“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled nor be afraid.” – Jesus (John 14:27)
If Jesus left his peace with us and not only left it but gave it to us, then why is stress such common thing for followers of Jesus? Is it because Jesus lied and really didn’t leave His peace or give it? Is it because Jesus’ peace really isn’t worth much at all and isn’t very good at dealing with stress in one’s life?
Obviously, the answers to both of those questions is, “Absolutely not!” Then why do so many Christians struggle with stress, with being “stressed out” in life and the situations in which they find themselves?
Could it be that they haven’t taken hold of what has been given to them? Could it be that they don’t understand what is theirs in the first place?
Peace isn’t the opposite of stress; trust is.
This is important to understand. Peace isn’t the opposite of stress any more than peace is the absence of war. Peace is the result. Trusting in God and who He is for you is the opposite of stress. How much stress do you think there is in heaven? The way some Christians are so stressed out about things would cause one to think that God is sitting in heaven freaking out wondering what He’s going to do about a certain situation or pulling out his hair because of not knowing what to do.
Peace comes from proper perspective
There is no stress in heaven. God is in absolute control, of EVERYTHING! Nothing is outside of His control. And if that is reality (and it is), then trusting the One who has all things under control brings about that peace. It’s there; it has been left here and given by Jesus. It is ours for the taking. When we have this perspective, peace comes naturally. When we view things through the lens of heaven, peace is the natural result.
And that brings me to the last thing…
Peace is a choice; I get to choose.
Life is full of choices, but this is an important one. Each of us gets to choose which we will have: stress or peace. We cannot have both. Because peace is the result of trust, and trust is the opposite of stress, peace and stress cannot occupy the same space at the same time. And we get to choose which one we will keep. Personally, I choose peace because, frankly, stress sucks. And who’d want to live that way? I know I don’t. So I choose peace, and it’s wonderful. It doesn’t mean that everything goes right for me, but it does mean that I know God has it handled. And I rest in that. So, as Joshua said to the Israelites in Joshua 24:14-15, “If it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
What will you choose?