And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. (ESV)
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (NIV)
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. (NLT)
Reversing The Mental Health Crisis
I recently read a fascinating study on anxiety and depression. Ashley Smith writes about how powerful gratitude is in combating these struggles. She writes specifically about something called “Habit Reversal Training.” It works like this: if you have a habit you're trying to break, you use a combating response that is incompatible with the bad habit. So, if you can’t stop fidgeting your hands in class, you give your hands something to do, like drawing. Because you are preoccupied with drawing, your hands aren’t able to fidget. That makes sense, right? The article suggested that some individuals struggling with anxiety could discover a path to healing by adopting a similar approach. Enter gratitude.
Gratitude Produces Peace
Anxiety can be a sort of time travel. Often, we can find ourselves dwelling on the past or the future in a negative way, leading to an unhealthy mental state pulling us away from the present. Our minds drifting far away from what is right in front of us. Gratitude, on the other hand, brings us back to the present. As it turns out, Gratitude can be used as a powerful weapon in the face of anxiety. In fact, it’s been discovered that our brains cannot simultaneously respond to anxiousness while expressing gratitude. When we pursue gratitude, we recognize life as a gift, not ignoring the pain but also not ignoring the blessings.
The Peace of Christ
We all have blessings to embrace, but our enemy is seeking to kill, steal, and destroy. He often does this through lying to us. He tells us we don’t have what other people have and makes us think “life could be better.” The truth is, through Christ, we have been given peace in our hearts, as our verse this week reminds us. So, instead of looking around you, simply look up. The Bible says to us in Romans 5:5, “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Through Jesus on the cross and the Spirit He sent us, we have experienced the deepest kind of love.
Peace is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). It comes when we look to Christ, find our confidence in Him, trust in his sacrifice on the cross, and embrace all that He’s done for us. As gratitude goes hand in hand with peace, envy tends to breed anxiety, worry, and discontentment.
Our spiritual journey alongside God is one of gratitude. Colossians 3:15 emphasizes the importance of allowing the peace of Christ to govern our hearts, and gratitude is the key to achieving this. The world, the adversary, and even our own desires are constantly vying for our focus, tempting us with envy, lust, greed, and more. Allowing the peace of Christ to reign in our hearts involves recognizing the precious gift of Jesus. When we do this, a deep sense of thankfulness naturally arises. It becomes impossible for our hearts not to resound with praise when we comprehend the extent of our sins and how the grace of Jesus has forgiven them.
Written by Ben Hesch
Challenge: This week, when you recognize your heart drifting towards envy or anxiousness, journal a list of things you are grateful for in Christ. Let your heart be redirected to peace, and let Jesus rule in your heart.