I could have peace if I could only get rid of __________________ in my life.
Defining peace by getting rid of something isn’t a long-term solution. Something (or someone) else will quickly fill in the space. Peace isn’t the absence of something; it’s the presence of someone. True peace is the presence of God. We don’t find peace when we lose something; we find peace when we find God and actively live in his presence.
Peace isn’t passive. Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9). We often want to believe peacekeeping, avoiding conflict, will be blessed. But what is blessed, peacemaking, is active.
Peace is something Jesus both leaves with and gives to us (John 14:27). Peace does not result from God taking something away from our lives. Sometimes the pruning of something from our lives reveals an existing peace. It uncovers what is already there. When you ask God to take something from your life, be sure you invite him to pour into your life whatever he intends you to have. He wants you to be filled with his presence. Asking him to rid your life of what is unwanted leaves gaps you’ll naturally fill with more unwanted stuff without an intentional invitational to God to fill the gaps with his preferred provision.
God will always fill the gaps when we yield to him. Consider John 16:25-35.
“I have told you these things indirectly in stories. But the time will come when I will not use stories like that to tell you things; I will speak to you in plain words about the Father. In that day you will ask the Father for things in my name. I mean, I will not need to ask the Father for you. The Father himself loves you. He loves you because you loved me and believed that I came from God. I came from the Father into the world. Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”
Then the followers of Jesus said, “You are speaking clearly to us now and are not using stories that are hard to understand. We can see now that you know all things. You can answer a person’s question even before it is asked. This makes us believe you came from God.”
Jesus answered, “So now you believe? Listen to me; a time is coming when you will be scattered, each to your own home. That time is now here. You will leave me alone, but I am never really alone, because the Father is with me. I told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have trouble, but be brave! I have defeated the world.”
Jesus announces he is leaving, which would seem to be a crushing blow to the disciples who have been following him. However, God doesn’t take something significant away without filling the space with something significant. God knows exactly what we need and what fills the spaces of our lives. Jesus announces his leaving in order to give peace. And the peace can only be found in Jesus himself.
We need to rewrite our sentences.
I can have peace as I find and claim _________________.