toledo church of god

Finding Peace of Mind
FINDING PEACE OF MIND

Take the kids to school or day care.

Do the grocery shopping.

Run errands.

Fight the rush hour.

Sit in meetings.

Work overtime. . . .

We don’t have to go far nowadays to encoun ter stress, do we? Everyday wear and tear leaves us physically drained.

But daily routine is rarely the only source of stress. Divorce or the death of a spouse brings a life of loneliness; a job layoff tightens the budget; a natural disaster cuts a path of destruction; a past of abuse haunts the present; wrong choices reap a bitter harvest of consequences; chronic illness or an accident steals the quality of life and perhaps threatens death.

These circumstances prompt questions about the future:

“Will the pain of loss ever go away?”

“Can I trust anyone again?”

“What will I do without a place to live?”

“Can I face tomorrow without promise of income or good health?”

“How can I face death when it comes?”

Searching for relief

It’s not surprising that many of us search for relief — something that will bring peace of mind. It’s also not surprising that we can supposedly find relief from a number of sources. Some religions suggest meditation and yoga. Health gurus tout natural herbs that calm the body. And of course there are tranquilizers, sleeping pills, alcohol, psycho-therapy — anything to shut out life or help us cope with it.

There’s just one problem with these solutions: After we’ve tried any one of them, reality still awaits us. Stress and worry remain; all we’ve accomplished is momentary escape.

God never intends us to be overwhelmed by stress. He knows we can’t cope with the enormity of life by ourselves. Because He wants to bear our burdens, God tells us, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned” (Isaiah 43:2).

Divine and human

How is the divine God able to understand the sufferings and stress of human beings?

Through His Son, Jesus Christ.

When Jesus lived on earth almost 2,000 years ago, He had a human body just like ours. He suffered physical pain and was worn out from a busy schedule. He slept; He ate. He had times when He just wanted to get away.

Jesus also had human emotions like ours. He felt compassion for a widow whose son had died. He cried when He visited the grave of His friend, Lazarus. Sounds a lot like us, doesn’t it?

Jesus knew firsthand that life on earth was no picnic. That’s why He gave us this assurance: “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).

Notice that Jesus said “My peace” — not what the world offers through herbs and meditation and such. The peace of Jesus has more to do with the heart than the head.

Lifting the weight

We carry an enormous weight of sin inside us. Sin isn’t confined to such things as indecent actions, lies, murder, and stealing. It is deep-down rebellion against God. We want to do our own thing our own way. This rebellion causes disharmony with God and robs us of inner peace.

We can’t ignore sin or cover it up. No matter how many ways we divert our minds, the burden of discord inevitably crushes us. As one biblical writer put it, “I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me” (Psalm 51:3).

But through His Son’s death on the cross, God makes people right with Himself. It is God’s gift to us — a free gift of salvation. We must accept this gift to enjoy harmony with God. It isn’t enough to acknowledge Jesus as a great teacher or prophet. We must believe in Christ, placing our full confidence in Him. We must place our sin on Him, knowing that He is the only Savior who can lift the weight and set us free.

God’s grace

The grace of God makes this salvation possible. Grace is God’s way of looking past our sin to our need for deliverance. He accepts us as His very own children without approving of our sinful behavior.

God’s grace is favor that we didn’t deserve — like a pardon granted to a death row inmate just before his execution. We can’t contribute time and money to charity; we can’t help the less fortunate; we can’t even attend church or follow a set of rules. The only way to enjoy God’s grace is to receive it as a gift through believing in Jesus Christ.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship” (Ephesians 2:8-10a).

What does all this have to do with finding peace of mind?

Everything. The Bible says that when we believe in Christ, we are made right with God (Romans 3:24). Being brought into this right relationship is the first step to finding peace of mind. As the Bible puts it, “We have been made right with God because of our faith. So we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:1).

Is that all there is?

Once we place our faith in Christ and have peace with God, we can trust God with our everyday problems and catastrophes. He urges us to not be anxious about anything that happens, but to bring all our troubles to Him in prayer (Philippians 4:6). The Bible goes on to say, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (v. 7).

In this passage we see an important characteristic of God’s peace that comes in response to praying: internal protection. The word guard is a military term meaning “to garrison.” The peace of God stations itself to defend against any attack on our hearts and minds. It holds us secure on the inside regardless of what upsets us on the outside. No wonder Philippians 4:7 says that this peace is beyond our human comprehension!

However, telling God our concerns through prayer is not enough. We must set our minds on Him alone, regardless of what troubles we face. In other words, we won’t try other options that promise peace. Isaiah 26:3 says that God “will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you [the Lord].”

Here, then, is another characteristic of God’s peace: It is perfect, or complete; nothing needs to be added to it. It comes in response to our trusting solely in God, confident that He isn’t trying to harm us but will help us. No matter what happens, He is working for our good (Romans 8:28).

Conclusion

Unfortunately, problems are part of the fabric of this world. The good news is that Jesus Christ is the way to finding true peace of mind by offering peace of heart first. That’s the kind of peace we should be looking for — the kind that dwells in the core of our being. It helps us deal with life outwardly because God has dealt with us inwardly first.

Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are from The Everyday Bible, New Century Version, copyright © 1987, 1988 by Word Publishing, Dallas, Texas 75039. Used by permission.

More brochures in this series...

      Salvation  The New Birth  What Must I Do To Be Saved  Two Appointments With God  Life Ends: Then What  Jesus  Will Return