When was the last time you enjoyed some inner peace? It's hard to maintain peace of mind when exams and papers keep creeping up on you, isn’t it? It's even more difficult when you don't do well in some of your courses because so much rides on your GPA. With the worst possible scenario replaying itself over and over in your mind, your heart sinks deeper and deeper into fear. Our rapidly-changing, fast-moving, increasingly-competitive society induces so much stress in us. We may smile on the outside, but we may be hiding a thousand tears.
What do you do to get some peace of mind? Some try meditation and yoga. Others try to get away on vacations and retreats (if you can afford the cost and time). Some of us immerse ourselves in a jam-packed schedule, hoping to drown out the cacophony of our inner unrest and fear with busyness. Some may have found these methods helpful. But something crucial may be missing in these ways of finding and maintaining our inner peace.
Meditation or counseling can help us regain inner peace by exposing our tendency to overreact to crises and confuse the worst possible scenario, the scenario our mind concocts in fear, as real and inevitable. Mark Twain quipped, “I've lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which
Jesus said, "My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives..." (John 14:27). actually happened.” Much of what we fear is imaginary. We can regain our peace simply by recognizing this fact. But what about clear and real danger?
Notice how Jesus distinguishes His peace from the peace that the world gives. His peace is not some generic, psychological, or spiritual state—the kind that the self-help gurus and psychologists and even some religious leaders promise. They teach meditation techniques and psychological insights to help people obtain a state of peace and tranquility. But Jesus speaks of His peace—something He possesses in Himself, something we cannot attain unless He gives it to us. What is so unique about His peace?
The peace that the world gives is problematic in this sense: it doesn't take into account what the Bible says are the ultimate problems of our life—“the guilt of sin, the [just] wrath of God, the curse of the moral law... the sting of death, the victory of the grave, and everlasting damnation.”
A guilty heart cannot have peace: "The wicked flee when no one pursues…" (Proverbs 28:1). A guilty heart is startled whenever there is a knock on the door. What do we call someone who claims to have peace when he is guilty as hell? A sociopath! How about the threat of death? Few among us are brave enough to face death in perfect serenity. But what good is it if we must face eternal damnation? “It is appointed for man to die once and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). What does it profit us to obtain inner peace when God’s impending judgment is hanging over us like the Sword of Damocles? To not fear what we ought to fear is not courage; it’s foolishness and recklessness.
Jesus has come to rescue us from them all. He took our place before the judgment seat of God and bore our guilt and punishment, thereby removing them from us as far as the east is from the west. He endured God's wrath in our place so we can have peace with God. Not only that, He rose again from the dead, conquering sin and death for us. Jesus did all this because He wants to give us His peace! He knows what it is like to have true peace as the Prince of Peace. He knows how much we lack it in our lives (even when we think we have it!). He knows we cannot get it ourselves despite how much we want it and try to attain it. He promises that, if we place our faith in Jesus and what He has done for us, we can have His peace!
This peace is not just a temporary, emotional state. This peace comes from knowing that there is no condemnation from God because of what Christ has done for you. Since it is His peace, "the smiles of the world cannot give it, nor the frowns of the world take it away." If we seek peace apart from Christ, we will be disappointed. People change. Fortunes come and go. Time passes by. Life slips through our fingers. So many things are out of our control, making us anxious and fearful. How can this world of change and decay give us true, lasting peace? Come to Jesus and ask for His peace. This peace of Christ, which surpasses all understanding, can be yours today!