Listen to this devotional
We live in a loud world.
From the moment we wake up until we fall asleep, we are constantly bombarded by things vying for our attention. From our phones to the news media, to our relationships and even our own thoughts, it is difficult to find a moment of peace and quiet.
There are days I think, “If I just shut my phone off, then I can really focus,” or “If I go on a long walk, then I can finally find peace and connect with God.”
For the same reasons, many of us get disheartened after hoping a vacation, a meal, a drink, or shopping will bring us peace and calm us down, only to find that peace is short-lived.
The fact is, the noise will always be there. Trying to control the noise outside thinking we will somehow find calmness on the inside will leave us frustrated and discouraged.
Jesus sets an incredible example of someone who had peace, power, and purpose in a chaotic world. He teaches us by his example how to have a personal relationship with God that quiets the noise.
28 “Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest. 29 Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives. 30 The burden that I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light.”Matthew 11:28-30 (NCV)
In order to find the peace that we are searching for in the midst of life, we must make simple choices to accept Jesus’s teachings and learn from him. He can give us rest from the burdens and relief from the pressures.
33 “I have told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world, you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!”John 16:33 (ERV)
The first step to finding peace is accepting the fact that, in this world, we will have troubles. I spend a lot of time fighting the reality that challenges are a part of life.
I get upset when I face troubles. I think God is somehow punishing me or that it’s unfair, so I resist and brace myself in fear of what will come next.
It is easy to get lost in the noise of bitterness about our circumstances, to blame God and others, and to quit on our faith and relationships when we are going through hard times. The truth is no matter who we are, we will experience both victory and defeat, success and failure, love and loss, and many other ups and downs in life.
The reason Jesus wants us to accept the fact that we will have troubles is that it allows us to understand our limitations and look to him. After all, he is the one who has overcome the world. Troubles teach us to stop relying on ourselves and learn to rely on God.
Jesus reminds us to be brave because we have a relationship with him who has overcome the world. Our courage comes from knowing he goes with us along the way – to guide, support and strengthen us.
8 We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters,[a] about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.2 Corinthians 1:8-9 (NLT)
We can’t learn to rely on God until we stop relying on ourselves.
Recently, our family was hit by health challenges. I was overwhelmed by fears of the unknown and anxiety about getting all the right treatments, medication, and getting help from professionals.
It was easy to get lost in, and even find comfort in, the busy-ness of making calls and trying to find solutions instead of relying on God. These challenges tested my faith. I began to ask myself: Do I really trust God? Do I surrender to his will for my life and his will for my family?
I also learned that my fears and anxieties were rooted in my self-reliance and lack of trust in God. I learned that relying on God isn’t just about asking him for help; it’s about learning to be completely at peace knowing he is in control and knows what is best.
“Don’t worry or surrender to your fear. For you’ve believed in God, now trust and believe in me also.John 14:1 (TPT)
We cannot establish healthy relationships without trust, and it is the same thing in our relationship with God. Jesus teaches us to choose to trust him and rely on him instead of allowing ourselves to be troubled, afraid, or worried.
- How do you respond to troubles and challenges in life?
- What are your challenges teaching you about your limitations?
- How are challenges revealing your level of trust in God?
Learn to build strong
24 “Everyone who hears my teaching and applies it to his life can be compared to a wise man who built his house on an unshakable foundation. 25 When the rains fell and the flood came, with fierce winds beating upon his house, it stood firm because of its strong foundation.
26 “But everyone who hears my teaching and does not apply it to his life can be compared to a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 When it rained and rained and the flood came, with wind and waves beating upon his house, it collapsed and was swept away.”Matthew 7:24-27 (TPT)
When we build our lives on scripture instead of our emotions, other people, and our circumstances, we become unshakable. We can withstand the storms of life because our foundation is strong.
Some of us are finding our faith, our relationships or our character collapsing in times of challenge (especially during the pandemic). Instead of being discouraged or defeated by these, we can choose to recognize that we have not been applying the scriptures in these parts of our lives and choose to rebuild on the right foundation today.
We can do this by choosing to not only read the bible but apply it to our daily lives. When we build our lives on scriptures, we have the security and peace that comes from knowing that we have an unshakable foundation no matter what life throws at us.
- Are there areas in your life “collapsing” under challenges?
- What areas in your life do you need to apply scriptures?
Learn to focus
6 “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.Matthew 6:6 (MSG)
Jesus teaches that part of quieting the noise starts with making the effort to spend alone time with God by finding a quiet place.
Do you value your time and relationship with God enough to give him your undivided attention?
I don’t know about you, but I hate it when I am trying to have a conversation with someone and they are distracted by their phone, the TV, or something else. When we make the effort to shut out the distractions in order to focus on God, we are letting God know how much he matters to us.
Once you are alone with God, decide to be completely honest with him. One of the challenges in our relationship with God, especially for those of us who have been Christians for a while, is to go through our quiet times heartlessly as a ritual or to role-play instead of being there with God simply and honestly.
Being there simply and honestly means sharing our real thoughts, confessing our sins, telling him our real needs, and being vulnerable with him. God doesn’t want us to put on a show or to clock in and out of our times with him; he wants us to give our hearts.
- How honest are you with God?
- What are the areas of your life you need to be honest about with God?
Learn to change your motives
6 “Examine your motives to make sure you’re not showing off when you do your good deeds, only to be admired by others; otherwise, you will lose the reward of your heavenly Father.
2 So when you give to the poor, don’t announce it and make a show of it just to be seen by people, like the hypocrites in the streets and in the marketplace. They’ve already received their reward!
3 But when you demonstrate generosity, do it with pure motives and without drawing attention to yourself. 4 Give secretly and your Father, who sees all you do, will reward you openly.”Matthew 6:1-4 (TPT)
Most of the “noises” that are disturbing our peace come from inside of us – the noise of what others think of us, if we measure up, or if we will get attention and respect from people. These can preoccupy our hearts and thoughts and crowd out God even in the midst of us doing good work.
Jesus teaches us to examine our motives – to ask ourselves…
- Why do we do the things we do?
- Why do we serve?
- Why do we sacrifice?
- Are we motivated by jealousy and competition?
- Are we motivated by fear and insecurity?
- Are we motivated by attention and credit?
Learn your God-given purpose
4 Let everyone be devoted to fulfill the work God has given them to do with excellence, and their joy will be in doing what’s right and being themselves, and not in being affirmed by others. 5 Every believer is ultimately responsible for his or her own conscience.Galatians 6:4-5 (TPT)
Part of quieting the noise is being devoted to and knowing who we are and the work/purpose we have been given from God. This enables us to stop being distracted by comparing ourselves to others and to start giving our best to God.
Only our relationship with God will give us the answer as well as the clarity of purpose and unique work we have been given.
- What motives add to the “noise” and affect your relationship with God and others?
- What is the work you have been given from God?
- Who can you serve and give to today just between you and God who sees what’s done in secret ?
Ultimately, we quiet the noise by making a decision to focus on scriptures, by changing our motives, and by choosing to listen and do what pleases God. When we make the choice to rely on God and get our rewards only from him, we are able to be focused, secure, and at our best.