Think about that for a moment. Relentless Peace. Although it doesn’t really mean the same thing, relentless peace probably makes you think of the idea of endless peace or ALWAYS having a calm, unshakeable grounded feeling. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? What would that even look like? Is that even attainable during these uncertain times? Once we look a little closer at what we mean by relentless peace, I think that we will all agree that relentless peace is not only attainable but, in fact, necessary to grow through what we are going through.
If you are a superhero or action movie fan, you have more than likely noticed that the main character possesses this inexplicable cool confidence, this inner peace. He or she may be walking out of an exploding building, walking into battle with aliens, diving into the ocean to rescue a pilot, or defending their crown and their nation’s resources, but they make it all look like just another day at work. While these superheroes do make it look almost easy, the writers are careful to let us see that there are moments of doubt, missteps, and even fear. The important lesson that we learn from these characters is that they never stay in the fear and doubt for long. These great men and women of fiction have been trained from a young age to relentlessly default back to a state of calm quiet strength and renewed focus of purpose. If you are not a superhero or action movie fan, please stay with me, I’m going somewhere with this.
Here in the real world, we have seen enough research on the brain to understand how much we can impact our daily lives by attempting to control not our thoughts necessarily, but the thoughts that we allow to stick, the ones that we entertain. We have seen many examples of how this works throughout history as well as in the Bible. When we picture Paul in prison, I don’t know about you, but I never picture him panicking. In fact, the Bible tells us that we would most likely find Paul praising in his prison cell, singing out and thereby encouraging fellow inmates and literally saving the soul of his guard. When we read about Jesus holding a giant picnic for thousands while He told them captivating stories about how to live and giving them a glimpse of heaven, do you picture him frenzied and frustrated or peaceful and loving? There were countless moments where Jesus or Paul could have justifiably become frustrated, for example, Paul being imprisoned simply for trying to tell the world the best news ever and Jesus still having to answer the question of “Who is this man?” when He had shown time and time again that He was clearly the Messiah. Jesus and Paul maintained their peace by relentlessly focusing on their purpose and continually connecting with the Father. Like we talked about in July, they were no strangers to relentless prayer. Jesus demonstrated for us and Paul understood the need for that ongoing conversation between our hearts and the heart of God. It is the way that we line up our will and purpose with God’s will, which ultimately brings His perfect peace. As we look around today, there are so many things pressing in on us that are the opposite of peaceful. For many moms (especially in the South), August means back to school time, when we typically are back to school shopping and looking forward to first day of school photos and all of things, but this year we are understandably worried and everything is so different. We are sending our kiddos either physically back to school or back to school online knowing that neither will look the same as it has in the past. We are all hoping that we are making the best decision possible for our children. To make matters worse, we keep receiving conflicting messages from doctors, news media, and government officials about this deadly virus, and the best way to deal with it. Add to all of this the ups and downs and triumphs and heartbreaks that accompany even the most diverse attempt to bridge a racial divide and bring about true permanent change. Whether we think we are ready or not, this is a pivotal moment in our movie, only this is not fiction. I’m not in any way comparing the severity, of course, but this is real like the suffering of Jesus and real like the trials that Paul endured. Our response is going to require the calm courage of a superhero and the real example in The Word of how we relentlessly pursue that peace that only God can provide. This does not mean that we can’t cut ourselves some slack, have days in our pjs, and just do well to exist. In fact at times, this pursuit may be as much about sitting at the feet of Jesus as it is about taking action.
Over the next month, we at Shazzy Fitness invite you to go on a journey with us. Sometimes it will be about rest and just remembering that God is in control and other times it will be an adventure requiring you to adjust your imaginary cape, straighten your very real mask, put on the full armor of God and get ready to relentlessly battle for your peace. Don’t worry, we have a plan and we are going into battle with you, against all of the noise and the noise makers that are trying to steal our peace.
We are going to take an OT & NT approach to regaining our focus and retaining our peace. Each week, take these verses and write them on index cards or slips of paper. Highlight or circle the word PEACE. Then put the index cards or paper somewhere that will catch your attention throughout the day. Maybe even go to a Bible app and create a graphic of these verses to put on your phone or computer screen. These verses are to remind us of where our peace comes from and that we need to apply that relentless prayer from last month (see blog entry titled Relentless Prayer) to achieve the peace of God which transcends all understanding. Over the next four weeks, when someone tries to steal your peace, think of how calm superheroes stay even in the face of an enemy. Concentrate on your breathing, let yourself feel grateful for your breath. Think about Paul singing in his cell, picture Jesus sitting in the grass smiling and feeding thousands from a little boy’s lunchbox. Seek to find your peace each day, and if for some reason it eludes you that day, seek it the next, that is why it is called Relentless Peace.
Week 1 – Job 22:21 & Philippians 4: 6, 7 & 8
Week 2 – Isaiah 54:13 & Hebrews 12:14
Week 3 – Isaiah 54:10 & II Thessalonians 3:16
Week 4 – Isaiah 26:3 & John 14:27
Remember, friend, we are right here with you. We praying with you and for you. You have your Shazzy family fighting alongside you as we relentlessly pursue peace in our hearts that will ultimately overflow to bring much needed peace to our world.