A popular pastor on YouTube last week said that one of the topmost asked questions on Google was, “How can I have peace?” It seems many people are searching for peace. People aren’t looking for the kind of peace world leaders strive for, but personal, internal peace. It seems Google knows where to find peace, or do they?
There’s a song we like to listen to around my house – “I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river. I’ve got peace like a river in my soul.” When I first heard this catchy tune years ago, I thought, ‘my river is tiny right now because I can barely feel the peace. The river in my life is not roaring downstream. If anything, many parts of it are dried up.’
When peace is absent, life is stressful, and anxiety is heightened. I remember those years, and I have no interest in repeating them. I learned a lot along the way, but the biggest lesson I learned was true peace would be absent in my life as long as I lived apart from Jesus. I have the battle scars to prove it.
Someone might say, “But I love Jesus, and I still don’t have any peace.” God is bigger than any problems we face.
Where do we find peace?
Jesus offers us peace, and as long as we continue to live apart from him, we will never know peace the way it was truly intended.
Here’s what Jesus says about peace.
John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
What I find particularly interesting is that he tells the disciples he does not give as the world gives. What does he mean? Think the opposite of how the world defines it.
My first thought was how much I tried to reduce my anxiety with everything else other than Jesus. Drinking would make problems go away temporarily. Binge eating helped me forget temporarily. Secluding myself from the world in hopes I would feel better never worked well. All of these were futile attempts to erase my anxiety. I wanted to feel peace, but I was going about it the wrong way – the worldly way.
What was the proof of my futile attempts? Gained weight. Lost money. Felt Alone. Sound peaceful? No.
When I lived apart from Christ, everything seemed to go wrong. Anxiety and stress were high, and peace was a total stranger. How can we know his peace if we are living a life apart from him?
Jesus’ peace is far superior to anything the world can offer, which is why he says he does not give as the world gives. If worldly type peace were the answer, he would have told them so. Remember what Jesus told Pilate? “My kingdom is not of this world.”
But why do we insist on going to the world first over the one known as the Prince of Peace?
How do we get this peace Jesus offers?
- We must know Jesus as our Lord and Savior. If you have not accepted Jesus as Lord in your life, you need to start there first. How can you know the peace of Jesus if you do not believe Jesus or accept him as Lord?
- Turn from your sin and turn to God. I was living apart from the Lord years ago, and I can tell you that my sin stood in the way of having a peaceful life. I needed to rectify that in my life. I had always believed Jesus as Lord, but I wasn’t living like it. That needed to change.
- Let the Holy Spirit guide you. Quit trying to lead the way and allow the Holy Spirit to lead. If your leading works so well, why are you not experiencing peace?
- Choose to focus on the Lord more than your problems. Too often, we’re focused on the problems more than the solutions. We’re too focused on the problems to hear what God is saying about how we are to move forward. One day, my counselor told me that I need to change the tape in my mind when negative thoughts take over. Start thinking positively. Play positive music and sing aloud. Change the tape. Believe me, it works. I still use that tool to this day. YouTube has some fabulous gospel track videos of the greatest hymns. Turn the radio on to a good Christian channel and crank up the volume.
- Understand that this world is our temporary home. We are passing through. I focus on my one day eternal home. No matter what happens here on earth, I know my eternal home is in heaven, and that brings me peace. Do I ignore everything going on around me? No. But do I allow everything going on around me to weigh me down? No. I can’t control what happens around the world, but I can control myself and how I respond. Since I walk closely with the Lord, and he has promised me his peace, I take hold of His promises and trust him.
Easier said than done?
Trusting the Lord is a daily choice, but you too can experience the peace he offers when you do. As I did, you will find the peace he offers is better than anything the world offers. What a friend we have in Jesus.
Father, today as we search for peace that surpasses all understanding, I pray we keep our focus on you and your promises. You who promised is faithful, and I am so thankful for your peace during what has turned out to be an unprecedented year with many unknowns to come. Please remind me of your promises each day. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.