John 14: 27 (NLT)- “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
Jesus said those words to his disciples when explaining what would happen after his death and resurrection. His peace is more than anything the world can give. I can personally attest to that since I spent a lot of time lost, trying to find anything to give me peace. The only place I found solace was at the end of a needle. Obviously, it didn’t start there, but that’s where I ended up in my search for the world’s peace.
I still can’t find peace outside of Christ. He says it’s a gift. That since we have it, we shouldn't be troubled or afraid. Isn’t it strange that Jesus’ solution for being troubled or afraid is peace of mind and heart? I may seem redundant here, but when you really dig into that sentence it’s deeper than it looks. On the surface we may read this and move on, thinking it’s just another scripture about peace or love, but this is huge.
If you want to stop being afraid of everything, then rest in the peace that comes from the Holy Spirit. There’s a direct correlation between courage, boldness, and peace.
How do we receive Christ’s peace?
Well for one, he says we die. Our old self is buried with Christ and we become a new creation. Sounds pretty intense. How do we die to ourselves?
We stop trying to figure everything out.
We stop trying to change our lives.
We stop trying to become more holy.
Then we rest, knowing we can’t make ourselves any better through any amount of trying.
Peace comes from the knowledge that God calls us his. His adoption isn't earned with our right or wrong actions. It’s totally Jesus’ doing. That’s huge.
I realized this when I first became a Christian. I kept coming to God in prayer and I would tell him all the things I was sorry for; all the sins I had committed that week. It wasn’t confession. It was trying to save myself through prayer. I thought if I could get myself right by confessing enough sin, then we could be back to a blank slate. Imagine if every time I saw Kayla I started out our interaction by telling her I wasn’t worthy of being her husband, and that I was so sorry for never living up to her expectations. Eventually, it would kill the intimacy of our relationship. She would probably respond the way God finally did with me. One day during prayer everything changed. I didn’t hear it audibly, but inside my heart I felt God interrupt me and say: "Just come. Stop apologizing for how bad of a person you've been and just come."
Just show up. Be still and know that he's God. Rest.
I was keeping a record of sin that he had already forgiven. He took care of it at the cross. Me begging for forgiveness was weak. Finally, I could approach God with peace and boldness, because I realized I’ll never be good enough, and that’s okay. My righteousness is like "filthy rags" to him, but he loves me anyway.
Since then, I've also learned a lot more self-control, and I'm continually being transformed into a person who will be able to enjoy Heaven. Self-control came from giving up. When we don't put the pressure on ourselves to be perfect, it gives the Holy Spirit room to teach us through trial and error with grace.
I’ve been struggling with quite a bit of fear this week. Mostly, the fear of perception. I’m afraid that I’ve sinned too much in the past and it will somehow come back to bite me if people read my blog or buy my book. That’s stupid. I don’t want to be afraid anymore. I want to have peace. I needed to vent about all of this and hopefully this helps someone else overcome their fear as well.
If you are afraid don’t pray for courage, pray for peace. You don't need to fight your fears; you need to let them go.
Here’s where many people miss the mark. They stop everything and receive peace, but then they don’t share it with anyone else. The gospel becomes about them and chasing another experience with God’s presence. Don't get me wrong. Chase those experiences as much as possible, but out of his presence should come an overflow of joy that you can’t contain. The peace that the world gives you through substances makes you want to lie in bed all day and watch tv. The peace that God gives you should make you energized and ready to carry out his will.
Rest. Let peace cancel out fear. Then go.
That’s all I have this week. Hopefully you guys enjoyed reading this. Let me know what you think in the comments below.