Peace is a coveted yet elusive state of being in this world! It is something we generally think we can only experience when life is free from conflict, hostility, disturbances, and annoyances, but seriously – when does that ever happen? And if we get a short respite, it’s still only a semblance of peace. It’s almost as though we live on pins and needles, waiting for the next bad thing to happen to cause discord and upset our sense of peace!
But there is a peace that passes our understanding, is tangible, relevant, and independent of whatever is happening around us! This peace encompasses so fully we can literally live untroubled lives amidst troubling times. This peace is bequeathed to people who know, love, and obey the One who left it to us, Jesus! John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Jesus is the Giver! Whenever something is given however, it must be received and then used or applied in our lives. When I was in high school and college athletics “back in the day”, it was common for star athletes to bequeath their numbers to younger players whom they believed had potential to lead the team once they were gone. It was a special honor to be bequeathed their number. Along with that honor though came responsibility to work hard, to be a person of integrity, to show respect for the school and sport, and to carry on the legacy of the last person who wore that number. Bequests are at the discretion of the giver, never the receiver. In other words, people don’t get to ask for something be bequeathed to them. The one who bequeaths to another considers it an honor and privilege to pass on and bless another person.
When Jesus chose to leave us His peace, this was solely His decision, not ours. He is honored to bless all those who believe in Him with His peace. Now, it is our responsibility to walk in His peace, bringing Him honor as we do, demonstrating respect as we live in it, and carrying on the legacy of the One who gave it to us.
Notice Jesus gives a directive after leaving and giving His peace! He said not to let our hearts be troubled or afraid. Wait! Isn’t that what His peace is supposed to do? Take away the trouble in our hearts and all fear? Isn’t that His job to take us to a place of tranquility, serenity, and calm where we are untroubled and free from strife? No!
But it is this kind of thinking which keeps us searching for peace in this lifetime and rarely finding it. We want peace to overtake or cover up the disharmony, warring in our soul, tumult, turbulence, and pandemonium in our lives. We ask Him for peace without realizing it is already ours, it has already been left to us because Jesus bequeathed it to us. We need to stop asking for something He has already given to us!
We have had the order wrong. His peace doesn’t come in after our life is full of all sorts of hullabaloo! The peace He left with us is meant to fill our hearts; that is, our emotions, thoughts, desires, so when the hullabaloo happens in life we are at peace! When we start with peace, we will end with peace and we will not let our hearts be troubled or afraid.
We must understand that peace does not erase the tumult in life and peace does not keep our hearts from being troubled. His peace is experienced in the midst of tumult and we are not to let our hearts from being troubled or afraid. Jesus tells us how and it is very simple – Believe! John 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”
Believe in God, believe in Jesus, let Him be Lord and master keeps our hearts untroubled and free from fear, living in His peace! That’s right! The pathway to an untroubled heart is belief in Jesus! Understand that believing in this context means in faith we literally give ourselves up to Jesus. We are sold out, knowing we cannot do anything in or of ourselves. When we give it up for Jesus, our hearts are not troubled.
There you have it! And it isn’t so much that we keep our hearts from being troubled, but rather He keeps our hearts from being troubled. As we keep ourselves in Him, we let nothing else keep us! Our part is really all in the “letting”. Let not your heart be troubled. If we are troubled it is because we are letting our hearts be given up to someone or something else! Believe in God instead! Give yourself up to Him. Believe in Jesus! Give yourself up to Him! Let Him in!
Most often when it comes to the peace of God, Christians pray and ask God to give His peace to them in the midst of tragedy, loss, struggle, turmoil, and devastation. In truth, we should not ask Him for something He said He already gave to us! When He gives us something it is ours! Could the absence of peace in our lives exist because we don’t believe He really left it with us? Or because we haven’t received what He gave to us?
If we believe in Jesus and receive the peace He gave to us, we know it is within us! We know we own it and have a responsibility to use, apply, enjoy, and live in it! His peace is tangible, authentic, powerful, and it is OURS! This is the stance from which we let our hearts not be troubled. Knowing His peace comes from the inside out, not from the outside in! We aren’t asking Jesus to download peace into our lives. Instead, it rises up from within. When His peace rises up within our hearts, it literally drowns the troubling and fearful thoughts and emotions that come from the outside. I hope you caught that! Troubling and fearful thoughts, carnal desires, and the like come from the outside. We can receive those and let them trouble our hearts or we can take them captive into obedience to Christ and let our hearts NOT be troubled.
Peace! It no longer needs to be an elusive, coveted, rarely lived in state of being! Peace is in you if you believe in God – if you believe in Jesus! He left us His peace – He gave us His peace! Let’s do something with it! Let His peace rise up and overflow within you today! AND, let not your heart be troubled or afraid!