“Peace, where is peace… for our nations, our homes, and most of all our hearts and minds?” This agonizing cry has echoed down through the ages, but it is heard with increasing intensity as the world becomes progressively more tempest-tossed and panic-stricken. It is also the cry of your heart? Amidst the prevailing discontent and disturbance, do you long for an inward peace and quietness that transcends all else?
Endless achievements directed at making the world a safer, better place have only made life more complex and complicated. Though in many ways people have it easier than their parents, they are uneasier. People are weary and worried. Beyond question there is a need for direction and counsel, security, and confidence. We need and want peace of mind.
Peace of mind: what a treasure! Can this treasure actually be found in a world of so much conflict and despair, of so much turmoil and trouble?
The great search is on! Multitudes are seeking peace in fame and fortune, in pleasure and power, in education and knowledge, in human relationships and marriage. They desire to fill their heads with knowledge and their purses with wealth, but their souls remain empty. Others are seeking to escape from the realities of life in drugs and/or alcohol, but the peace that they so desperately seek eludes them. All their seeking only take them in a vicious circle of frustrations and futility. They are still empty and lonely, still in a trouble world with a troubled mind.
Many search among outward and tangible things, but neglect to look within. They are afraid of what they may discover. They would like to blame a troubled world for their troubled minds, but the cure must begin within their (very) own hearts.
MAN IN TURMOIL.
God created man and placed him in a beautiful garden to enjoy perfect peace, joy and happiness. But when Adam and Eve disobeyed (God), they were at once stricken with guilt. Whereas before they had longed for the presence of God, they now hid themselves with shame. Remorse and fear replaced the peace and happiness they once knew. Here was the beginning of a troubled world… and a troubled mind.
Like Adam and Eve, whenever you are out of tune and harmony with God, fears and anxieties crowd into your life. When you focus your attention on the uncertainties of life, on a ever-changing, decaying world, your security and confidence are shaken. Your peace is also disturbed.
Sine has separated man from God. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way,” (Isaiah 53:6). “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23). Guilt, fear, remorse, irritation, resentment, selfishness, and other hostile impulses plague man wherever he goes. They bring weariness and mental exhaustion.
The love of self was at the root of the first disobedience of man. It continues to be one of the basic evil inclinations that take you down the path of despair and heartache.When you become self-centered in your wants and ambitions, you become anxious and fretful. The longer you travel the path of selfishness, the more troubled you become.
GOD-CENTERED LIVING BRINGS PEACE.
Instead of seeing yourself as the center of existence, you need to turn to God and make Him your central purpose in life. Without God as your center, you fall easy prey to petty worries, self-pity, fears and anxiety. With God in the center, every area of your life will reach out from the “hub” like spokes in a wheel and make your life complete and worth living. Only a heart that puts God first can be kept stead and peaceful.
The psalmist declares, “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed, I will sing and give praise,” (Psalm 57:7). With his whole trust in God, he can rejoice in peace and quietness of mind. With our heart centered and fixed on God, we have inward peace in the midst of outward troubles. It is possible to be “troubled on every side, yet not distressed …perplexed, but not in despair,” (2 Corinthians 4:8).
JESUS CHRIST, THE AUTHOR OF PEACE.
Jesus invites all men to the most meaningful, life-changing experience. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me,” (Matthew 16:24). “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have passed away; behold, all things are become new,” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Will you accept his invitation, “Come unto me”? He offers light for darkness, trust for doubt, peace for strife, joy for sorrow, rest for weariness, hope for despair, and life for death.
God made man with a living soul which longs to be in fellowship with its Maker. “As the heart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God,” (Psalm 42:1,2). Only the living God will satisfy the soul. Of this you may be certain: you will never be at peace until you are at peace with God.
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Published by the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite