What are the most precious things in your life? For myself, I would say love, peace, and joy. I bet each of us would say those are the commodities we desire. Money can’t buy love, peace, or joy since none of us would put them up for sale. And while we might fight to hold on to love, we treat peace and joy like they are disposable.
I have discovered my joy is dependent upon me having peace in my life. I can’t be happy and content if I am stressed and worried. I’ve also discovered peace is an acquired taste. Everyone says they want it, but few are willing to give up the things blocking their peace. I am addicted to peace, so I fight against allowing anger, negativity, and worry into my life.
Many things want to steal your peace. Turn on the news, and you will see stories about mass shootings, monkeypox, gas prices, inflation, war, and COVID. Open Facebook, and you will see everyone’s opinions about those topics, which is worse than the news itself. There is always some offense or crisis-de-jour shouting for your attention. But I promise you this, as soon you answer that call, it’s hello stress and goodbye peace and joy.
Terrible things will happen in the world. They may even occur in your home and in your health. We live in a broken, fallen world full of sorrow and disasters. That is our reality. But here is the truth that trumps that reality; we also live beneath an open sky of God’s love, grace, and favor. We get to choose where we focus our attention. The crisis-de-jour, or Jesus. Jesus, Himself said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But be encouraged! I’ve already defeated the world!”
Jesus promises that our lives will not always be easy, but He also promises we can have joy and peace because we have Him. I exercise this promise by taking my concerns to Him. I tell Him about the school shootings and the war in Ukraine. We even talk about whatever offense I’m struggling with because anger is a stealer of my peace. I hand all my concerns, global and personal, to Him, and I try to leave them with Him. The Bible calls this exchange system “beauty for ashes.” I can’t expect to hold on to the ashes and still experience His peace. It doesn’t work that way.
One of the promises Jesus gave us before He died is that He would provide us with His peace. We access that peace through the power of His Spirit, which lives inside us. The peace He gives is not dependent upon our circumstances being rosy. That’s the world’s kind of peace. His peace is accessed as we abide in Him and His love. In closing, I want to share the Apostle Paul’s prescription for peace, “Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).”