This is the third in a mini-series about having peace in the midst of stress through a healthy understanding of our identity, particularly as a follower of Christ. A quick recap for those who are just jumping in:
- Knowing whose we are gives confidence and alleviates the stress of others trying to define us. We are either a child of God through our adoption or we are a child of the evil one to who we were all naturally born.
- Knowing who you’re trying to please will determine life goals and guide daily decisions. We can’t please everyone but we can live to please one. That mindset relieves the stress of people-pleasing performance.
Let’s see what we can learn from our Master, Jesus today. In response to accusations from the Pharisees Jesus says, “My testimony is true, because I know where I came from and where I am going…” (John 8:14, CSB). It is clear Jesus knows who he is and his mission—the work he came to do.
Knowing our purpose will keep us focused. We may face pressure to change course or choose a particular action, Jesus did. When Jesus taught in Galilee the crowds tried to keep him from leaving. Jesus remained calm, confident, and centered on his mission. “When it was day, he went out and made his way to a deserted place. But the crowds were searching for him. They came to him and tried to keep him from leaving them. But he [Jesus] said to them, ‘It is necessary for me to proclaim the good news about the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because I was sent for this purpose’” (Luke 4:42-43, CSB).
In another gospel, it appears some of the disciples may have tried to persuade Jesus to stay in Galilee. “Simon and his companions searched for him, and when they found him they said, ‘Everyone is looking for you.’ And he [Jesus] said to them, ‘Let’s go on to the neighboring villages so that I may preach there too. This is why I have come’” (Mark 1:36-38, CSB). Jesus maintained priority on obedience to Father God rather than popularity with people. A resolve like that produces peace!
Long before Jesus came to the earth, the prophet Isaiah spoke of this kind of peace. It comes from trust in the Lord and by living with a singular purpose.
“You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in the Lord forever,
For in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength”
(Isaiah 26:3-4, NKJV).
Paul uses the analogy of a runner who has their eyes on the finish line. Great runners don’t look behind, at the crowd, or at other runners, their eyes are set on the end of the race. They do not allow themselves to get distracted. “Since we are surrounded by so many examples of faith, we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up. We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1-2, GW).
As followers of Christ, our focus is Jesus but how that is lived out varies. Look how different these lives were but they have a commonality, it is their faith and obedience to God the Father. Noah built an ark on dry land; Moses lead a stubborn and rebellious nation; Esther requested unsolicited presence with the king; David lived many years in hiding; Mary and Joseph believed in the impossible (immaculate conception); and so many more. Each story is different but each of the examples are people who trusted God and his plans. Like Jesus, they knew their purpose.
Dear reader, through the power of the Holy Spirit we can have a strong confident identity. Like Jesus, we can live and respond in peace regardless of circumstances. Do you practice peace in the midst of stressful events as Jesus did? Like Jesus and the great examples of obedient faith, do you know your purpose?
Father God, thank You for having a plan and purpose for me despite my own sins or circumstances. Give me a tenacious determination to fix my gaze upon You the author and finisher of my faith. I don’t have power, within myself, to live as Jesus did but You provided the ability through the Holy Spirit.
Restrain the enemy of my soul, the inciter of chaos. Silence his whispered lies and fill me with the strength to run the race well, completing the mission You prepared in advance for me to do. Thank You for the perfection of Your timing and Your plans. In Jesus name. Amen.
I am a follower of Jesus Christ, grandmother, great-grandmother, foster care parent, and trauma survivor. I enjoy sipping tea, writing devotionals, prayers, short stories, and unburdening my heart to the Lord. Check the About section if you want to read more of my story.
Copyright © 2020-2021 Musings of Manette Kay™ All rights reserved. Requests to the author and publisher, Manette Kay, for permission.
Runners image by Ponchai nakumpa from Pixabay.com
Quotation added by Manette Kay.