It is now nearly 2 months since we celebrated the New Year! The ‘possibilities’ for the new year are starting to become the ‘realities’ of 2017. As always though, the future is still uncertain – just look at national and global politics right now! And it’s not clear where peace is to be found…
What will this year bring? New beginnings and endings? Growth or change in relationships with friends and family? Maybe the start of a new adventure in life, work or study? Perhaps the closing of a door or death of a dream?
In the face of these unknowns, do we anticipate a year of joy and peace or one of hurt and turmoil? We might imagine that the events of the year will determine how we will experience it – that we have to “wait and see, and hope for the best”.
But experiencing peace is not a lottery
The Bible offers a different perspective.
Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds….. James 1:2
…but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope… Romans 5:3-4
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him … Romans 8:28
How can this be? How can we have this inner peace, assurance and joy in all circumstances? Self-help gurus, bloggers and social media contributors offer a range of advice. Inspirational quotes about relaxing, not letting others’ behaviour or emotions affect us or control us, self-talk to beat anxiety, and even trying to smile all the time! However, all these strategies rely on us being strong and disciplined enough to do these things when we are least emotionally, physically and mentally able. They all rely on us!
The Bible offers us a better way to obtain inner peace and contentment. It comes from having peace and contentment with God our creator. If we have peace with God we will also have inner peace. And when we have peace with God (and consequently inner peace) we will also have the desire and the ability to enjoy peace with others. Peace with God cannot be conjured up or maintained by anything we do, say or think. Instead, it is totally reliant on us trusting in the loving, holy, forgiving and sovereign God.
How we can find peace in 2017 and beyond
The Bible tells us how to come to this place of peace.
First, we have to realise that we are enemies of God our creator if we choose to be self-reliant, self-determining and independent of God. (Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. Col 1:21)
Secondly, God wants to have peace with us and made a way for us to be friends – through Jesus Christ’s full payment of our debt through his death in our place. (For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit. 1 Peter 3:18)
Thirdly, all we need to do is to take God at his word by repenting, believing and accepting the free gift of Jesus’ death as a sacrifice for us and choosing to make the resurrected Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. (For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16)
When we choose to submit to God, we will have inner peace because we no longer need to be responsible for “making” our own life satisfying, enjoyable or meaningful. Rather, we can trust God to be all-satisfying to us, and for he himself to be our enjoyment and give meaning to our life.
Key thought: When we choose peace with God we can have peace with others because we no longer have to depend on others to make us happy, fulfilled or comfortable.
We can trust God to be our happiness, fulfilment and comfort.
We encourage you to make praying, supporting and encouraging each other to find peace with God daily a personal priority this year.
Peace with God is the only true and lasting answer to responding to all that 2017 will bring!