Personal peace seems like a hot commodity in a topsy-turvy world. People want it, so they seek it in various places—relationships, alcohol, drugs, wealth, status, and even religion. Trouble is, the above might provide a counterfeit peace but it lasts only a short time. Then what?
Scripture is clear that Jesus Christ—the Prince of Peace—is the source of peace. If we want it, we need to enter a relationship with Him by confessing our sinfulness and acknowledging Him as our Savior. “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid,” He said in John 14:27.
Entering a relationship with Jesus is the key to unlocking the door to peace. After that, we can take several practical steps when fearful thoughts enter our minds. These are found in Philippians 4:6—“Don’t worry about anything: instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” In short form, here’s what those steps look like:
* Don’t worry about anything. Easier said than done, right? Many of us spend a ton of energy worrying about things that never happen or that have already happened and cannot be changed. We allow the “what-ifs” to disturb our sleep and make us sick. God knows the negative effect of worry on our brains and our bodies, so He has provided a way to deal with it. He says we should…
* Pray about everything. With the Middle East in crisis and Japan reeling from the recent earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster, we might feel that God doesn’t have time for our piddly concerns. At least that’s what Satan would like us to believe. The truth is, God invites us to bring our requests both large and small to Him. “Pray about everything,” He says, “not just the concerns you deem earth-shattering.”
* Tell God what you need. Be specific. If you need a job with different hours to accommodate your family’s schedule, tell Him so. If you’re lonely and need a close girlfriend, tell Him. If you need a fresh idea for work or a special project, say so. Tell Him what you need and trust Him to answer in the way that He deems best.
* Thank God for all He has done. Many times in the Old Testament, God commanded His people to remember His faithfulness. “Look back,” He said. “Remember what I did for you and speak of these things to your children.” When we thank God for all He’s done in the past, we find courage to face whatever lies ahead.
Philippians 4:7 follows with a promise. “If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
There, you have it! The steps to finding peace are few and simple. Trouble is, we humans make them difficult because we get stuck on “don’t worry about anything.” You’d think we believe worrying makes us more spiritual or able to control our circumstances!
Question: What can you add to these steps for experiencing peace? How have you seen these steps prove true in your own life?