Encouragement from the Word

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth"
III John 1:4

Monday, February 25, 2013

How to Have Inner Peace in a Stressful World

Peace...a mind at peace...a heart at peace...a life at peace. Isn't that what we all want? Perhaps you know someone who walks around with a smile on their face and a spring in their step. Even during difficult times in their lives, they rarely seem depressed, worried or angry. There's something about them that says, "I'm at peace and all is right with the world." It may be a friend, a relative or an acquaintance of yours who just seems to have it all together. How does one achieve that inner peace that is so elusive in this fast-paced, competitive, materialistic world in which we live?

                                                   What is the answer?

I believe the answer lies in truly knowing who God is and in realizing who we are in relation to him as believers in Jesus Christ. Most of us tend to live such a defeated existence, not understanding the power and hope we have in Jesus Christ. Another key element is living with a heavenly mindset...embracing the truth and glory of our eternity with God. We have an earthly and temporal mindset as we go about our lives day to day...trying to get by on our own resources and thinking that the outcome is all on our shoulders. The humanistic idea of ourselves being in control of our destiny begins to creep in. We forget that we should be living in light of eternity...what matters is only what will matter then...when we face God himself and he asks us what we did for his kingdom with the time we had on earth.

                                  What does the Bible say about peace?

The Bible has much to say on the idea of peace. In John 16, Jesus is painting a picture for his disciples of his impending death.He wants them to be prepared for all that they will face once he is gone. They seem to finally embrace and understand who he is when they say in verse 30, "This makes us believe that you came from God!". Jesus then tells them in verse 33, " I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."  Do you understand, fellow believer, that he has overcome the world?! This world...the one in which we struggle, stress and worry. And...in the end...he wins! We win!

There is a passage in Romans, as well, that speaks to the hope, grace and glory that we have in Jesus Christ. It also addresses another important point about how the trials that we go through in this life are God's way of refining us, growing us up spiritually, sanctifying us...making us into who he wants us to be. The passage is Romans 5:1-5:

Therefore since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

We are children of the king and creator of the universe! We have access to him through prayer and his Word, the Bible. We have the help of the Holy Spirit who lives within us. And...he cares about each and every one of us. Understanding and embracing these truths should help us to live with an inner peace and joy that shows forth in our countenance as a witness to the lost world.

Let me end with this...

I have peace because I know that God can handle my problems, decisions and issues better than I can...therefore, I turn them over to him...hour by hour.

I have peace because I know that God has forgiven me so much and erased my sin "as far as the east is from the west". Therefore, I can show grace and forgiveness to others and do not have to see that they change or that justice is done.

I have peace because I know that God loves my children even more than I do. When I turn to him for wisdom, he will guide me as I raise them...and if I mess up, he will work his purposes for them in their lives anyway, because, he knows my heart.

I have peace because I have been washed in the soul-cleansing blood of the lamb. I am his child and will be forever! Nothing this world can throw at me can erase that fact.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7

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