In order to cope with life, we all have to find a source of peace. The emotional turmoil that we call life has to be quelled by something, or we’ll all end up in a mental facility.
Most Americans derive inner peace from outer sources. Exercise. Hobbies. Travel. Nature. Sleeping. Any number of things allow us to escape the reality of our problems… for a time. Even more inward practices like meditation and prayer can serve as escape mechanisms when we use them to focus our minds and our hearts on “peaceful” things.
The beautiful world the Lord has made gives us all kinds of opportunities to briefly forget our issues and be temporarily filled with good feelings.
But then it’s back to reality. We can’t travel or sleep or watch TV forever… soon enough we have to deal with whatever is tormenting us at the moment. So it seems the gift of peace the world offers is fleeting. A band-aid on a wound that needs stitches. Ultimately ineffective.
When Jesus was prepping His disciples for His imminent departure, He said to them, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives,” (John 14:27).
How does the world give? Jesus doesn’t specify here, but you and I can guess. I’m suggesting the world gives in an ineffective way.
Somehow, Jesus’ peace is different than the world’s peace. His peace is constant. He is leaving it with the disciples – with us – and won’t be taking it back. We believers always have it, whether we choose to utilize it or not.
And because we always have Jesus’ peace, we have a true shot of having “inner peace” in the midst of our turmoil. We don’t have to escape from our problems to experience peace – we can have peace during our problems. We don’t have to dread coming home from a vacation or turning off our distracting television show, fearing our own thoughts and emotions surrounding certain issues will come flooding back.
Problems and peace are not incongruent for believers in Christ; both can happen simultaneously. Indeed, it’s His goal that they would happen together – for our sake and for His glory.
Easier said than done.
I think the key for making this concept a reality in our lives lies in the preceding verse. Jesus tells the disciples, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you,” (John 14:26).
In other words, the peace Jesus gives us is a result of the Holy Spirit inside of us helping us maintain proper perspective.
When we remember Jesus’ promises – He loves us, He’s coming back for us, He gives us eternal life, etc. – our peace-destroying problems are put in perspective. (How’d you like that alliteration?) We rest in His promises and gain that inner peace He wants us to have all the time.
As we learn to trust the Holy Spirit to teach us what we need to know when we need to know it, our adversities lose their urgency. Our emotions calm. We feel peace despite our circumstances screaming that we should feel frenzied.
We don’t need to seek peace; we have peace in Jesus. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us tap into Jesus’ peace today.