Peace is the one commodity that is in short supply in this world. For some, peace means no more war. For others it means no more stress.
But one thing is certain; the whole world is crying out for peace. The destroyer is ravaging the land. Mothers are crying in Allepo because their government has just bombed their apartment building. Lives in the third world are collapsing around the globe through war and economic woes, flattening any chance for peace.
Even in Western Europe and North America, peace eludes the people, who, awash in material possessions, do not realize the age old adage that wealth alone can’t bring happiness, that “money can’t buy me love,” that true peace only comes as a spiritual by-product, from a life directed by one’s Creator.
Peace. What does the Creator say about it? Peace is a component of the “fruit of the Spirit.” When the Spirit of God resides in us, we will have peace.
But this peace still remains elusive. What does the Word say about what exactly brings peace—complete and utter peace? “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee” (Isa. 26: 3). First, God keeps the peace there in us. It is His doing. Second, He does this as our minds steadfastly think on Him.
Some will say that this is impossible. How can we think about God all the time? But let’s think about this for a minute. Even though our minds are occupied by a host of thoughts in any given day, the Savior tells us to not think on the earthly things that the masses are pre-occupied with—what to eat, wear, and all the other things like pleasure, jobs, etc. Our earthly life should not be the center of our thinking. It won’t bring peace.
So, what thoughts are we to think and to train our minds to think on? “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [earthly things like food, clothing, entertainment] will be added unto you” (Matt. 6: 33).
Christ just taught in verse 31-32 to “take no thought” about the earthly things. This tells us that “thinking” turns into “seeking.” So how do we “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”? We think about them. We meditate on his rule and government that will soon fill this whole earth, and we contemplate on the state of being right with Him.
This is how we seek His kingdom—by thinking about it as much as we can every day.
But there is a caveat in all this. Our thoughts must be based on sound knowledge. If we are meditating on concepts that are in error, do we believe this is acceptable with God? Our thoughts about God must be rid of false teachings, doctrine, and concepts about Him and His plan. He commands us in many places to “purge out the old leaven,” and He many times warns us to not follow false teachers and false prophets (II Peter 2: 1-22; Jude 4-8).
But this is the hard part of the Christian walk—this ridding ourselves of false doctrines and concepts. Difficult, but extremely necessary, if we are to be assured in our hearts and have confidence with God.
How do we know what is false and what is true? Yesterday’s light won’t illuminate the path of the elect in these latter days, so you can’t depend on the light that your parents and grand-parents had, or the light your preacher has, who got it from teachers and preachers who haven’t received anything new in 50 years. Depending on them won’t cut it.
How do we get rid of the false doctrines about Him and His plan? By sincerely praying and asking God to reveal it to us, with a humble and repentant heart. And He will do it. He’ll show us. But we need to break up the fallow ground of our heart knowing full well that when He answers, it will not be what we expected. The elect will find the truth of His plan, if they are willing to lay it all, all prior knowledge under the knife of the husbandman. For “every branch in Me that bears not fruit He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit, the Father purges it that it may bring forth more fruit” (John 15: 2). What is it that the Father will purge or prune out of our minds? He will “purge out the old leaven” of malice, wickedness, hypocrisy, insincerity, and falsehoods (I Cor. 5: 8; Luke 12: 1; Mark 8: 15).
A spiritually young and immature Christian has got a lot of old leaven in there that must be purged by the Father. He will do it, too, but we must submit to this procedure. That is the difficult part.
But afterwards, “it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness” (Heb. 12: 11). Peace that the Master gives. Peace for us in our spirits, peace as one of the fruits of the Spirit. Peace that comes upon thinking on His wonderful plan and purpose according to truth, after the old leaven is gone. Kenneth Wayne Hancock