I thought all was well when I woke up on the Monday morning. I had a perfect peace like never before. And it lasted about half the day. I tried hard not to upset the peace, but, eventually, for some reason, my “old life” came back into full swing again. What had happened? On the previous day, at church, I had gone forward to receive prayer. The pastor of the church, Ken, had laid his hands on my head. He had asked God to give me peace. I awoke the next morning, on the Monday, with an incredible peace. It was a peace like I have never experienced before. You don’t want to miss out on a peace like that.
As the week went on, however, the peace began to diminish. In fact, even on the Monday itself, in the latter part of the day, I began to lose that wonderful, God-given, peace. What happened? Evidently, the same type of thoughts that I had before the peace came to me began to return to me. It seemed, therefore, that there was something about me that was causing these thoughts to come to the surface. Perhaps it was an insecurity of some sort. And yet, one thing was certain. Through the power of prayer, Ken was able to virtually eliminate these thoughts which had been in me — and yet, only for a time.
“Norm” Not Peace
On the day of the perfect peace, I learned something surprising. What I was normally accustomed to in my daily life was not perfect peace. This is something I would have never known if Ken hadn’t put his hands on my head and prayed for me that day. I would have never known that such a perfect peace could have existed. (Well, in fact, I do think I have experienced a peace like that several times before, but these have been far and few between.) The peace that was brought to me by Ken putting his hands on my head and praying for me that day was a wonderful indication to me that my “norm,” as it were, was not one of perfect peace.
What is peace? Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”1 Obviously, when Jesus said this, he was talking about heart issues, for he would have never said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” if this were not so. I think that when Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid,” he was saying, “In me, there is nothing to be afraid of.” In other words, when we decide to trust him completely, there is nothing to be afraid of. In that case, we will experience the perfect peace which he has promised to all those who truly believe in him and desire to follow him.
Learning To Keep The Peace
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could experience supernatural, God-given, peace, 24 hours a day? I believe it is possible. However, it may take some time before we are really able to do this. We need to learn how to be able to trust Jesus every step of the way.
Why was I not able to keep the peace which God imparted to me through the laying on of Ken’s hands that day? Well, Ken did what he could. He laid his hands on me and prayed for me. God’s answer to Ken’s prayer was a gift of God to me. I really appreciated that, because it was a supernatural peace like I have never experienced before. However, God did not give Ken the job of keeping that peace for me that day. That was my responsibility. And that meant that I had to trust Jesus completely, every step of the way. Unfortunately, though, I didn’t.
Implications Of Not Trusting
Now that you have heard the good news, I would like to share with you the bad. The reason I am sharing this with you is because I would like you to be able to fully understand the implications of what it means to either trust God or not trust him, every step of the way. The results can be quite good or quite devastating, depending upon what you decide to do!
As I said before, receiving that wonderful peace was amazing. I really appreciated it. But I didn’t keep that peace, because I wasn’t willing to trust Jesus completely. In fact, when I say that I wasn’t willing to trust him completely, it has nothing to do with a conscious desire not to trust him. Rather, I was unwilling to believe that he loved me unconditionally. Let me explain.
As the week went on, something happened. Those disturbing thoughts that I didn’t know existed before Ken prayed for me began to come back. They were disturbing thoughts, to be sure. The reason I say they were disturbing is because they made me feel upset and disturbed in my thoughts, as though I was a dirty, unacceptable, and ugly person. And yet, the truth is that I am a fully accepted person, precisely because Jesus died for me on the cross, and thereby paid the penalty for my sins. When he did this, he made me accepted — he called me one of his own. And I know that I am a child of God, because I have decided to trust Jesus for the forgiveness of my sins.
When those thoughts began to return, it was as though someone came up to me and said, “You’re not really accepted! You’ll have to do much better than that if you think you’ll be able to be accepted by God!” The basis of this type of thinking, however, does not come from God. It is based on worldly teachings which say that we must earn points with God in order to be accepted. Sometimes, this type of thinking can even be demonic. These are the types of thoughts I was receiving — and have been receiving — for a long long time. However, I would have never really known this if Ken hadn’t laid his hands on my head that day. Somehow, the laying on of his hands had an extreme effect upon me. But I blew it, by not continuing to trust Jesus completely.
Jesus says we are accepted and loved by him, no matter what anyone says. We can be 100% sure of that. However, when those disturbing thoughts started coming back to me, I began to agree with them, by saying things like this, in my mind, “I agree, I’m no good. I’ll never be any good unless I try harder.” Was this a proper response to unholy suggestions? The Bible says we are supposed to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ,”2 indicating that not all thoughts which we have are our own. My response, therefore, was not a good one. I did not respond in a godly way, but rather should have detected that these thoughts were not in accordance with the teachings of God’s word (the Bible).
My wife came along after that, and something she said or did made me feel like she was against me. In fact, it was those disturbing thoughts which made me feel like she was against me — it was not her at all (this type of thing can really cause confusion in a relationship, because it may well seem like the other person doesn’t accept you when in fact it is the “ugly (and sometimes demonic) thoughts that are trying to actually put a wedge between you and your spouse). That is the truth, because the fact is that my wife is rarely against me. She is a lovely lady, just like the day I married her. And yet, unfortunately, I have often believed the foreign thoughts that have been put in my head, to my own shame, and to the discredit of my own “calling” as a Christian. (What a terrible shame and I do admit it.)
Do you know something? I could have chosen not to believe those thoughts. I could have chosen to have said, “No, I will not be persuaded by thougths which pit me against my spouse. I choose to believe the best, and not the worst about my spouse, in accordance with the Bible, which says, “Love beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”3 It was my choice as to what I was going to choose to believe. I could either choose to believe the “bad” thoughts, or reject them. I could choose to believe that I was accepted, just because Jesus died for me, or, I could allow those thoughts to pit me against my spouse. The choice was really, mine. You see, what we decide to believe about who we are can mean a lot about how we are going to live our lives, and about how we are going to treat others. If we don’t firmly decide to accept that we are accepted, then, of course, many “thoughts” will come along to try and shake us in our faith and our commitment to the Lord and others.
Test Of Faith
You might say that, as those thoughts were going through my mind that day, I was being tested by God to see how strong my faith was. Was I strong enough to resist those thoughts and instead focus on what I had learned about God’s acceptance of me through the teachings of the Bible, God’s word? In other words, was I man enough (or woman enough, in the case of a woman) to keep the peace which God had given me through the laying on of hands by Ken? This was the real question. Of course, we all failed now and then. Not everyone could be expected to “keep the peace,” so to speak, 100% of the time. God knew that. We all know that. But, in general, was I man enough to resist the lies which were being thrown at me? This was the real question. And, that day, it was a real test for me as to what I would decide to do.
That day, I got radically upset with my wife, because I felt that she did something against me. However, the truth was that I was receiving bad thoughts in my mind, and these thoughts caused me to believe that my wife was against me when, in fact, she wasn’t at all. She only loved me and wanted the best for me. In fact, my wife did little, if anything, to provoke me that day. But I myself did a lot to provoke her. The end result was that we got into a really bad fight in the car, as we were driving along. In the end, I stood there with the car door open, pleading with my wife to come back to me, along with our little two year old boy which she had, who himself really couldn’t understand what was going on. I myself felt heartbroken at that time, and knew that I had really blown it.
Being Found Faithful
In fact, that day, the real issue was whether or not I was going to trust Jesus. Jesus had said it so clearly, when he said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”4 When he said that, he was saying, “There’s no need to be afraid, and there’s no need to let your hearts become troubled.” Why? Because Jesus loves us and accepts us, just as we are, even if we have done bad things in our lives. We don’t have to feel ugly about ourselves anymore, because Jesus went to the cross to wipe away our sins — that is, if you are a truly committed, born-again, Christian believer.5
Jesus loves us just like a big brother. He is that close to us. So why should I be afraid of what another person thinks of me? Am I man enough (or woman enough, as the case may be) to trust Jesus completely, every step of the way? This is the real question.
One day, we are all going to have to give an account for what we have said, and for how we have treated the people God has put into our lives. Today, I believe God is saying to us, through the words of Jesus, “Do not let your hearts be afraid”, and, “Trust me.” This means putting your trust in Jesus, not only as your Lord and Saviour, but also as the One who loves you and accepts you unconditionally all the time.
Trusting Jesus means not being provoked by others. It also means not paying attention to disturbing thoughts. You know, I will bet that if we begin to “take captive every thought” which we receive, as the Bible says we should, by casting down the bad ones (ones which perhaps may come from Satan), and giving proper attention to the good ones (ones which perhaps may come from God), then we will soon be able to live a life which is characterized by perfect peace, all of the time.
(2)2 Corinthians 10:4-5
(3)1 Corinthians 13:7
(5)See John 3:3