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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Craig Groeschel » Craig Groeschel - Finding Peace in Your Thoughts

Craig Groeschel - Finding Peace in Your Thoughts

Craig Groeschel - Finding Peace in Your Thoughts
Craig Groeschel - Finding Peace in Your Thoughts
TOPICS: He Promises, Peace, Thoughts

Before we start today, I wanna ask you a question. And we'll consider this kind of like your public service reminder. Fair enough, everybody needs a little help every now and then. How many of you have a will prepared for when you die? Raise your hand, raise your hand. Amazing, that's more than I expected. Good job, good job. If you don't, you need to do it. You really do, because if no one's told you, you're gonna die. Welcome to Life.Church, where we're here to make you feel good about yourself. A fun, friendly message for your entire family. When you think about it, Jesus kind of had a will. And he named you in his will. I'll tell you more about that in a minute. That was your public service reminder. This is the introduction to the message. Today, I wanna talk to you about peace. Because I just reminded you that you're gonna die, and so you need some peace. Yes, please.

How many of you have ever said, "I'd give anything for a moment of peace". Raise your hand. Type online, you can say, "I need peace right now. Give me a moment of peace". 'Cause I know your life is a lot like mine. You got crazy schedules, you've got bills to pay, house to clean, food to cook, dishes to do, kids to drive everywhere. Should've stopped at two, but you had three. Emails to return, texts to make, difficult people to deal with. How many of you have difficult people to deal with? Raise your hand, raise your hand if your hand's not up right now. You are the one, right? And all of us have so much going, we need a little bit of peace. I wanna remind you that before Jesus died, he named you in his will.

Romans 8 tells us we're actually heirs of God. And Jesus mentioned three different things that he willed. What did he will? Let me show you. On the cross, Jesus willed his mother to John. Remember that? He's dying and he said basically, "Hey, behold thy son, behold thy mother, John. Take care of my mom, I'm trusting her to you". The second thing Jesus willed was his spirit to his father. He said, "It's finished. I've done everything that you've sent me to do. Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit". He willed his spirit to the father. And to you, Jesus willed his peace. He willed his mom to John, he willed his spirit to his father, and Jesus willed his peace to you. And he shows this in John chapter 14 when he was telling his disciples, "Hey, I'm gonna have to go away, but I'm gonna come back to you".

And he said this, "When I go away, I want you to know, peace I leave with you". And then he said, "My peace I give you". And he's going to explain to them, this is unlike any peace you've ever tried to find in this world. He said, "I do not give you the peace that the world gives. So do not let your hearts be troubled," he said, "and do not be afraid". Five words in that verse that has the potential to change your life. Jesus said, "My peace I give you". And the peace that he gives is a different kind of peace. Because Jesus said he doesn't give the peace that the world gives, but there's a different kind of peace. You see, there is kind of what we might call a worldly peace and a godly peace, and there's a big difference. A worldly peace is kind of like a pseudo peace. It's temporary, it helps you cope. It's kind of like the drug will promise you, if you smoke the funny weed, you'll feel that peaceful, easy feeling, right?

The drug promises to get you high and you feel good for a little while, and then you screw up your life. Nobody said amen. None of you ever smoked a funny weed. Wow, praise the Lord, we've got holy people here. The drink tells you, you can drown your sorrows in the drink. Vacations tell you, hey, if you're just on the beach, if you're in the mountains, you can have that relief, and vacations help for a little while, but then you come back and you're still you. It's hard, right? You think, if I have a little more money, I'll finally have some peace. And you get a little more money, it actually helps you pay the bills, and you can be nice and generous to people, but there's not enough money in the world to fill the void that you have on the inside. And so worldly peace is different than a heavenly peace or a godly peace.

So what is godly peace? You can actually find it described in Isaiah chapter 26. I'm gonna give you the context. Isaiah was prophesying into a culture that is much like ours. You could almost say it was the equivalent then of a complicated economy with high interest rates, with a difficult election coming up. Can I say that? I mean, I'll just kind of call it what it is. With wars and rumors of wars. And Isaiah prophesied into a culture with great uncertainty and everybody was afraid. And he says, "In the middle of this, you're gonna break out into real worship and you're gonna have this heavenly peace". Here's what he said. He prophesied, "In that day, everyone in the land of Judah will sing this song. Our city is strong. We are surrounded by the walls of God's salvation. Open the gates to all who are righteous and allow the faithful to enter". And then the prophet declares these words. "You will keep in," say it with me, "You will keep in perfect peace".

Let's try it again. I need you to all of our Life.Church. "You will keep in," what? "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, God, all whose thoughts are fixed on you". Man, how many of you want some of that? Perfect peace, perfect peace. The word peace actually comes from a Hebrew word. It was a Jewish greeting. You walk up to someone and they say, "Shalom". It's kind of like, "What's up"? Like, "Yo, dog". Like, "God bless you". It's shalom. It's the way you say hello, shalom. And it means wholeness. It means completeness. It means fullness of peace. If I came up to you and said, "Shalom," I'm saying, "May you have the fullness of the peace of God. May you be at peace with other people. May you be at peace with yourself. May you be at peace with your circumstances, even if they are not what you would want nor what you would choose. But because God is good and because Jesus is the Prince of Peace, may you be at perfect peace".

Because in the original text, when Isaiah said, "May you be kept in shalom," he didn't just say shalom. He actually said, "Shalom, shalom". The same word two times back to back. He's saying, "May God give you a double portion. May God give you your peace and even more than your peace". And the translators translate it as perfect peace. Jesus says, "My peace I give you". And some of you might say, "Okay, thanks, Jesus. If you're giving me your peace, why am I still so anxious"? Anybody relate? Why do I still feel overwhelmed?

And let me just kind of ask some questions here. Can I really have your peace when I'm married to Mr. Butthead? Do not elbow the person sitting next to you, look straight ahead and pretend like you don't know what I'm talking about, right? Can I have real peace when my kid is hanging out with the wrong crowd and I'm pretty certain they're doing some things that are dangerous? Can I be peaceful then? Can I be peaceful when I recognize that there is porn being viewed in my home? Can I really have a peace from heaven when my best friend not only let me down but betrayed me and lied about me? Can I have peace when the doctor gives me some news that I never wanted to hear? Can I have peace when there's a lot more month left than there is money? Can I have peace when my heart is beating and I can't even catch my breath and I feel so anxious? How do I find this peace? The prophet tells us, and Scripture says this, you will keep in perfect peace.

Now, notice what it doesn't say. You will keep in perfect peace all those who obsess about the news. Doesn't say that, right? It doesn't say you'll be kept in perfect peace all those who look at everything that ticks you off on social media and you send it to all your friends so they can get mad with you. Oh, you know I'm talking to somebody here. You're a guest from another church 'cause our people would never do that here. Scripture says, you'll be kept in perfect peace, help me out, all whose thoughts are fixed on God. You'll be kept in the heavenly kind of peace, the peace that this world would not understand when your minds, when your thoughts are fixed on God. This verse shows us that the battle for peace begins in our mind. The battle for peace begins in your mind.

How many of you would say, sometimes you have a war going on in your mind? Online, just type it in there and be honest. I got a war in my mind. It's ridiculous. Like I'm a preacher guy, right? I've been doing this for a long time and so I should have it down. And I can tell you all day long the promises of God and believe they're true for you. And then oftentimes I have a hard time believing they're true for me. It's a war in my mind. You'll be kept in perfect peace, all whose thoughts are fixed on God. The word fixed is a cool word in Hebrew, it's the word samach. It makes me think of like, don't make me samach you. Not really, that's not what it makes me think, but not at all. It means to lean on completely. This is what it means. It means to lean on completely, to fully rest oneself. That's what the word means.

Think of it this way. You'll be kept in perfect peace when your mind is leaning on God's truth. You'll be kept in perfect peace when your thoughts are resting on God's unfailing promises. You'll be kept at perfect peace when your mind is fixed on the truth, the power of God's goodness, His promises for you. And so, I just wanna ask you, and I want you to be dead honest. What's your mind fixed on? What's your mind fixed on? Because oftentimes, mind gets fixed on the worst case scenario. I don't know what's wrong with me. I can have dreams in the middle of the night and I get caught in a bad dream. Like I literally wake up and I go back to sleep and I'm still stuck in that bad dream. It's like my mind gets stuck on these repetitive lies and fears and I get anxious from it. What is your mind fixed on and why does it matter? Because what consumes your mind controls your life.

And maybe that's why the Apostle Paul said this in Philippians 4:8. He said this. He said, "Fix your thoughts on what is true". What does God say is true about you? What does God's Word say is true about the situation that you face right now? "Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right and pure and lovely and admirable and almost everything you read and almost everything you hear is the opposite. Fix your minds on what you should be afraid of and fix your mind on what could go wrong and fix your mind on what he said and she said and why they should be canceled and why that's wrong and why this is bad and why our country's going to hell in a handbasket and why that person's wrong and that preacher did this", and scripture says, "Fix your mind on what is pure and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. And then when you fix your mind on the things of God, then the God of peace will be with you.

Five words that could change your life. Jesus says, "My peace I give you". He said, "My peace". Jesus isn't just giving you a peace, he's giving you his peace. It is a peace that this world doesn't understand. My peace I give you. Last week, Pastor Sam preached a good message. Pastor Sam, where are you? Pastor Sam, Pastor Sam, where are you? Pastor Sam, Pastor Sam, Pastor Sam, where are you? Good message last week. Great job. Preach the word. Pastor Sam talked about the disciples that were in a boat. You remember? And a big storm blows up. And what do disciples do? Same thing we do, freak, freak, freak, freak out. Scary, scary, scary, scary, scary. Jesus is in a boat and we're still scared.

Okay, what's funny about that is there's two storms that day. There's like the visible storm on the outside and there's the invisible storm on the inside. I don't know about you, but it's the storm on the inside that hits me the hardest. Two storms that day. The storm on the inside, the disciples are like going, "Jesus, don't you even care? Do you even know what we're going through"? That's what we get sometimes like, Jesus, do you even know what all I've done for you and you're leaving me out here in this mess? Jesus, where are you? And Jesus gets up and what does he do? What does he say? What word does he say to the storm? He says what? He says, "Peace, peace, be still".

Now I'm gonna ask you an easy question. This is not a trick question. When did Jesus say peace? What was going on? During the storm. During the storm. And that just shows us that perfect peace does not mean you won't have bad days. Perfect peace doesn't mean that Jesus is not still with you when things get tough. It doesn't mean you won't have troubles. It doesn't mean your heart's not gonna get broken. It doesn't even mean there are gonna be days where you feel like you just don't have the physical strength to go on. But this is a different kind of peace. You see, this kind of peace isn't found in the absence of problems, but true peace is found in the presence of God. It's a different kind of peace. This is not a peace that the world gives. This is a peace that comes from our Father. You will be kept in shalom, shalom, in perfect peace when your mind is fixed on Him.

Okay, confession time. So I'm preaching this. I even raise my voice sometimes, and I might even do hand motions because I believe it in here, but I don't always live it here. I hope that doesn't disappoint you. I'm gonna be real honest with you. I don't want you to freak out. This is nothing new. I've been dealing with this my whole life. But sometimes I have anxiety, and it's a different kind of anxiety. It's not worse than yours, it's not different than yours. It's just the kind I have, and I call it severe content anxiety, meaning week after week, year after year, decade after decade, I go to God's Word and say, "God, what do you want me to say to your people"? And it'd be really cool if you'd type it out or say it audibly, but I get to get 'em to do that. And so as easy as you think it would be, the weight of trying to get it right is difficult.

In 28 years, we're in a six-week message series. This is a series. This is one series, six messages on the promises of Jesus. I have done over 400 different message series over the years. That is a lot of work. And every year I go back to the Bible, David always beats Goliath, same thing, every year. I'm going back, okay? And here's what it is. Like, I don't wanna whine too much. Just coming up with the topic, the theme of the text can be really difficult, really, really difficult. Coming up with a series like that, and then studying the text and getting deep into it and learning 100 times more than I'm gonna share with you, and then illustrating it. Like, why do you illustrate it? 'Cause you're really hard to keep paying attention. Like, you guys are so easily distracted. If I don't do something, every now and then, you're like. I'm just saying. I'm not out there being silly 'cause I'm silly. I'm doing it for you. I'm trying to keep you in this thing.

And so, Jesus says, "My peace I give you". I don't always feel it, so I illustrate what happens. My flying buddy, Jim, is here with me. I started taking flying lessons a few years ago. I'll tell you the secret behind my becoming a pilot. I actually never wanted to be a pilot. My son, Steven, was graduating, and I wasn't getting enough time with him. I said, "Hey, is there anything in the world you'd like to try"? He said, "I'd like to try to fly a plane". It's like, is there anything else you'd like to try? 'Cause I don't wanna be wussy, but I was afraid of little planes. Like, you ever been in one? They're bouncy, and the one I was flying was almost as old as I was. So we get in this little plane, and he's flying, he's loving it. And it started to grow on me, but I'm still really afraid.

So I'm gonna introduce you to one of my first instructors. This was TJ. TJ flew pipelines, and he has more hours than most pilots you'll ever meet. He has 21,000 hours of flying time. He is one of the most experienced pilots I've ever met. And so he's my instructor. So we're up there one day in this 49-year-old plane, and I'm nervous. And I said, "Are you nervous"? He goes, "No". I said, "What if this engine died right now"? He said, "No big deal". I said, "What do you mean, no big deal"? He said, "We just put it down in a field". Like, what's our percentage? 50/50, 75%? He goes, "No, 100%," like, "you're kidding me". He said, "Out here where we're flying, 100 times out of 100, I put it down in a field. Like, you're serious". He said, "No, 100 times out of 100, I put it down in a field". I said, "Okay, TJ, what could I do that would scare you"? And he said, "Well, at this altitude, nothing". I'm going, "What do you mean"?

Like, I'm like, "Meh"! He goes, "No, you couldn't scare me". And then he saw it from me, he goes, okay, let me just be real honest. He said, "You're considerably bigger and stronger than I am. So if you, like, locked your arms on the yoke and pushed it down and flew as fast as you could toward the ground, I don't know if I'm big enough to break your grip. That would probably scare me". And I said, "That's the only thing"? He said, "That's the only thing". And I thought, I'm not scared anymore, 'cause I am never, ever, ever gonna do that. And his 21,000 hours of experience telling me he's not afraid. I did not have a peace, he gave me his peace. He gave me his peace. Like, I'm not afraid anymore. We can figure this out. And back to the content stuff. It's a weight that never goes away. Sometimes I can't wait to go to heaven. Jesus, you preach for the rest of eternity.

And so what do I do? What do I do? I do the only thing I know to do, which is I actually am working a little less, and I'm praying a little more, and I'm fixing my mind on God, and I'm trusting God, and I'm fixing my thoughts on him, and I'm trusting him, and he is giving me his piece. But it's not magic. It's not like it doesn't just happen. It's like, oh, no, sermon, oh, oh, oh, oh, yeah, oh, yeah. It's about Jesus, oh, yeah, Jesus, I'm fixing my mind on you, oh, you're like, your word is powerful, and your Holy Spirit does the work. And I actually still have to show up, and he seems to work better when I study. And so I'm gonna study, and I'm gonna trust him, and I'm gonna study, I'm gonna trust him even more. And you're gonna discover the same thing I'm learning is that when we put our problems in Jesus's hands, he puts his peace in our hearts. He puts his peace in our hearts.

I don't know who it is, but there's someone here, you are tired of pseudo peace. You're tired of the peace of this world that does not last, and you're ready for a different kind of peace. It is shalom, shalom. It is the perfect peace of God. And Paul described this from a Roman prison, awaiting possible execution when it couldn't get any worse than it was. This is what he said, "Don't be anxious about anything". We can just stop there. Whatever it is that's weighing on you, God's Word says don't be anxious about that. If it's big enough to worry about, God is big enough to pray about. So that's what we're gonna do. "Don't be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the what? The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus".

When you take what's on your heart and you give it to God, there is a peace from heaven. Listen to me, if you are not a follower of Jesus, you don't know this peace, because it is a peace from heaven which the world will not, cannot understand. Somebody here, it's time to fix your thoughts on what's true, to tell the devil he's a liar, to believe the truth of God, that my God is with me, and my God is for me, and my God is working in every situation to bring about good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, that no weapon formed against me will prosper, that my God is always good, His Word is always true, His Word never, ever fails. He will never leave me, He will never forsake me. No, in all these things, whatever you face, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us, for I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor demons, nor any powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything in all of creation will separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Somebody is gonna put their problems in His hands, and Jesus will put His peace in your heart. He willed you something. Jesus willed you something. He could have willed you anything. Jesus could have said, "My purpose I give to you". He could have said, "My passion I give to you". He could have said, "My perseverance I give to you". But He said five words. "My peace I give you". It is the peace of God, not the world's peace. The world can't give it, and the world can't take it away. It is the peace of God, and He gives it to you. It's not a peace, it's His peace. So Father, we need that shalom, shalom. We need your peace.

Today, around the world, online, those of you at all of our Life.Church locations, I wonder how many of you have a burden that's weighing you down, has something that's making you anxious, has a weight that just won't go away. You're worried about someone, you're worried about something, you're worried about your health, the health of someone you love, bad diagnosis, you're worried about finances, you're worried about your kids, you're worried about your marriage, you're worried about your job, you're worried about the economy. There's something that's weighing on you. If you wanna give that to God today in prayer, would you just lift up your hands right now, all around the room, just lift it up, lift your hands up. Leave 'em up for just a moment online, just, you may even be specific, you might say, "God, I'm trusting you with my child, I'm trusting you with my marriage," whatever it is, you might just type it in the comment section, just with your hands up.

God, we're lifting our hands up in need, and we're turning our hands up to you as praise. We praise you, God, we praise you. God, we present our request to you with prayer and petition, and thanksgiving, because you're good, you're faithful. Your Word is always true. And God, we ask that even when we can't find a peace in this world, that there is a peace from heaven that would guard our hearts and our minds and our souls in Christ Jesus. We look to you, we put our trust in you, we surrender to you, and we receive peace from you. Holy Spirit, just do a work. Do a work, work in a way that only you can work. God, we put our trust in you.

As you keep praying today without looking around, there are some of you that are going like, "Yeah, I don't think I know that peace". And I just wanna tell you right now, you haven't done anything wrong not to know it, you just don't know the one who gives it yet. You just don't. If we sit down and I kinda ask you like, do you know where you stand with God? If you hesitate for a moment, if you say, "I'm not really sure". Let me just tell you right now, the diagnosis is probably not good, because when you truly know him, you know who he is, his character, his goodness, when you know his grace, when you know how much he loves you, and you know what he's done for you, and you've received that gift, your only reasonable response is you give me your whole life, and you recognize I belong to him, I actually, Jesus did will something to me, he willed me his peace, and he gave me eternal life.

Why is it that we wonder about where we stand with God? Why is it that we worry? The reason is because we've all done stuff wrong. We're ashamed of it, we're embarrassed by it. The word that's used in the Bible is the Bible calls it sin. Just, it's a word that means missing the mark, you didn't hit God's standard, and we've all sinned, scripture says. We feel bad about it, why do we feel bad? Because we've done something that we know in our hearts is against God. So what do we do? A lot of times we try to make it up, try to do better and not be bad, but we continue to do wrong. The problem is we can never be good enough on our own, and this is where the goodness of God comes in. Scripture says, "For God so loved the world," God so loved you, "that he sent his one and only son, Jesus, the Son of God, who gave his life". God raised him from the dead. Whoever believes in him, whoever trusts him, your sins would be forgiven, and you would be made brand new.

Today, there are those of you, you're watching, you're here, and it is not an accident. You're here because God brought you here, and because he loves you, and because he wants to forgive you, and he wants you to know him, and he wants to give you a peace that this world could never even explain. Some of you, you know that's you, you know it's you. You're a little bit nervous right now, that's you. Your heart's beating fast, that's you. If you're wondering where he's at, that's you. And the great news is, you're here 'cause God loves you, and it's your day to say yes to Jesus. What are we gonna do? We're gonna step away from our old life, we're gonna step away from our sin, and we're gonna say yes. If someone loves us that much to give his only son, the perfect one, died in our place, so we could be forgiven, hey, we're following that guy. We're giving our life to him. From now on, we wanna be like him.

Those of you today, wherever you are, you say, "I know I'm broken, I know I've sinned, I know I've fallen short, I wanna get out of that. I want his peace, I want his forgiveness". Today, by faith, I trust into him. I'm giving my life to Jesus, that's your prayer. Lift your hands high right now, all over the place, say yes. God bless both of you here, and right here, praise God for you. Others of you today, say yes. Right back over here, right over here, Jesus, I surrender to you. Right back, oh, come on, church, let's give God some praise. Right back over here, say yes, Jesus. I surrender to you, I trust you, I give you my life. Others of you today, say yes, I surrender. Online, just type in the comment section, "I am surrendering my life to Jesus". Just type that in the comment section. Then what we're gonna do is we're all gonna pray aloud. Would you pray together? Nobody prays alone, pray:

Heavenly Father, please forgive me. All of my sins. And thank you for Jesus, His grace, his forgiveness, His perfect work. I trust him to save me. Fill me with your Spirit, so I could know you and serve you for the rest of my life. My life is not my own, I give it to you. In Jesus' name I pray.

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