What is the fastest way to lose your peace? Or, should I ask: What is the fastest way for a Christian/Follower of Christ/God's child to lose their peace...? The answer: Sin...
When you sin, especially deliberately, you, (who have been welcomed into God's home, into His heart and kingdom, who have been healed, redeemed and sanctified (set apart) by the blood of Jesus and all He conquered on and off the cross, and, through it, been baptised into the Holy Spirit), instantly grieve the Holy Spirit, and you will feel His grief in your own spirit. What does that feel like? There will be a mourning in you that you may not be able to pinpoint. "Something is wrong; I feel it..."
I've said it before (on other blog sites, and in person) that the flesh is stupid. While in this earthly body, being tempted left, right and centre, we sense God's Spirit saying something to ours, and, whether we know it's Him or not, our flesh reacts with a "OOH! PICK ME! ME! ME! ME!" attitude. If we aren't aware of what God's saying to us, the flesh will seek something to satisfy this unnamed desire, or hole, we now seem to have - be it wrapped in a sense of misery or excitement. Whatever gets us the fastest "fix".
Our flesh speaks louder than God's still small voice, because we live in it. It seems to be closer to our spirit than God does. We like to feel. Then, in our own learned understanding, we like to label the feelings. Then, more times than not, we like to tend to those feelings - and, in doing so, often miss what God was trying to say to us.
There's been a few times when God has spoken to me, saying, '"This" will be..." and I've run ahead of the light of God and stumbled in the darkness chasing after it, only to learn that when God says "this will be" I usually need to sit back and wait. Sometimes He says, "Go do..." other times He says, "I will... " and on the latter statement we need to get our hands off the issue and get out of God's way. If we don't learn to recognise God's voice and what He's saying to us personally, the flesh will screw it all up and then what God wanted for us will take a lot longer for us to get, as He now has to clean up the mess we made while trying to bring "whatever it was" to pass...
The flesh wants what it wants NOW! We hunger, we want, we need, we desire... and we want these needs met immediately, if not sooner. Only, with God, His voice is a gentle one, His Spirit is a gentle one, His Son is a gentle one, so we need to still our feelings, our emotions, our wants, and our thoughts, and seek God's heart on what is happening. We need to silence the needs and wants of the flesh in order to hear what's going on in the spirit. Basically, in being still and knowing HE is God and He works all things for good, we need to settle our thoughts and spirit/heart/flesh to be like-minded, and at peace, like the Holy Spirit, like Jesus, like God... Basically, we have to be as one with them.
We be still. We settle our imaginations and doubts. We just BREATHE. We Rest in Him. We pray. We seek. We focus on God and His love and truth. And we wait for Him to reveal to us what He wants to reveal to us. And hopefully we don't treat Him as we do our internet lives and switch over to something else when the response we seek doesn't come as fast as our stupid flesh wants it to. We wait... Me, I imagine opening my heart to God, and asking Him to sort out what's what, and to speak. His heart touching mine. There is no greater moments of peace, I've found, then when He responds... *sigh*
But, as quick as a blink I can focus my eyes on something of this world, or I can get a nameless feeling and rather than ask God what it's all about and run off to serve the feeling which usually leads me to unrest - especially if it was God trying to get my attention, for, rather than turn to Him, I turned away from Him. I grieved His Spirit.
If we look into our own heart and dig up all those 'grief moments' in our lives, we will find they are attached to sadness. Anger may have come to protect us from further heartache, but sadness is there, attached to grief. If I were to tell you that I am grieving, more likely than not you will wonder what has made me sad, and quite possibly feel sorry for me. Yet, there are those who, when they hear that the Holy Spirit is grieved, believe that God is angry.
Many of us will hear the Holy Spirit is grieved and rush to protect ourselves with anger, or indignation, turning away from "that angry God"... But I didn't say when you sin you're angering the Holy Spirit, I said you're grieving Him. He has a heart reaction, just like you do when you are grieved. Although, to protect ourselves, we often will reach for anger for self-defence... He doesn't. He wants reconciliation, and He will remain vulnerable in order to bring it to pass. God remains with you, forever seeking to love you, and forgive you, and pick you up and set you on your feet while dusting you off and helping you start again - no matter how deeply you've wounded Him. But while you sin, while you continue to do wrong, you grieve His Spirit... and you feel that grief in your spirit, and will soon feel that mourning in your flesh and, from there, if you're not careful, you will seek something or someone other than God and truth to fix it, which will only perpetuate the problem, and before you know it years have passed, God has forsaken you (so it will feel), and you'll wonder why you and your life are so miserable.
Your sin may be small, and may have set you on a wrong path years ago, but give it to God and in an instant you're set back on the right path. There may be steps you need to take to ensure that wrong path isn't walked again, but that's between you and God. You will need to seek His Spirit, His heart on such matters.
You may not even be aware that you've sinned. ie unforgiveness; deceit; gossip... and so on... Often, when we're reacting out of indignation, these things spill out of us, and we will justify them. But our mood doesn't justify our sin before God. Unforgiveness is unforgiveness. Deceit is deceit. Gossip is gossip. So on and so forth... despite what it was born of. All these things work to grieve the Holy Spirit. And remember, I said grieve, not anger. Please don't attack Him over His heartfelt response to the vast gap your sin sets between your heart and God's. Jesus weeps. The Holy Spirit mourns. God is love... It's all about the love He has for you, and the relationship He wants with you. It's not about wanting to punish you.
If there's a sense in your spirit, in your heart, in you, that says, "Something's wrong... and I'm not sure what it is..." may I challenge you to place that before God. It may be sin in your life, or it may not be. God knows - literally. I certainly don't. And chances are you may have missed something. Either way, be you in sin or not, God doesn't want you trapped in grief, and He knows you will have no real peace until that grief is lifted from you. So take it to Him. If it is sin, He won't damn you. He will help you. He's not here to cast you into 'hell', but to relieve you from the weeping and gnashing (grieving) that takes place in your soul... He's on your side.
God loves you with a passion... Yes, you may have wounded His heart, but His heart didn't harden towards you. His love never faded. He is not angry. He has perfect understanding. And, more than anything, He just wants to be free to love you with a love that will work to heal you, free you, and make you whole... but He can't force His presence, His Spirit, His Son, His truth, His love, His mercy, His grace or anything else on you... for He gave you free will. You have to accept these gifts... knowing He gives because He loves you...