My peace I give unto you, not as the world gives...
The world gives peace by having everything placid and in place, no problems, no questions, no doubts, no worries. All is going right. We're sitting on the quiet beach enjoying the quiet shusshing of the waves...safe and secure and content. That's not the peace our Lord gives. It's a peace, but it's one that everyone can have if the circumstances are right.
His peace is one that is not dependent on our circumstances. It's based in our mental attitude and our understanding of who we are and who God is. It's based on our decisions to think certain things and not think other things.
We are told in Hebrews that the only thing we are to fear is not entering into His rest. The ministry I'm a part of refers to that as faith-rest: We have faith that God has everything under control, that He is fully aware of everything that is going on in our lives and that He wants for us His highest and best -- which He is fully able to give. And we rest in that.
A few weeks back as I was settling down to sleep one night it occurred to me that when you are sleeping -- resting -- you are not thinking about your problems. You are asleep! When you are asleep you are not consciously trying to solve your problems. So it should be in life. We apply the appropriate truths to the situation and we stop thinking about it.
How does this relate to the question of the activities one takes on in one's daily life? Can you be at rest while doing things? Of course. It goes back to motivation. Why are you doing the things you are doing? If you are doing so many things you have no time to think, no time to sit and consider God, learn His word, pray. No time to remember him throughout your day because you are constantly consumed with doing the next thing, or the next five things, in a state of constant tension for fear of not getting done everything you've set for yourself to do...and then guilt over what you're obviously not going to get done -- that's not peace. Nor rest.
If we are moving through our days in the confidence that God is the one who will provide all our needs, that God is the one who keeps us alive, that ultimately everything is by His hand, then where is the need for frenzy? Where is the need for taking on more than we have the capacity to handle? If we have placed responsibility for our happiness and blessing totally in Him, why do we still have a mental list of things we have to have and do to make us happy? (Keep a clean house, bake cookies for the class party, have people think well of me...)
The tasks that God places in our lives are there to bless us and help us to grow. But we must stay in control of our mental attitude toward them, and not let the tasks turn into our masters. One of the ways a cult draws its new recruits ever deeper into the fold is to give them lots and lots to do. Keep them constantly busy to the point of exhaustion so they have no time to think about anything but the constant run of things to do. I think the kingdom of darkness does the same to people in general -- believers and unbelievers. Keep them so busy they never have time to think about what they're doing or, more important, why exactly they are doing it.
I know that I, at least, have a tendancy to make to do lists and things others claim are important to be my master. More and more "have to be done" things build up. If I don't stop and step back and take a look, I will run myself ragged, get grumpy and frantic and be completely out of fellowship with God. I try to do it all on my own, without any thought that maybe all these things I "have" or want to do are not God's plan for my life at all. ("They accomplish a plan, but not mine..." Is 30:1)
Thus my motto has become:
There's always time to do the will of God.