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  • Writer's pictureAdelee Russell

Why can't I feel God's peace?

Philippians 4:6-7 "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus" (NLT).

The tension rises; the anxiety mounts. I utter a quick prayer to God: "Please give me peace..." And then I go about my life just as anxious as I was before and I wonder why God didn't answer my prayer and make my anxiety go away.

Let me be clear: I believe we should pray at all times in all occasions (1 Thessalonians 5:17-19). And I believe that includes quick prayers like "help me!" But I also believe there is so much more to our relationship with God, and there is so much more He wants to bless us with.

God is all about relationship. And as a loving Heavenly Father, He is ALL about our growth and maturity. He is all about giving us the tools we need and the instruction we crave to help us do things we never thought we could do and think in ways we never thought we could think.

Because of this, He does not always give us instant gratification (in fact most of the time He doesn't). James 4:8 tells us "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you..." (ESV). God gives us an invitation into His presence. He gives us an invitation to victory, and peace, and joy, and strength, and all the blessings of His Spirit. But He requires that we take a step of faith and meet Him in the middle with a spirit of willingness and surrender.

Let's see how this concept can be applied to Philippians 4:6-7:

"Don't worry about anything..." Here we discover we actually have a choice. Because God promises to give us the power to do what pleases Him (Philippians. 2:13). We can choose not to wallow in our worry. We can choose not to pour all our energy into our anxious thought patterns.

"Instead, pray about everything..." We can choose instead to pour our energy into bringing our worries and anxieties to God.

"Tell God what you need..." We can be honest about everything. And we can ask for His help with the confidence that He delights in providing for all of our needs with perfect timing and infinite wisdom.

"And thank him for all he has done..." Yes, there are times our hearts feel so broken we don't think we can bring ourselves to this step. And yes, God holds us in those moments. But if we ever want to grow and change and find victory there comes a time when we have to learn how to push aside all the lies of the enemy and declare the goodness of God in our lives. There comes a time when we have to push our jumbled feelings aside and praise God in faith. Acknowledging everything He has done for us in the past and (in doing so) setting our expectations on what He is fully capable of doing in the future.

"Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus..." That word "then" means this is a conditional promise. Or as I like to put it, an "interactive" promise. God requires our interaction and participation for some of His promises with the goal of growing us up in Christ and gifting us with deeper intimacy with Him.

So often I utter a quick "please give me peace" to God without doing any of the things God has already laid out for me that He promises will lead me to His peace. I want the results without the maturing, relationship-deepening work it takes to receive those results.

It's convicting, but it also gives me hope. Because I know that whenever I have followed His lead He has come through. Whenever I choose--through an act of my will--to refuse to wallow in worry... whenever I pour out every need and every desire to my Heavenly Father... whenever I turn my eyes away from the circumstances I don't understand and onto the God I know has worked miracles in the past... whenever I do these things, He gives me His peace that passes all understanding... just like He promised.

Philippians 4:9, "Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me--everything you heard and saw me doing. Then the peace of God will be with you" (NLT).

Colossians 1:23, "But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don't drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News..." (NLT).

Colossians 2:6, "And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness."

Philippians 1:6, "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns" (NLT).

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