“In this world, you will have trouble” Jesus tells us, “but take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Never underestimate the value in this life of knowing where you will be spending the next one. Jesus provides us the ultimate basis for peace by promising us that His priceless gift to us is our salvation. “For God so loved the world, ” John assures us, “that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
My favorite verse to pair with this promise of our salvation is another promise, the assurance that no matter how much I screw up in this life, I cannot lose the love Jesus has for me:
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13-15)
The Holy Spirit, dwelling in me, is my compass, my direct connection to my most holy God. Knowing that I am assured a place in heaven because of the sacrifice Jesus made for me, I can go through this life working to become what Christ hopes for me to be when I arrive at my heavenly destination. “Therefore,” Paul assures the Romans, “since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:1).
But even this promise of final peace doesn’t guarantee that I feel peaceful all the time as I struggle to survive in a fallen world that is definitely full of trouble. Fortunately, the Bible contains many lessons about maintaining peace in the face of hardship upon which we believers can draw in order to maintain our promised calm when we believe in our loving God.
Peace comes when we keep God first in our minds and hearts. “Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble,” the Psalms promise (119:165). Isaiah tells us, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (26:3). Jesus explains, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Striving to do good in full knowing that God has your back is one of the best feelings in the world, freeing you from the burden of having to cross every t and dot every i and allowing you to love always and in all ways, just as Jesus gave us the example of doing. Whenever the world seems against us, we can feel peace knowing that we are walking with God in our minds and hearts as long as we strive to always put God first:
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:5-6)
Anxiety is a natural part of my every day world. I have to fight against it daily, in part because my brain is physically wired to worry, just like my thyroid is dysfunctional. But just because I have a disease that predisposes me to worry doesn’t mean I can’t find peace in God.
I believe God’s promise that I should cast all my anxiety on Him because He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7). I trust in Jesus’ assertion, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). I try to follow the advice:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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 4:6-7
My life has been filled with plenty of reasons to lose peace in the last few years, but my struggles have actually helped me get better at finding it. When I just say the name, Jesus, I feel His presence. I know He is loving me and following through on His promise to always see me through:
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10
Peace is important for another reason. It is the basis of hope. Paul writes, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
Not only do we have hope for eternity, our peace in God gives us hope to make it through the challenges of this life.
What verses bring you peace?