Peace of Mind In a Troubled World
“Peace, where is peace-for our nations, our homes, and most of all our hearts and minds?” The 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. Is it also the cry of your heart? Amidst the prevailing discontent and disturbance, do you long for an inward quietness that transcends all else?
Endless achievements directed at making the world a safer, better place have only made life more complex and complicated. In many ways people have it easier than their parents, yet they are more uneasy. 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 the realities of life with drugs or alcohol, but the peace they seek eludes them. All their seeking only takes them in a vicious circle of frustrations and futility. They are still empty and lonely, still in a troubled 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 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, they were at once stricken with guilt. Before they had longed for the presence of God, but now they hid themselves with shame. Guilt and fear replaced the peace and happiness they knew. Here was the beginning of a troubled world-and a troubled mind.
Like Adam and Eve, when you are out of tune with God, fears and anxieties crowd into your life. When you focus your attention on the uncertainties of life, on a changing, decaying world, your security and confidence are shaken. Your peace is disturbed.
Sin has separated man from God. “All we like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6). “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Guilt, fear, 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 self-centeredness, 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 centered in God can be kept steady 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 could rejoice in quietness of mind. With our hearts 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 hart 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.
The Battleground in Our Hearts
Although our soul longs for God, our sinful nature rebels at His ways. Part of us yearns for God and part of us reaches for fleshly desires. Our hearts are a battleground of continual conflict. This inner struggle causes tension and excessive strain. Without God we are “like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt” (Isaiah 57:20).
There can be no peace until all of life—mind, body, and spirit—are coordinated by the One who made us and understands us. He is not only master of the world but knows your life and mine from the beginning to the end. He was thinking of us when He came into the world “to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79).
As the Prince of Peace, He invites you to come to Him. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). When you come to Him, you will find relief and relaxation in the freedom He gives. Your peace will be as a river (Isaiah 48:18)—an active, sparkling peace that is refreshing and strong, a peace that passeth all understanding. (Philippians 4:7) Will you come to Jesus, casting your burden upon Him? He says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you … Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
Faith and trust are the antidotes for fear and anxiety. How restful it is to trust in the only God who is from everlasting to everlasting, to have a Friend who never changes, whose love never dies. This Friend is ever thinking of us, ever caring for us. So why worry and fret? Learn to do as we read in I Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” There is peace when the battle is over, so why not surrender your life to the Lord? Remember, if you trust, you don’t worry, and if you worry, you don’t trust. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3).
Resentment is a poison that also robs your peace of mind. It leads to discouragement and hopeless confusion. It is hard to forgive those who have done you an injustice, but you must if you wish to be forgiven. “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:15). As faith is born in your heart, you are able to surrender your will. Instead of resentment and irritation, your heart is filled with love and mercy, and you experience an inner tranquility. When Jesus is reigning in your heart, you will love your enemies. Only through Christ’s redeeming blood can this occur.
Repentance and Confession of Sin Leads to Peace of Mind
Maybe you feel the heavy load of past sins weighing you down, and you feel you have more than you can bear. The Lord offers the remedy in Acts 3:19. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” 1 John 1:9 also says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. “As a result, you will have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).
In the Twenty-third Psalm David expresses his confidence in God. He gives a very descriptive message of the peace he experienced. This peace and fellowship is for all those who have a vital companionship with the Shepherd.
The Twenty-third Psalm
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”
Do you know this Shepherd? Do you believe and trust Him? Isaiah tells us that this tender, merciful Shepherd “shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom” (Isaiah 40:11). Are you ready to be lifted out of confusion into the serenity of God’s everlasting arms? Are you ready to commit to Him your past sins, your present temptations, your fears of the future, and yield yourself completely to Him? The Lord gives you the choice. It is yours to make.
When you come to Jesus Christ with your whole heart, your search for peace of mind will be over. He will give peace, and a calm that comes only from trusting Him. You will be able to say with the poet:
I know a peace, where there is no peace,
A calm, where wild winds blow,
A secret place where face to face
With the Master I may go.
-Ralph Spalding Cushman
You will have peace of mind in a troubled world! Open the door of your heart to Christ—just now—and someday He’ll open the door of heaven for you, where perfect peace will reign and never end.
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Published by the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite