Perfect Peace

Text: Psalm 119:161-168

Real peace is not the absence of conflict. Real peace is calm in the midst of the storm.

As Christians, we know this to be true better than any other. Not because Christians are the only ones who suffer in this world. But because Christians are the only ones who know the Prince of Peace, who know what it is to have Jesus comfort us and give us peace in our most difficult times.

How does this happen – not just for the psalmist, but for us today? And how does God’s Word help remedy that?

God increases our peace by:

1. Freeing us from the fear of man    (vv. 161-163)

Fear of man steals our peace, and the fear of God restores it. To see this connection is important. Because what we fear will reveal what we worship.

Likewise, what I fear also connects to my joy. If I fear man, then I feel good when man approves of me, when I please others. But if I have a holy fear of God, then my joy is found in Him. My identity is rooted in what He says about me rather than what man says.

So, stop and ask the question, “What do I fear? What thought, what possibility fills me with fear?” It could be poverty. It could be a physical illness. It could be something happening to our children. It could be fear of hidden sin being exposed. The list is endless. And while it’s true that not all fears are the same, the remedy is the same – finding my identity in Christ alone.

2. Growing in us a grateful heart of worship    (vv. 164-165)

[164] Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules.

In the Bible, seven is number of completion. This is a way of saying, “God, I give you all the praise – totally and completely.” He is praising God, specifically for His rules, His commands, and His truths we are to live out in reflection of God’s own character.

Praise is rooted in gratitude. I am aware of God’s goodness to me. I am grateful. And I say so.

I can’t have godly peace and a complaining heart. My heart has to change. Dwelling on the problem causes more stress, more fear, more anxiety. But choosing to praise God – in specific ways throughout my day, especially when I’m in a trial – brings truth to light, it brings stability, and it brings peace to my soul.

3.  Reminding us His hope leads to a changed life    (vv. 166-168)

The psalmist is connecting his hope in God to obedience to God’s word. We often don’t have peace in our hearts because we are not living changed lives. Hope in God’s salvation (His rescue, His faithfulness) brings about a willingness and a motive to obey God’s commands.

If we say we hope in God, but we don’t live in a way that honors Christ, we have faith without works, and that’s deception. And if we try and live a good life without hoping in God, we have good works without faith, and that’s empty religion.

God has called us by His Son and empowered us with His Spirit that we would be able to live the kind of life the Bible commands. And obedience to God’s word was never meant to be merely and obligation, but it was meant to be a joy.

Look to Christ – it is through His perfect obedience that He found His joy complete in the Father. We are given Christ’s perfect righteousness, and we are called to live righteous lives in obedience to Scripture.

God used the psalmist’s pen, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to point us forward to Jesus, the Prince of Peace. He is with you, holding you up, giving you strength, restoring your joy, and has promised to give you a peace that passes all understanding.

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