do as we come to Him?

Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

You are going to find it when you come to Me and learn of Me, He says. Study Him, look at His meekness and His lowliness in heart; and as you study that and you marvel over it, it begins to work within you and it gives you rest, right in the middle of the most obnoxious, overwhelming troublemindedness. It can happen right there as I look to Jesus. I am not just to pray, Lord, come in here and do something; but I am to look to Jesus and to remember what I have studied about Him, and let the Holy Spirit remind me. O this is so true. This is such a living experience in my own life. When I was in the most devastating mind state, the Lord reminded me and said, When you preached to others in reference to where you are now, what did you teach them? He didn’t tell me what I taught them; He just tried to stir my memory. What did you teach them when they were in the situation that you are in right now? This is how the Lord works. He turns our minds to consider what we have studied in God’s word. And as we see Jesus, we see His atonement doing something wonderful within us. This is the answer that He gives to us to have peace:

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

When these troubles and anxieties rush in upon us, you and I must not let them trouble us. They will want to trouble me, but don’t let them. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. He says, You must come to Me and you must study Me. I am meek and lowly; you must learn of Me. O that we would put into action what Jesus is saying here.

Let us consider and explore these three segments:

  • Come unto me
  • Learn of Me
  • And let not your heart be troubled.

Come Unto Me

Abiding peace, true rest of spirit, has but one Source. It was of this that Christ spoke when He said, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” John 14:27. This peace is not something that He gives apart from Himself. It is in Christ, and we can receive it only by receiving Him. {MH 247.1}

So we say, But, Lord, I’ve already got you; but then, when I am looking at my troubles and at the perplexities around me and the things that are happening, am I consciously in the presence of Christ? This is the issue. Right there, as it is happening, I am called upon to enter into His presence, receiving Him right there and then. This is the part that puts us into conflict, because I am looking at the problems, I am describing my sufferings in my mind, I am letting them fester inside of my mind. And am I looking to Jesus while I’m doing that? By no means. When you are going through it, quickly do something; turn your mind to Jesus and reflect upon His meekness, His quietness. And as you do, something begins to happen inside of you. This is the reality. He says, I give you My peace; and this peace is not something that He gives apart from Himself. If it’s not in connection with Him in your experience, if it’s just you trying to struggle and pray, it won’t happen. It will only happen as we receive Him. And it is by His presence, the consciousness I have gained through the study of Him, which the Holy Spirit will remind me, that I will receive what peace I need.

Psalm 27:1 The LORD [is] my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD [is] the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

The Lord, His presence, the sense of His closeness, of someone who is bigger than me. As I am going through my earthly battles, I am looking to the presence of the One who is bigger than me; and straight away, as your mind is meditating upon Him in the midst of that, it will pull you out of that perplexity, because you know that He is bigger than you, that He is the great Master of the universe. Of whom can I be afraid? This becomes a normal conclusion in the mind, and it puts you at rest.

Do we well to be thus unbelieving? Why should we be ungrateful and distrustful? {PP 294.1}

When the trials come we forget and we get all wrapped up in our perplexities. This is being unbelieving. Why?

Jesus is our friend; all heaven is interested in our welfare; and our anxiety and fear grieve the Holy Spirit of God. We should not indulge in a solicitude that only frets and wears us, but does not help us to bear trials. {Ibid.}

Have you ever experienced that? As you get bogged down in the thoughts of the negativities that are occupying your mind, you are indulging something; and you fret and you wear out, instead of being able to bear the trial. You actually weaken yourself. I know this to be a reality. If I stay in the thoughts of the negativities that I am going through, I actually lose strength in my heart; my heart starts playing up. And I have learned this principle over the years. As soon as I can feel the anxiety get to my heart, I have to stop thinking; I have to look to Jesus. And as I do, peace comes in and my heart recovers. It’s a reality.

No place should be given to that distrust of God which leads us to make a preparation against future want the chief pursuit of life, as though our happiness consisted in these earthly things. It is not the will of God that His people should be weighed down with care. {Ibid.}

So as I am weighed down with care, I am not under the will of God.

But our Lord does not tell us that there are no dangers in our path. He does not propose to take His people out of the world of sin and evil, but He points us to a never-failing refuge. He invites the weary and care-laden, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” {Ibid.}

And what do you do?

Lay off the yoke of anxiety and worldly care {Ibid.}

Lay it off. Isn’t that what Martin Luther said to Melanchthon? “If it’s not relevant, lay it off. But if it is, commit it to God.” Do something.

Lay off the yoke of anxiety and worldly care that you have placed on your own neck, and “take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11:28, 29. We may find rest and peace in God, casting all our care upon Him; for He careth for us. See 1 Peter 5:7. {Ibid.}

The action of casting makes you feel as though you are not being responsible. “I’ve got to deal with this”, we think. That is self. That is unbelief again. To cast off the care and make a complete surrender is to throw it off you. Let the Lord deal with it, I can’t handle it. And when you do, the victory of peace is gained. Here is the atonement of Jesus that comes into focus:

He who took humanity upon Himself knows how to sympathize with the sufferings of humanity. {MH 249.3}

He knows what we are going through because He met that.

Not only does Christ know every soul, and the peculiar needs and trials of that soul, but He knows all the circumstances that chafe and perplex the spirit. His hand is outstretched in pitying tenderness to every suffering child. Those who suffer most have most of His sympathy and pity. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and He desires us to lay our perplexities and troubles at His feet and leave them there. {Ibid.}

Don’t pick them up to think some more. Don’t pick up all the sufferings that you’ve gone through. More and more your mind runs along… No; don’t let it. Lay those perplexities and troubles at His feet and leave them there. O to do that! You can pray as much as you like, Lord, take this from me; after a while the Lord says, “I want you to do something. Do it. Leave your perplexities, learn of Me. I did it; I showed you the way.”

Learn Of Me

I am with you, says Jesus, I have experienced your battles. Here Jesus was in the boat in the storm, and we are here learning a lesson:

When Jesus was awakened to meet the storm, He was in perfect peace. There was no trace of fear in word or look, for no fear was in His heart. {DA 336.1}

Why?

But He rested not in the possession of almighty power. It was not as the “Master of earth and sea and sky” that He reposed in quiet. That power He had laid down, and He says, “I can of Mine own self do nothing.” John 5:30. He trusted in the Father’s might. It was in faith–faith in God’s love and care–that Jesus rested, and the power of that word which stilled the storm was the power of God. {Ibid.}

He did something. He got up and said, Peace, be still. He did something, and the power of God came and stilled the ocean.

As Jesus rested by faith in the Father’s care, so we are to rest in the care of our Saviour. If the disciples had trusted in Him, they would have been kept in peace. {DA 336.2}

Does that not apply to the people of God in the last days? Yes, indeed. We are learning from Jesus and from the disciples. They were not kept in peace, but Jesus was.

Their fear in the time of danger revealed their unbelief. {Ibid.}

Here it is. Do I have unbelief? When I have fear, I have unbelief. That is the reality. It reveals our unbelief.

In their efforts to save themselves, they forgot Jesus; {Ibid.}

Can you see it spelt out? We see the problem, we want to deal with the problem, and it only makes it worse and worse, and we become more fretful. In our efforts to save ourselves from these horrendous experiences, we forget Jesus.

…and it was only when, in despair of self-dependence, they turned to Him that He could give them help. {Ibid.}

We want to open our hearts to hear correctly to apply it in our lives.

“Learn of Me,” says Jesus; “for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest.” We are to enter the school of Christ, to learn from Him meekness and lowliness. {DA 330.2}

If you examine this carefully, if I am struggling with somebody in my life, or somebody is struggling with me, if I am meek and lowly it doesn’t matter what they say or what they do to me; I am surrendered. But if I am holding on to my own way and I’m not learning from Christ, I will feel chafed because that person or those people around me are doing these horrible things to me.

Redemption is that process by which the soul is trained for heaven. {Ibid.}

What is redemption? How shallowly people look at redemption.

Redemption is that process by which the soul is trained for heaven. This training means a knowledge of Christ. It means emancipation from ideas, habits, and practices that have been gained in the school of the prince of darkness. {Ibid.}

We have grown up in the school of the prince of darkness, and our natural way of reacting to the frets and abuses that are around us is the one we have learned in the school of Satan that we grew up in. But being redeemed means emancipation from those ideas, habits, and practices.

The soul must be delivered from all that is opposed to loyalty to God. {Ibid.}

Total rest in Him.

In the heart of Christ, where reigned perfect harmony with God, there was perfect peace. {DA 330.3}

This is what we are to study, and the Holy Spirit will remind us if we engage in this. “What’s happening to me now? I remember the sermon; I remember what I’ve read before; what’s happening? Ah… I must do something.” Study and act on what you studied in the wonderful atonement of Jesus. This is why the subject of the atonement of Jesus is so important – so that I can learn of Him. He is with me; He suffers with me; He has experienced all this with me, and He has conquered and He wants to pass this on to me.

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

Neither let it be afraid – The knowledge of the closeness of God, with whom nothing is impossible, this is what is to govern. This is what Jesus relied on in the stormy sea. And the example of Jesus in exercising this trust is all part of the “let not”. We are to exercise that trust. And as the undercurrent of my mind flows on subconsciously with anxieties and all these thoughts and feelings that we are so familiar with, when suddenly it comes in as an anxiety attack upon my mind, something is being said, something is being done around me, how does the memory of my experience of the past affect me? How many of us have been conditioned to react by the experiences of the past? As the undercurrent of my mind overwhelms me in that circumstance like a flood, when thoughts and feelings come in and they just dominate me, what is the promise?

Isaiah 59:19 So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.

It depends what you and I do with the standard. This is what the Holy Spirit does. When I was in this terrible perplexity, the Holy Spirit put up a standard before me. What was the standard that you preached to others? Jesus in Gethsemane, Jesus in the storm – all this was to be exercised by my mind. And when I saw it, it just destroyed the horror of my perplexity. We need to do something. We need to take the standard that the Holy Spirit erects to our mind – Jesus, the standard. Let Him be the source of our action by choice.

1 John 3:20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

When it comes in like a flood, when the anxieties and the perplexities come in like a flood – and Satan makes sure of that – the Lord will lift up a standard against him, and we will realise, Oh, my heart is condemning me; but God is greater than my heart. I have failed so badly, I’m not even at peace at the moment; but instead of giving over to that, I am to rest in His love. This is what your heart is doing to you; it is condemning you. Don’t give over to it. Let not your heart be troubled. Have confidence towards God.

1 John 3:21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, [then] have we confidence toward God.

Faith in God. I thank God for the powerful answers that He gives us here, because as reformers we need it so badly. We are to be reformers; and what is the greatest flood of perplexing anxiety to reformers? The consciousness of my sin. I should have a high standard that I should be following, and here I am in my sinful state, and I am full of anxiety. It is a severe anxiety attack. The enemy comes in like a food – the consciousness of my sin. He shows us all our sins.

This is what is described in the Spirit of Prophecy for God’s people who are going through this time of Jacob’s trouble. The experience of the fact that I have sinned and failed, I can’t erase it from my memory; it plays back, creating fear and anxiety. How shall I face it? Here is the way to deal with it in its cusp of understanding. Face it with enlightened will. If you haven’t repented of it, then repent, and leave the sin at the foot of the cross. You’re free. And if you have repented of it, then let it not in, because it has been repented of. Deal with those perplexities in this way. Leave it; believe and trust that God has taken this sin. Believe it, and that’s it. If our burdens get the better of us and our sins are heaping themselves upon our heads, we have to believe. And if we don’t believe, we will be under this anxiety.

If in our ignorance we make missteps, the Saviour does not forsake us. We need never feel that we are alone. Angels are our companions. The Comforter that Christ promised to send in His name abides with us. In the way that leads to the City of God there are no difficulties which those who trust in Him may not overcome. There are no dangers which they may not escape. There is not a sorrow, not a grievance, not a human weakness, for which He has not provided a remedy. {MH 249.1}

None need abandon themselves to discouragement and despair. {MH 249.2}

No matter what we have discovered within ourselves

Satan may come to you with the cruel suggestion, “Yours is a hopeless case. You are irredeemable.” {Ibid.}

And don’t you feel that way when these things overwhelm you? “You are irredeemable; look at you.”

But there is hope for you in Christ. God does not bid us overcome in our own strength. He asks us to come close to His side. Whatever difficulties we labor under, which weigh down soul and body, He waits to make us free. {Ibid.}

This is so valuable to me. I don’t know if you are like me, but I make mistakes again and again many times, and I think to myself, John, will you ever learn?? And even that statement above puts a negative thought into my state of mind, and the Lord says, John, remember Me; if you will remember Me, you will conquer. Stay in My arms, I will take care of you. Do it.

This is what we are to do. We are to draw near to Christ, let Him draw near to us; we are to respond to His invitation, Come unto Me. That means a sense of His closeness. It means that then I am to learn of Him in the atonement that He has made with me. And then, as I learn that, as I trust God, as Jesus did, I must not let my heart be troubled. Don’t let it happen. This is to happen now in every given situation; this is what we are to do. And what is the operative element, what is the part in me that is actually going to do this or not? What is it within you that can deal with anxiety, fear, and stress? As we have seen, it is not the will of God that we should be discouraged and overwhelmed. What is the answer then that is to operative within me?

The Force of the Will

The tempted one needs to understand the true force of the will. {MH 176.1}

In our temptations and struggles, what must we understand? The true force of the will.

This is the governing power in the nature of man–the power of decision, of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. {Ibid.}

Here is the cusp of the whole thing. My will in the midst of my perplexity and anxiety.

Desires for goodness and purity are right, so far as they go; but if we stop here, they avail nothing. Many will go down to ruin while hoping and desiring to overcome their evil propensities. They do not yield the will to God. They do not choose to serve Him. {Ibid.}

God has given us the power of choice; {MH 176.2}

So as these things are happening to you, don’t say, “Look what’s happening to me! Look what you made me do!” etc. No; God has given us the power of choice;

…it is ours to exercise. We cannot change our hearts, we cannot control our thoughts, our impulses, our affections. {Ibid.}

We can’t. Haven’t you found it? You can’t control them.

We cannot make ourselves pure, fit for God’s service. But we can choose to serve God, we can give Him our will; then He will work in us to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus our whole nature will be brought under the control of Christ. {Ibid.}

My will – that is the action.

Through the right exercise of the will, an entire change may be made in the life. By yielding up the will to Christ, we ally ourselves with divine power. We receive strength from above to hold us steadfast. A pure and noble life, a life of victory over appetite and lust, is possible to everyone who will unite his weak, wavering human will to the omnipotent, unwavering will of God. {MH 176.3}

This we must do.

The power of the will is not valued as it should be. {MH 246.1}

We must value the power of our will. Are you a strongly willed child? Do you have a will to do what you want to do?

Let the will be kept awake and rightly directed, and it will impart energy to the whole being and will be a wonderful aid in the maintenance of health. {Ibid.}

If I put my will on the right side, even my health will improve.

It is a power also in dealing with disease. Exercised in the right direction, it would control the imagination and be a potent means of resisting and overcoming disease of both mind and body. By the exercise of the will power in placing themselves in right relation to life, patients can do much to co-operate with the physician’s efforts for their recovery. There are thousands who can recover health if they will. The Lord does not want them to be sick. He desires them to be well and happy, and they should make up their minds to be well. Often invalids can resist disease simply by refusing to yield to ailments and settle down in a state of inactivity. Rising above their aches and pains, let them engage in useful employment suited to their strength. By such employment and the free use of air and sunlight, many an emaciated invalid might recover health and strength. {Ibid.}

By the will we may deal with every situation of life. To be willing to do God’s will, there is the answer for entering the region of peace.

Isaiah 32:17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.

As we take hold in practice of the words of Jesus “Come unto Me”, entering into the presence of God, someone greater than us, the mind is already affected. And then, if I will look at the fact that Jesus is going through my experiences, suffering the agony of my stress and anxiety, and I see Him conquering that, I will follow the example and I will not let my heart have control over me. I will place my will behind the promise of God.

May God help us to face the future and be among the people who will conquer and who will be perfected with hope and patience. This is what the Lord is trying to do for us, so that we can be as Christ was, perfect.

Amen.

(Illustration by Good News Productions, International, used under CC BY)

Posted on April 4, 2018, in Divine Service Sermons and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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