What if peace is the real superpower?
Anyone else feel like recent events, like Toto outing the phony Wizard of Oz, have pulled back a cosmic curtain and exposed Control as an illusion? It feels like Fear’s mocking us as Control’s stripped away and we’re left stunned by the fresh awareness of just how fragile lies the balance preserving the world’s semblance of stability.
But does this mean we’re left emptyhanded? Or, has God just forced us to drop weapons we weren’t made to handle and reminded us that peace is the superpower He always meant for us to wield?
Recognize the Battle
For to make sense, we must first recognize we’re in the middle of a vicious battle for our minds. On one side, voices preach fear with all the fervor of doomsday evangelists. The gravity of the situation tempts us to stay tuned into their channel. But working out to that beat only saps our strength.
Drop the Wrong Weapons
As we wake up to the realities of battle, we’d better learn which weapons to drop. A long time ago, the Apostle Paul reminded Christians in Corinth:
“We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)
Fear and worry – along with the illusion of control – are the enemy’s flying monkeys. We need to drop them like a Covid-saturated Kleenex.
Claim the Superpower of Peace
Once we do, our hands are free to hold the weapons custom made for us. Paul describes spiritual strength training in Philippians 4 when he writes:
“Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.”
And the result?
“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7, emphasis mine)
As believers in Jesus, peace is one of our superpowers. It’s also our birthright. But however simple it seems to say, “Don’t worry,” we know it’s infinitely harder to do when the stomach twists, the mind races in the night, and tears seem always at the ready. Right now we’re in a battle, not a drill.
The Roles of Prayer and Gratitude
How do we claim peace and power up, in the midst of a global pivot no less? These times call not for wishful thinking but for disciplined practice. And prayer and gratitude flex the muscles we want to develop superhuman strength.
While stifling cares opens the door to fear and worry, unleashing them through prayer paves the pathway to peace. Something shifts in us when we accept God’s invitation to tell Him what we’re thinking and feeling. Similarly, gratitude shifts our focus from our weaknesses to our strengths. This boosts everything, from our breathing to our brain waves.
Peace is a gift and an exercise, a grace and a choice. As we learn to own this superpower, we replace toxic thoughts with true. (Philippians 4:8-9) We surrender our worries and fears to God, and He meets us in our need in new ways. Sisters and brothers, we’re not alone, not on this – or any other – battlefield.
Questions for Reflection
These questions are helping me survey my mental landscape and flex my spiritual muscles:
- Am I fighting fear by focusing on what’s true, honorable, right, pure and lovely?
- Are the voices I’m listening to shoring up fear’s position or advancing peace?
- Are my own words an invitation to peace or to panic?
- Am I advancing with my Spirit led strengths or retreating under the weight of the wrong weapons?
- How is this battle exposing idols lurking in my heart and mind?
With the Spirit’s Help, Replace Idols with Peace
I’ve wrestled with this last question especially during quarantine, and here’s what I’m realizing: it’s outed my idol of control. Worry, fear and anxiety are all clues that point to my need to smash it and turn its place in my heart over to peace. Always keeping in mind that I won’t win without the Holy Spirit’s help.
While the enemy rushes to shame us for not getting this perfect right out of the gate, the Father’s cheering on our every effort. He never expected us to master this on our first attempt … or our fifty seventh! He knows we’ll practice and fail, and practice and improve, and practice until, finally, we see some success. He’s not impatient because He knows where this is headed. And He knows we win.
Anyone else find it ironic that we’re fighting this virus at Easter? There’s no more graphic demonstration in all of history of how something can be both the worst evil and the most amazing grace. Jesus’ death and resurrection didn’t just pull the curtain aside. His power ripped it wide open, revealing the impotence of our idols and reminding us of the strong peace found only in Him. And at this time in history, He’s inviting us anew to pick up the weapon of peace, power up through prayer and gratitude, and step into our destiny with renewed strength.