Peace comes from trusting not doing

What does it take to have peace in today’s world? I know a lot of people search for peace, but does anyone really find it? How would you even define peace?

The first definition in the dictionary refers to a “the normal, nonwarring condition of a nation, group of nations, or the world.” Well–that’s good. But I’m talking about having peace in your own mind. Oddly enough, that definition doesn’t pop up until number six on the list: “freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession, etc.; tranquillity; serenity.”

And because I’m a word nerd, I can’t help but post the etymology of the word peace. It was first used in the year 1140 to mean “freedom from civil disorder,” but it wasn’t used to mean peace of mind until c.1200.

But knowing what peace is doesn’t help us know how to find it. And I’m pretty sure that everyone wants it. We elect officials hoping for peace. We buy things, hoping they will bring us peace. We go on vacations looking for peace. We read books and change our lifestyles, expecting that peace will come with it. We do unto others as they would have us do unto them, and expect peace in return. But do we get it?

Rarely.

Because peace doesn’t come from action. Peace comes from trust.

If you think your actions will bring you peace, where do you draw the line? There is always work to do. You’ll never be able to work hard enough to finish everything that needs to be done or to make yourself perfect.

So what about trust? If you rely on trust to bring you peace, you’d better make sure you’re putting your trust in the right things. You can trust books, but how do you know they’re telling you right? And what happens when they’re wrong?

And I guess you can trust the elected officials since they’re there because God has ordained that they be there . . . but should you really trust a politician? When you peel away the layers of smiles and policy, a politician is a regular man or woman, just like us; so there’s no reason to trust a politician more than anyone else.

Do we trust our friends to bring us peace? Maybe. But our friends let us down, and if they haven’t let you down yet, they will eventually. What will happen to your peace when that happens?

And what about ourselves? Surely if anyone could bring us peace, it would be ourselves? But if that’s the case, why can’t we find peace on vacations? You escape your job, your family, the world, your life and go to some remote location and even then you can’t sleep. If you can’t even trust yourself to find your own peace, what do you do?

Today’s verse is Psalm 119:165.

165 Those who love your instructions have great peace
      and do not stumble.

If you want peace, you need to love God’s Word.

In all my life, those are the only people I have ever encountered who are truly at peace. And I’m not talking about the serene sort of zoned-out incapacity to feel–like they’re walking around in a trance. That’s not peace. True peace comes in the midst of adversity. When everything is falling apart around you and you’re still able to function and believe that things will turn out all right in the end.

That’s peace. It’s something you can’t buy or earn. The only way you can get that kind of peace is by trusting that God knows what He’s doing.

God gave us the Bible so that we can know Him and understand His thoughts. And those of us who trust Him understand His ways (not all of them; but we get the point that He is in control and is working everything out for our good). And once you wrap your head around the fact that you can trust God with everything, it doesn’t matter what you go through in life, you have peace. And not just peace–great peace.

And beyond that, loving God’s word and keeping His instructions will prevent you from doing something that will hurt you or the people around you. And that only adds to the depth of the peace you experience when you’re walking with Him.

Wouldn’t you agree that hurting yourself or others is often the source of greatest disharmony in your own mind? Regret? Or sadness? Or bitterness? Those are the voices that are the loudest when you’re seeking peace.

So stop going on vacations or working to make yourself feel better. Stop doing everything you’re doing in hopes to make your worries disappear. It won’t work.

If you want peace, stop seeking it and start trusting God. Read the Bible, make an effort to understand what’s written there, and keep His commandments. Experiencing great peace is inevitable if you trust that God knows what He’s doing

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Living Scripture in a world that is searching

We live in a pretty wicked world. This crazy planet is falling apart at the seams, tearing itself up, destroying itself from the inside out. And I’m not talking about the natural disasters we’ve had recently. I’m talking about people.

People are destroying each other, and they’re destroying themselves. Political leaders are taxing people to death or forcing wars on people or making foolish financial decisions. And the people of the world’s country are too ignorant, too lazy or too selfish to do anything about it.

It’s enough to get you down if you focus on it. I come from a patriotic family with many relatives in the military, and I still believe America is the best country in the world. But we’re having a real struggle right now. And I honestly believe the majority of our problems as a country are our own fault. As a country, we are reaping the seeds the generation before us sewed. And the generation before us made a real mess of things.

I don’t think you can blame our current financial situation on one person. I don’t think you can blame the state of the country’s politics on one person either. I don’t think we can honestly blame the politicians for the state our country is in becuase when you get right down to it, America is still a republic. We’re a democratic republic, the strangest form of government ever conceived, and as such we get the political leaders we deserve. No one has political authority in this country until someone gives it to them.

If America is in ruins, it’s the fault of the people. Yes, the political leaders may share some responsibility, but the lion’s share falls on the shoulders of the citizens who either keep themselves blind to the truth or who are too lazy and self-absorbed to care.

I believe a lot of the responsibility for the state the U.S. is in now also falls on the Christians. Christians who cared too much about themselves to reach out to their neighbors. Christians who insisted on keeping up appearances and convinced everyone around them that they were perfect. Christians who carried thick Bibles everywhere but had no idea what the Bible actually says about life. So obsessed with making sure that people got their lives right before they came to Christ that they chased everyone away from the Truth and made faith in Christ something boring and pedantic and stereotypical. Christians have a responsibility to the country they live in, and I believe we let our country down.

But I see something stirring in America. I see a generation of young people who have grown up in divided homes. I see a generation of young people who are tired of church as usual, tired of religion, tired of false faces. I see a generation of young people who want to make a real difference in the world. And these young people are getting old enough now to start taking responsibility in the way this country is run.

Kids getting married now are determined to stay together, no matter what. They’re saving their money, being careful about what they buy and how they buy it. They’re asking questions about faith. And they honestly care about what happens to their neighbors, to their families, to their friends, to the world.

But as excited as I am about the possibilities stirring in this country, I can only be responsible for me. I can love people. And I can pray for people. And I can share what I believe in both words and actions. But when it comes right down to it, the only person I need to keep in check is myself, and I think Christians forget that sometimes. We can get so busy trying to correct other peoples’ mistakes and forget that we’re just as broken as they are.

So how does a Christian be a Christian in a world like this? How can we be a light in a world full of darkness? Yes, I think people are searching but just because people are searching for truth doesn’t mean they’re going to find it. And if we are to be lights to people, we need to know the truth. We need to know the answers for when they ask. We need to live it.

How do we do that?

Today’s verse is Psalm 119:14. But I’m putting the whole section of verses in for context.

Psalm 119:9-16

9 How can a young person stay pure?
      By obeying your word.
 10 I have tried hard to find you—
      don’t let me wander from your commands.
 11 I have hidden your word in my heart,
      that I might not sin against you.
 12 I praise you, O Lord;
      teach me your decrees.
 13 I have recited aloud
      all the regulations you have given us.
 14 I have rejoiced in your laws
      as much as in riches.
 15 I will study your commandments
      and reflect on your ways.
 16 I will delight in your decrees
      and not forget your word.

You want to know how to be a real Christian in a world that is desperately seeing something genuine?

Obey the Bible.

Read it. Know it. Live it. It will revitalize your life and your relationship with God. And it will make you shine. And in a world this dark, a little bit of light is all you need to truly stand out. And when the day comes that the people around you really open their eyes and honestly start searching, you’ll be able to give an answer for the hope you have.

God has given us His commandments for a reason. They are the key to life, abundant life full of blessings and joy. We don’t have to keep His commandments to be saved. To be saved, you just have to trust in Jesus. But His commandments are opportunities for us to receive blessings so numerous we can’t contain them all.

In a world that is searching for truth, it’s our responsibility as followers of Christ to be light. And the only way we can be light is to let God’s light shine through us. The only way to do that is to know what He says about life and living. The only way to do that is living by Scripture.