And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. -- Colossians 3: 15
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. -- John 14: 27
These are two of the Scriptures that I have learned by heart and I repeat them many times in my life. I am searching for peace and calmness in the midst of this world. Let me keep it simple and just say that ‘serenity’ is in reference to being calm and cool. Let us also review the nine fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians and we will see a very similar personality trait that we should be manifesting.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. -- Galatians 5: 22, 23
When you look at the second word in Galatians 5: 23, you will see the word ‘temperance’. Temperance means self-control so it only follows that if you are in self-control, you will be able to remain calm in all situations. But the principle point in this teaching is not just the trait of Serenity, it deals with the key to accomplishing this type of self-control as we will later see.
Looking up the former scripture, I ran across another scripture that illustrates that Paul was able to have great self-control and serenity in no matter what situation he was in. How did he do this? He kept God first in everything he did. Let's see what Paul has to say about his many different situations and circumstances in his life. This is really an amazing quality to be able to master and I have done so in many situations in my life. I am often under severe attack by my personal adversary to the point where my life has been threatened more than once. But God's Word tells me that greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world. God did show me a way out each time and my enemy was obviously nothing but a fool and still feels foolish about the way he acted. But God teaches me to keep away from people like this. That is why I warn you to keep away from very dark places, such as bars and what they call today as parties. You can get yourself in serious situations when you disobey God. This happened to me and I went to another believer for help and guidance as to what I was doing wrong and this person helped me tremendously. I change my behavior and the serious attacks stopped. Let's get back to Paul.
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. -- Philippians 4: 12
What Paul is saying is that in no matter what situation he was in, he knew how to make the best of it and to enjoy life. When he was in prison, he practically ran the place because he did what God told him to do. You see, he didn't argue with God and we need to also do the same. So apparently, Paul was able to stay calm and he had that serenity and peace even though his situations, many times, were difficult, but he learned how to keep them simple. Now we get into the concept of ‘Simplicity’. If you want to have serenity and be calm in your overall lifestyle, you must keep your life simple. Nothing can be too simple. You must remember this and apply it in your life.
Let's face some obvious facts about everyday living. We go to a Mall and our intentions are to buy one article of clothing that we need. Now notice the word ‘Need’. What happens? We are tempted everywhere we look to buy more and more and more -- way above our needs and well above what we came to buy. You should know by now that this is called ‘temptation’. Temptation is a very strong emotion and guess what …… It Is Always Wrong!! Can you imagine that? Always. Now how are we going to deal with such a strong emotion? We, of course, are going to go to the Word of God and learn a Scripture that I have known by heart for many, many years. So many times, I have been in stores and have been tempted just like you and this is how I deal with the situation. If I cannot walk away, I do the following in my mind:
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. -- I Corinthians 10: 13
Now that temptation loses all of its power every time and I can simply turn around and walk away knowing that I did what God Almighty wanted me to do and that's how we stand approved before God. There is great power in the Word of God -- so much power that we cannot comprehend it. So I walk out of that store with the one article of clothing that I came there for. Obviously, I kept it simple and SIMPLICITY is the key to SERENITY. It is that simple. I have become more dedicated to teachings that are easily understandable since I have no contact with my reader. Believe me, this is not by choice. I used to receive e-mails that will make you sick to your stomach and I'm not exaggerating. We feel that the teachings alone are self-sufficient and will give you all the answers that you need. This way you will not be hitchhiking off of another believer, but you must study on your own if you are to see and obtain the benefits of God. There are over 900 of these benefits and promises mentioned in God’s Word.
Some of you, I'm sure, enjoy the subject of psychology and are familiar with the concept of ‘Buyers Remorse’. This is the sense of regret after making a specific purchase -- mainly a very important one. But when you get down to the Word of God, every decision we make and every purchase we make is important. God, at one time in the Bible told a person to wash in a river to receive healing -- I believe it was seven times. Do you know that if that person washed in that river six times or eight times, they would not have gotten healed. So every decision and every specific detail of every decision in your life is very important when you're walking with the true God. And some of you thought I only knew things about the Bible. I enjoyed psychology when I was at a major university because most of the principles lined up with the Word of God. You see anything that works is in alignment and harmony with God's Word. This includes many of the scientific fields such as biology and especially the sciences dealing with the human body such as the medical fields. My final average in my Psychology course was 99.99%. Not bad. Now why did I get into this subject? It's because we have to achieve a balance in this life. Did not Jesus Christ say “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” So then, we do need some ‘bread’. We need to know what's going on around us. You should know that the Word of God makes you very intelligent and many times we need to take a step down when we talk to other people or we can scare them with the knowledge that God has given us.
Now I want to go back to our psychology example. This is possibly another way for you to know if you are making a simple decision or one that's going to complicate your life and make you miserable. If God tells you to purchase something, you are going to be blessed before you make the purchase and AFTER. Otherwise, when you make a decision that is probably going to complicate your life and is a wrong decision, you will experience buyer's remorse. Many of us have experienced this no matter what we buy. It's happened to me also and I'm sure it's happened to you at some point your life. Remember, if you're making that purchasing decision and your heart is just not right, stop. You're better off not purchasing that item so that you can keep your life simple because as we know by now, the key to serenity and being calm and cool is simplicity. It's beautiful, isn't it? This teaching should help you to be calm and to keep your cool because it is so damn SIMPLE. Now let's back up some of the things we said with the Word of God even though we already went over this scripture above.
But he [Jesus Christ] answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that [which] proceedeth out of the mouth of God. – Matthew 4: 4
Possibly you can see the importance of learning Scripture by memory. Notice up top, I only quoted part of the scripture and it was not rightly divided -- it was not accurate as the true Word. God does not expect every person to know every single word of every scripture. Often, as long as we understand the overall implications of what the scripture is trying to teach, we are much better off than not knowing it at all. In my case, God seems to want me to know scriptures exactly as written in the Bible and especially in the closest to the Greek and Aramaic text. I am in a battle or wrestling match with God's arch enemy and that is Satan himself. I like it and I must stay sharp on the Word of God at all times. Because I almost hate Satan more than I love God -- I must be careful of this.
Now getting back to a major point in this teaching, we want to find keys to keep our life simple. So far, we have found two major keys to be able to accomplish this.
1) We realize that every time we are TEMPTED, it is always wrong. Is that hard to grasp? Then we should never forget it. Don't blow it, do the right thing. Walk away from everything that tempts you and God will bless you.
2) Every time we go to make a purchase, we should feel blessed before, during, and after the purchase. That way we know that it is God's Will and we will not be making a mistake and experiencing buyer's remorse. Buyers remorse will only dominate our thinking because we have made a purchase that we really don't need and something that's going to complicate, and not SIMPLIFY our life.
You see, I don't want you to complicate and confuse this teaching. Everyone has different needs such as myself. I used to be a jazz guitar teacher. So it just is a natural thing for me to really enjoy music and surely I still do. I have some of the biggest and loudest Sony stereos that were ever made. I am also one to stay in excellent physical condition. One of the ways I do this is by juicing fresh fruits and vegetables. These juicing machines are not being manufactured any longer -- not the one I use because I believe it is the best. I have about eight of these machines because they do break down after time. So I better stop here because I want you to know that if something is very important to you and helps you move the Word of God and/or helps you to relax, it is ok to have more than one of those things. This is called, in reality, countering the adversary. If he makes a move and something I have in these two areas breaks, well, let's say I'm kind of ready for that. You see it? So don't confuse this teaching. Now, I am going to take you to a group of scriptures that are in the Gospels. I have quoted these scriptures before and I feel this teaching is a perfect place to do it once again. They speak so clearly and they speak specifically on the subject I'm trying to teach you. Also, I am also going to give you a literal translation of these Scriptures. If you can master what God is saying here, you will always live a simple life and you will always have serenity.
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. -- Matthew 6: 19, 20, 21
Literal Translation According To Usage
Matthew Chapter 6: 19, 20, 21 -- "Let not your thoughts be centered in material things where fears and worries breed defeat and frustration, and where the doubts break through and steal your thoughts: But let your thoughts be centered in the Spirit, where neither fear nor worry breeds defeat and frustration, and where doubts do not break through and steal your thoughts. For where your thoughts are, there will your heart be also."
Don't let your thoughts be always on material things because what’s going to happen? Fears and worries are going to enter into your heart and they breed only defeat and frustration. Then after all that, doubts break through and they steal your thoughts! You can no longer think clearly because your life is so cluttered with all of these material things that you can't find your dishes in your own kitchen!!! Okay, I'm getting carried away. You know what happens to many of these people? They become hoarders! Did you ever experience the way that type of person lives? It's mental illness -- big-time. Then what does God say about all of this? He says your thoughts or you're thinking should be centered in the Spirit. What does that mean? It means you should be focused on that Word of God at all times. Why? Because here there will be no fear or worry and in turn no defeat and no frustration. Doubts will not break through and steal your thoughts. Then God, in all of His magnificence says and concludes with the following. He says that where your thoughts are, that's where your heart will be also. And you want your heart to be situated in the area where all of these negatives just have no effect on you. You don't have any doubts and you don't have any worry and you don't have any fear and you don't have any defeat and you don't have any frustration and you’re thinking clearly because the enemy can't get through and mess up your mind.
Now tell me you have not had this experience. You have something you want to get rid of and most of the time, it is some type of material thing. This object no longer has any use for you and you really can't stand it being around. So you finally get to selling it and by the grace of God, somebody buys this material thing and takes it away from you permanently. Don't you remember how good you felt when this material waste is now gone from your life? You feel lighter and you feel like an albatross has been lifted from around your neck. Overall, you feel more peaceful and at ease. You don't feel frustrated and instead of doubt, you somehow have more confidence and overall you simply feel better. That's what the above verses are talking about in a more detailed manner. Did not Jesus Christ exhort us to travel light? I am trying to get you to look up some of these scriptures on your own. This will help you not to depend only on me and these teachings. You must learn to work the Word of God on your own and not to rely only on a teacher. So lately, I am asking you to find some scriptures and to help you, I will tell you that this one is in the Gospels. Also, you can either use a Lexicon or a large Concordance to help you find the verse. It is not difficult -- it is not hard -- I have been doing it for many long years. I look at studying as a treasure hunt. If you really love God and His Word, you will look forward to seeking out God's promises. NOW we need to get to the solution as to how to become serene and peaceful, and as many people put it, cool. The solution is to keep things simple. Now, let’s go to the Word of God and study some of the records that use this word SIMPLICITY.
Matthew 6: 5–15 In reference to prayer. Again, I am going to ask you to read this record on your own. It tells about prayer methods of certain people such as the Scribes and Pharisees. But it can apply to any group of people. Instead of keeping it simple when these people prayed, many of them would go on the rooftops and yell their prayer out loud so that others can see and hear them. God frowns on this and it would be better if you go inside a closet and shut the door and pray. This illustrates humbleness to God. Please study this record on your own. I can't help but interject what I see today in similar but different situations. People today worship their cell phones and their trucks. They want everyone to see them because they think it makes them look like a big deal. When in reality, they look and act like fools. I don't want to get off the subject here so let's go to our next Scripture that deals with SIMPLICITY.
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; -- I Peter 3: 3
This is a figure of speech called Description of Manners, so we know God is stressing a very important point here. Many times today, I will see a woman whose hair is done up extremely fancy and sometimes they may also have a tendency to wear some type of gold jewelry. This is not becoming to God or to any man of God. To me, it is a turnoff and a red light. Some of the apparel that women wear today are overkill and do not fit the situation or place that they are in. This is all the result of not keeping things SIMPLE. In my opinion, I will see a woman with long hair that is well groomed and maybe dresses in a business suit or casual, whatever is applicable. This woman, who dresses in all modesty and simplicity gives the appearance of being 10 times more attractive to me than the woman who dresses like the Queen of Sheba. Many times this latter person speaks extremely loudly because they are looking for only one thing, and that is attention. From this type of person, you should withdraw yourself. Which of the above women do you think is more peaceful?
But let it be the hidden [inner] man [or woman] of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price [value]. – I Peter 3: 4
The first part of the verse is quite interesting. God refers to the inner person as being not corruptible. Why? Because the inner man (if you are born again), is Christ in you/God’s Spirit and it cannot sin. Also, the second phrase in the scripture talks about a person who can be corruptible. This is referring to the ‘queen’ in the first and previous verse that we studied above. This is an inappropriate person who dresses only to get attention and can be corrupted and surely will be. But a humble woman who dresses and lives according to the Word of God, she is not corruptible. The third phrase of the verse means that a person who is meek is ‘teachable’ (Old English). Which woman would you choose? The Word is so straightforward that it is the simplest document in the world today when studied and rightly divided. God speaks about a woman of God who has the following qualities -- she exhibits a meek (teachable) and quiet spirit. This woman of God does not shoot off her mouth in public so that others can hear what she has to say. She is quiet and she is reserved and she wears her hair and dresses in a holy Godly manner. I've heard men of God say that a woman of the world cannot even slightly compare to a woman of God. This is very true. Then what does God say regarding the importance of these types of personality traits? He, God, says that when He sees His principles of ‘dress’ and ‘mannerisms’ being applied, in His sight, it is of great price (of great value).
I have a problem I would like to share with you. There is a place in the Word that says a woman who has long hair -- her hair is an adornment to her. In this day and age, and I better be careful here, many women, even my spouse, has short hair. I am sorry to say that it is in my opinion and always will be that a woman looks much better with long hair. My branch leader had the longest most beautiful blonde hair I had ever seen. And to me, it made her seem more like a woman of God. I am sorry to offend anyone in this area. But I have been told that because the times have changed, that styles have changed. If I were to say anything else in this short paragraph, I would be a liar. I understand that for a woman to have long hair, it is a lot of work for her and it takes a lot of time to maintain. But to this day, I honestly feel it would be worth it if most women wore long hair because it is most appealing to them and the Word still says that it is an adornment to a woman. So crucify me for that. When I grew up, most girls had long hair. Everyone resists change. I think we covered I Peter 3: 4 quite well. Let's move on to specific answers pertaining to the main topic and purpose of this teaching.
For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation [manner of life] in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward [believers]. -- II Corinthians 1: 12
What word stands out in this scripture? It should be obvious to you that we are finally focusing on the solution according to the Word of God. The word that stands out is SIMPLICITY. God is saying what we are to rejoice in it and that is the testimony of our conscience. And where is our conscience? It is in our heart which is the innermost part of our being. How are we to celebrate this part of our being? With simplicity and godly sincerity. God tells us we are not to do this with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God. And it is by this grace where we have our conversation (manner of life) in this world. When we have simplicity and godly sincerity, then we will have peace and serenity. Also, we should direct this peace and serenity more towards the believers than to anyone else. You must remember the scripture that we are to be especially kind to the household of faith [standing believers]. See if you can find it.
I felt that a special paragraph was needed to grab your attention and to show you that all of these benefits originate by applying one major principle in the Word of God and that principle is:
Romans 12: 8 In reference to THE LAW OF GIVING. We are to give with simplicity.
Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. – Romans 12: 8
Romans 12: 8 -- “He that gives, let him do it freely and cheerfully from the heart; he that rules or leads, let him do it with diligence (do your utmost); if you are showing mercy by helping others in distress, do it cheerfully”.
I don't care to use analogies such as this, but the world has stumbled upon this principle and many times you have probably heard the following. It is referred to as the KISS principle. “Keep it simple, stupid”. I would rather reword this statement and say "Keep it simple, spiritually". Either way, it is a truth from the Word of God that when we give to someone, we are to do it with simplicity and we are to expect nothing back in return. This will bless the person tremendously and he or she will probably never forget you and may even pray for you. We are covering a lot of ground here and we are going to go to a few more examples before we conclude this teaching.
I am going to use a reference pertaining to PRAYER. (I Thessalonians 2: 3-7) prayer falls in the category of SIMPLICITY. Take particular notice to verse five which exhorts us during prayer not to use flattering words nor a cloak of covetousness. We are to keep it simple. In verse four, God exhorts us to pray not to please man but to pray to please God which trieth our hearts. Let me make this as simple as I can for you. When I pray, it is usually first thing in the morning. I pray by myself when there is no one around and I pray out loud or quietly to God. My prayers are simple and I ask God for simple blessings. Of course, there are some exceptions, and if I am in a precarious situation which is not so simple, I will pray to God about that situation in as simple a manner as I can. I felt it was necessary here that you understand that your prayers should be simple.
Instead of going into more Scriptures, I am simply going to sum up the purposes of keeping it SIMPLE in all parts of your life. Of course, there are great benefits to doing so and I am only going to name a few. Some of these have to do with countering and defeating your personal adversary. *** (Look up the following Scripture references).
1) You are to KEEP IT SIMPLE and avoid an outward display. As you remember, there are some people that want to pray on the house tops so that they can be seen and heard and attract attention. You never want to become like this. [Matthew 6: 1-4]
2) SIMPLICITY will and does defeat Satan. He is the author of confusion and that is the opposite of being peaceful, at ease, and calm. Remember, the greatest cargoes of life come in over quiet seas. [II Corinthians 11: 3-4]
3) SIMPLICITY will greatly contribute to you having a pure heart in an evil world. [Romans 16: 19]
In conclusion, it is my will and more importantly, God's Will, that you renew your mind to what is written in this teaching. The fact that it is so simple, don't let it pass you by. It is as important as it is simple. Study it diligently and may God bless you richly.