Tag Archives: Peace of God

Winning the Battle Over Depression – Part IV – Overcoming Anxiety through Prevention

This series comes as a result of a friend who battles with depression asking that I write something on the topic that may help her. This series looks at depression from a biblical perspective. I hope it helps anyone struggling with depression in some way.
Note: I encourage you to read the earlier posts associated with this series to give yourself the best opportunity to get the most out of this topic. Click on the following links for the first three installments of the series: Part I – Root cause of depression & Part II – What anxiety does to the heart & Part III – Root cause of anxiety

Overcoming Anxiety

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad

– Proverbs 12:25

We can overcome depression by employing strategies that are implicit in the same foundational scripture that forms the bedrock of this series: (1) Stopping anxiety from getting into our hearts (2) Expelling the anxiety that enters our heart before it has a chance to morph into depression.

To effectively overcome depression, both strategies much be employed. While learning how to prevent anxiety from travelling from your mind into your heart is the preferred strategy, no one on this earth will be 100% effective at executing this strategy. Therefore, it is equally as important to learn how to extricate anxiety form your heart.

Stopping Anxiety From Getting Into Your Heart

To stop anxiety from getting into your heart, you have to guard your heart. The bible puts it this way: Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life (Proverbs 4:23). The best way to guard your heart can be found in the following scripture:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds – Philippians 4:6-7

Point A: The peace of God guards our hearts as we humbly submit everything to God.

Whatever we do not submit to God, we take responsibility for, and we try to exercise control over. While taking responsibility is generally a good thing, there are many things we cannot and should not try to control. These include things such as what others will do, and what will happen in the future. It is only when we get rid of our illusion of control will we become humble enough to submit our situation into the hands of a supreme being.

Point B: Prayer is the bedrock of humility. It diverts anxiety from travelling into our heart and into the hands of God.

Prayer says “I can’t do it by myself, God I need you”. Hence, prayer is the language of humility. This does not mean that your situation will change immediately, if at all. What it does do is prevent your heart from being infected with anxiety.

Unfortunately, we often think of prayer as the last resort in our lives. Have you ever heard, “there is nothing more to do now but pray”. Have you said it yourself? This is an attitude that speaks to our tendency to want to feel a sense of control. While this may be good for our ego’s, it does nothing to relieve us of stress and anxiety.

Whatever you think you should have control over is what you will stress over or have anxiety over.

For peace of mind, prayer should be your first resort and not your last resort. Therefore, pray more and pray often. Let go of control and watch peace flood your heart.

In the next blog, I will address how to overcome anxiety through perspective.

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I Had Peace But My Relationship Still Fell To Pieces!

“You know how the pastor said not to do anything without peace? Well, I kept myself pure, got the consent of my parents, went through marriage counseling, and had great peace about the man I was marrying. Yet he turned out to be the wrong one. Emmanuel, I had peace but my marriage fell to pieces.”

It was clear that my friend’s previous experience was challenging the truth that had been preached. Choosing not to open a can of worms, I stuck to the topic of peace! To her comment, I replied:

Peace does not reveal the will of God for your life (the word from God does that); Peace confirms that you are moving in faith as you follow the will of God for your life. Moreover, there is a difference between the peace from God and the peace from man

PEACE OF GOD

Consider the scene in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus’ sweat became as droplets of blood as he resisted sin. The passage of scripture in Luke 22 tells us that Jesus was in anguish. In other words, peace was the last word we can use to describe what Jesus felt in the garden as he asked the Father if there was any other way to bring salvation to men besides going to the cross. If Jesus had simply said “I do not have peace about going to the cross”, he would have missed the will of God. But Jesus already knew the will of God, so he prayed to the father for help. In turn, the Lord sent  an angel to strengthen him and he left the garden in peace.

Thus, just because we do not have peace about something does not mean it is not the will of God for our lives. It may very well mean that we have not surrendered to the will of God for our lives. Once we know the will of God and surrender to it will the peace of God come over us.

 Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus – Philippians 4:6

The pre-requisite to the peace of God is prayer, petition, and a heart of thanksgiving as we move by faith in the will of God.

No faith equals no peace; only anxiety ensues!

PEACE OF MAN

Conversely, the peace of man can be very dangerous because it is based on previous experience, comfort, and can be tainted by our own will. Consider the children of Israel who decided not to go into the Promised Land. They had no peace about it because they saw the giant opposition they had to face. Yet, it was the will of God to go into the land to possess it. The giants they saw in the land dissuaded them so much that they forgot all about the promise of God. In other words, they walked by sight and not by faith.

Though they had peace about their decision to stay put in the wilderness, it was the wrong decision. You know the end of the story. All of them except two that had no peace about staying in the wilderness died in the wilderness. In other words, the peace of God would have taken them to their destiny but the peace of man led them to destruction. So next time you have peace, make sure the source of your peace is from God.

The peace of God follows the will of God, but the peace of man follows the will of man.

Consider the wicked. The peace that comes from God does not go with them (Isaiah 57:21) but they certainly experience the peace that comes from doing their own will (see Proverbs 4:14-16 below).

Don’t set foot on the path of the wicked;
don’t proceed in the way of evil ones.
Avoid it; don’t travel on it.
Turn away from it, and pass it by.
 For they can’t sleep
unless they have done what is evil;
they are robbed of sleep
unless they make someone stumble – Proverbs 4:14 – 16

Some people do not have peace unless they do what is justified in their own eyes but not necessarily justified in the eyes of the Lord. If you have ever felt great peace only after taking justice into your own hands and repaying evil for evil – saying to yourself that the person got what they deserved – then you know what it is to have the peace of man.

Friend, jut because you have peace does not mean you are in the will of God. Only let the peace that comes from God be your umpire.

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