Summary: Do you want more peace and contentment? Deepen the intimacy of your relationship with God. The greater the intimacy, the greater the peace. The more consistent the intimacy, the more consistent the peace. And the longer lasting the intimacy, the longer-lasting the peace.
Peace in intimacy. Many of us have grown up hearing that phrase as part of our church culture, but we never stop to ponder what it means. The words are found in Philippians 4:7: And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Even after we have professed our faith in Christ and asked Him to make Himself real to us, there is no guarantee that we will have that peace all the time. In fact, most of us do not have it most of the time. The peace that passes understanding is a state of contentment that flows from knowing all is well even when we don’t necessarily feel that all is well. Some Christians have that peace, that contentment, all the time. All Christians should experience it at least some of the time. In John 14:27, Jesus says, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. In Isaiah 26:3 the psalmist acknowledges, Thou dost keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusts in thee.
What’s the secret? Paul learned the secret of having this peace, this contentment, at all times. He says in Philippians 4:11-13 “for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
Do you want more peace and contentment? Deepen the intimacy of your relationship with God. The greater the intimacy, the greater the peace. The more consistent the intimacy, the more consistent the peace. And the longer lasting the intimacy, the longer-lasting the peace.
Do you experience anxiety? Do you worry about things that are beyond your control to influence or solve? Do you get depressed when things are going badly? If so, you probably have not yet achieved that level of peace that God wants you to have.
Would you like to worry less? Would you like to be anxiety-free? Would you like to be less subject to depression? Would you like to be happy, joyful, and peaceful most of the time? Determine how much time God wants you to spend with Him on a regular basis and then faithfully devote that time to developing intimacy with Him.
More is better. Strange as it may sound, the quantity of time is much more important in the beginning than the quality. If you will spend the quantity of time with God that He wants you to spend, He will see to it that the quality is ultimately there, too. However, it is very difficult to have quality without sufficient quantity. Just catching God on the run is not really what He has in mind. He wants us to give Him a high enough priority that we have lots of uninterrupted time to spend with Him. God created us in His own image primarily to be His friends.
How can we be God’s friends unless we take time to get to know Him? And how can we get to know Him if we do not spend significant quality time with Him? It is hard to imagine having that kind of time. We are so busy taking care of business; we have no time for ourselves, much less for God. So how do we find that time? The first step is to recognize that we are being disobedient to God if we do not find time to spend with Him. Then we can move toward finding that time.
God on your terms! If you think you don’t have time to spend with God, think of the relationship from His perspective. The Creator of the Universe is willing, in the midst of all He has to do, to make Himself available to spend all the time with you that you are willing to offer whenever you are willing to do it. Isn’t that incredible? Not only does God want to spend time with you, but He will also do it on your terms!
Think of it this way. God has a perfect plan for your life. Within that perfect plan is the time He has set aside to spend with you. He is there, waiting for you, whether you ever show up or not. And He will adjust His plans to accommodate yours! Now is that love or what? If you have no consistent time set aside for God, begin with 15 minutes. You can find that anywhere. Just decide not to read the paper until after your time with Him. Or watch 15 minutes less television. Or go to bed 15 minutes earlier so you can get up 15 minutes earlier. Move from 15 minutes to 30 and then aim for an hour. For anyone who is serious about becoming intimate with God, an hour will eventually become a minimum daily requirement. Most people find early morning works well. After you decide how long your time with God should be, figure out what your bedtime must be to allow you enough sleep so you can get up early enough to fit your time with God into your schedule. The key is your bedtime. If you can discipline yourself to go to bed when you decide you should, the rest should work. Without that discipline, it will be hard to maintain that block of priority time for God.
Article by Ken W. Smith, President, and Founder, Christian Stewardship Ministries. The article was published in the April-June 2019 issue of the Dynamic Steward magazine, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 6-7, https://stewardship.adventist.org/2002-6-1.pdf or https://stewardship.adventist.org/page262.