By Pastor Martin M. Perez
Luke 19:42 says, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.”
It’s a new year and many are thinking about resolutions. Did you make any this year? As you meditated over the last year, have you determined that this year, by God’s grace, you’ll do better, live better, love better? If so, how’s it going so far?
My motto for this year, and perhaps a lofty resolution at that, is to be “Stress free in ’23.” We’re 18 days in at the writing of this article and let me tell ya, it’s pretty stressful to keep stress free! I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been stressed, anxious, frustrated, annoyed, or offended. Blue Monday is no joke.
During Jesus’ time, Israel had access to great and supernatural peace and blessings but because they rejected Jesus, they wrote for themselves a judgement that would cause much heartache, pain, and suffering. We read the narrative and think, How could they possibly reject Jesus?! How could they not see that He wanted to bless them and save them and give them peace that surpasses understanding?! With great incredulity we judge them, perhaps, thinking that if we were there, we would’ve done things differently. But would we?
We take our day-to-day for granted, generally speaking. Many times, we’re on autopilot just trying to get through the day. We often don’t realize that we too have all access to heaven’s blessings and peace, yet we still experience stress, anxiety, frustration, annoyance, offense, and worst of all, fear.
This week, As I’ve heard our brothers and sisters talk in our 10 Days of Prayer meetings, it is confirmed that we, as a group, still have room to grow in the peace and stress-free department. As I look into my own life, the Lord has graciously been demonstrating to me that I, almost always, sabotage myself where keeping peace is concerned by relying on my default or instinctual reactions to a challenging situation.
How do you fare? In Jesus we have everything we need to live lives of peace, a peace that will not be shaken by our circumstances, a peace that is not contingent on exterior forces, a peace that is firmly rooted on the solid foundation of Jesus. But it takes a conscious faith-decision to choose Jesus In every situation, no matter what. We’re fighting our own nature when we choose Jesus instead of giving in to our negative emotions.
In the words of that old song, “In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus. You can have all this world, give me Jesus!” Israel rejected Jesus, but we don’t have to. In our day-to-day, in the mundane decisions, in the daily routine, choose Jesus. When someone cuts you off in traffic, parks too close to your car, or you get a flat tire – choose Jesus. When your boss at work, out of nowhere, starts riding you, or your workload starts piling up with no end in sight, when your paycheck just isn’t enough, choose Jesus! When your spouse starts nagging, your kids are loud and getting on your nerves, choose Jesus!
It takes faith to do this, but in exercising faith in the face of these and so many countless situations, we WILL experience Jesus, the One who gives us peace. We will see Him work, we will be amazed, and we will fall ever deeper in love with our Lord and Savior.