Sunday, January 17, 2016

John 14:27 -- On God's Peace

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
John 14:27

This is an amazing gift from Christ that he gave his disciples, and which he also offers to us.  It is even more amazing, I think, in light of another scripture: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword" (Matthew 10:34).  The second scripture makes it pretty clear that the peace God is talking about here isn't "peace on earth."  It isn't the absence of war or even the absence of conflict.  In fact, we are certain from other scriptures that we are going to go through conflict and trouble.  John 16:33 makes it clear as well: "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."  So the peace that God is offering us isn't world peace.  It isn't lack of challenges or obstacles in our lives.  "Not as the world giveth" says Christ, and I think that is very clear, because it isn't the kind of peace that we usually expect.  Christ's peace is the kind that lasts even when bad things happen.  The peace that we can have in the midst of the storm of life.  The kind it talks about in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9: "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; / Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed."  Christ's peace is deeper and calmer than any cease fire.  It's something we can have permanently and always, even in the midst of literal or figurative explosions and turmoil.  As we turn to Christ and stop fighting against his gospel, and instead accept it unconditionally in our lives, we learn what real peace is... the confidence that no matter what is going on in our lives or in the world around us, that everything will turn out as it should.  We will know that we are in God's hands and that we'll get to the happy ending that he promised.  It is the power to be cheerful and patient in the midst of difficulty (Mosiah 24:15).
Today, let's seek after God's peace... the kind that lasts.  Not saying it is easy to let go of our own will and accept his, but as we do, we realize that it isn't giving up any freedom or personality.  It's actually gaining freedom and learning more about ourselves and our potential than we ever knew before.  It's being our best selves, and it is the only way to eternal happiness and true peace.  Despite the challenges of learning to let go of trying to control everything and have our way, it is worth it when we find out we can do and have so much more when we do it God's way. :)  Let's keep our hearts from trouble and fear by turning them over to God's keeping.

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