After recently reading again what "Shalom" really means - in addition to (the 'whole' and 'complete' kind of:) "peace" is: Completeness, Soundness, Welfare... (Strong's Concordance) ; it also refers to the gift that was given to you and me - the 'New Covenant' God made with us, after He died for us on the cross - a covenant (treaty, compact, agreement between two, a promise) of Wholeness - Shalom. It also refers to the completeness of that wholeness He intended for us to have access to (that we couldn't obtain on our own, through 'works') : like healing, unearned grace, protection, joy, favor, prosperity...and some reject prosperity for various reasons and beliefs; but prosperity simply means in the dictionary to succeed, flourish, and thrive in this life. 2 Corinthians 9:7-8 3 John 1:2 Matthew 6:33 Naturally if God put us in a world with certain systems in place, I believe when He died for our shalom He also gave access to the natural provisions we needed as well. Yes, God wants us to be able to provide for ourselves - and not soley or completely based on the world's systems all by themselves: like the job you have, educational background, luck or chance, etc, but on His ability to lead and guide our decision making, and to provide divinely for us as well. We all need it and desire it.
How do you access this shalom?
Here is my practical and simple answer, as I have interpreted from the Holy Spirit...and have also gained peace through putting it to use:
1. Putting Christ first place!
He said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:16. All other ways lead to a VOID. I learned to not be so religious about this, also: I couldn't and didn't have to earn this, be good enough, learn some hidden secret (to experience His presence), or "make it so far" with my 'goodness' before I could call on Him and He answer....with His voice and presence. And the moments I prayed for help with this when I was in a difficult mental or emotional state due to life, He was always faithful to send someone to help - even via the Web, in person, at a conference, etc! Every time, and in due time.
2. Minimize distractions.
For those of us that aren't the best at doing this, can even do this for at least 1 hour. Even if you start at 30 min. of free, distracted time....when you first awaken, or before you fall asleep. This is the time I have actually used to bring some organization to my life (with plans, goals, etc) and most importantly to quiet my mind and just listen to what God might put in my heart at this time. It was as if things in my life that I didn't want there were consistently being eliminated, one by one....steming from this reflection time with God! I was also able to gain some much-needed understanding in some areas I had previously been confused in.
3. Self-acceptance; know who you are.
This was really crucial for me. Even though I had read the book of Romans (chapters 3 to 9) at least a couple times before over the years, I came to realize I didn't fully believe everything I was reading! I say that because although I quoted much of it to other people when they felt down or criticized themselves, I didn't quite yet see myself as forgiven....'completely'. I always felt like there was something that I needed to 'get right' or 'do better' before I would really truly be worthy of ALL the promises from God He tells us in the Bible - and (thank goodness) it doesn't work that way. I was my own worst critic! It could never be earned; God KNEW from the beginning we would need a Savior (Ezekiel 33:11, Romans 8:32). In Romans Paul talks about how not one of us can boast; that there is none righteous, not even one! that we are all saved by the grace of God's love, through our faith in Him. After really studying this, I began to realize from a much better angle that I really was righteous - THROUGH the sacrifice Jesus made only, and JUST like those around me that had also accepted this free gift - and was forgiven, and had the same access to God all the time as they did! and that we were equally seen, equally loved, etc through the eyes of God. I was not any less deserving or less meaningful than anyone else, because my self-worth had nothing to do with how 'good' or how close to 'perfect' I could be! Crazy, maybe...but yes, I was still codemning myself. The devil will keep reminding you of your failures, shortcomings, etc to keep you in a unhealthy place, mentally...if you believe these lies in the first place. He will keep using them too, as long as you believe them and let him! I have learned to trust in the grace of God, receive the gift of forgiveness (not just for others, but for me too, ha), and to put things behind me. I know when God wants my attention in an area that needs improvement, He knows how to get it; and I am (usually) listening. I repent and move on, even if others can not (IMPORTANT!). NEVER keep making yourself 'pay' for things that Christ has already paid for.
As I began to walk around and truly see myself as equal, it was literally life changing. My level of comfortability changed tremedously, making it much easier to function more comfortably while working and/or doing things I wanted to do.
4. Time in Worship.
Spending time in thanksgiving towards God is priceless. I have often told friends and family to just simply try it - even if you feel silly at first, because it's your first time - and just keep going at it, and God will definitely meet you there! It will change your life. (2 Corinthians 3:17 , Psalm 22:3) I think it's a wonderful time to ask Him to be filled with the Holy Spirit if you haven't yet done so!
Father, I thank you that you chose us to be recipients of your vast love - that is big & beyond our understanding! We are so thankful for your goodness, grace, mercy, and favor towards us. We thank you that you schose to give us Life, through your one and only Son, Jesus Christ - what a gift! Thank you for dying on our behalf, and defeating sin - once and for all - so that we might love you, have an intimate relationship with you, and have access to peace, shalom in You. Father, I ask that you grant the person reading this prayer a demonstraion of your love, power and goodness through You inhabiting the words of their praise today. I pray that they experience rejuvination, love, and the joy of your presence - and its cleansing and deliverance power as well. God, I KNOW that you watch over your Word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12 Isaiah 55:11). Please grant them the pleasure of experiencing you in fullness, today - soul and spirit. Thank you God, for this blessing we have, from You. May this be the first day of a renewed and intimate relationship with You, for all who desire it. Amen!
About the Author
Davina is a working mother of three, who believes in introducing the true love of Christ to those she encounters, and desires to give the gift of this love to those in need that God has lead her way. She attends The Point Church of Trotwood, Ohio. She is a member of Young Women In Ministry, and is also an avid baker! See her treats at http://www.deesdelightsforyou.com