By Paul Smithson
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philip. 4:6-7). The promise of peace of mind is one of the most precious in all the Scriptures. Some of the greatest problems we have in our society are unrest, confusion, unhappiness, and the lack of emotional stability in the lives of so many people. The divorce rate, the increase in the use of drugs and alcohol, and the climbing rate of suicide, are simply statistics that revolve around the fact that people have not found peace of mind.
This is not how our Lord would have us to live. Jesus said, “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10). The blessed life that Jesus came to give is not just a life that we look forward to living at the end of time. Life that Jesus gives is a blessed spiritual life that begins here and continues throughout eternity (Jn. 1:25-26). Without Christ, without faithful obedience to Him in our lives and taking advantage of His wonderful promises, life is miserable.
There are many things we can allow to rob us of the peace the Lord wants us to have. One of the greatest causes of mental anguish and anxiety is guilt. No one can have peace within themselves when the guilt of sin lies within their heart, causing a broken relationship with God. Psychology has realized for many years that guilt causes insatiably, irritability, and anxiety. What psychology has found out, however, the Bible has taught all along. “There is no peace for the wicked, says the Lord” (Isa. 48:22). “But the wicked are like the tossing sea, for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up refuse and mud” (Isa. 57:20). To keep guilt within oneself and act as through it isn’t there can tear one to pieces (Ps. 32:2). Jesus, knowing what guilt does to individuals says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). He is speaking about those who are weary and weight down with the burden of the guilt of sin. No one has to live with guilt, for we can have the guilt of sin washed away by repenting and being baptized (Ac. 22:16). Until one gets rid of the guilt of sin they will never have peace of mind.
Fear also robs people of peace of mind. People fear all sorts of things: small places, falling, illnesses, etc. Yet, I suppose the greatest fear that is shared by all is the fear of death. We can try to put it out of our minds, but as the Scriptures declare, “It is appointed for all men once to die and after death comes the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). “The living know that they shall die,” (Ecc. 9:5) yet, we know not when. We must simply be ready to die, for unless we are ready we live in fear. The Scriptures speak of people living in the fear of death and explain that this is the reason Jesus came, to deliver us from that slavery of the fear of death (Heb. 2:14-16). In Christ one needs not to fear death. To the Christian there is no “sting” to death (1Cor. 15:55), but “to die is gain” (Philip. 2:21). Through Christ there is no fear of death because there is hope of eternal live, but without Him there is only a fiery expectation of judgment to come.
Worry, too, is something that keeps many from having peace of mind. Worry is one of the most destructive forces to our health. It has been called the grave digger that digs an untimely grave. It is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but it does not get you anywhere. Many worry about the future. Most of the time, however, what we get ourselves so worked up over never amounts to anything. Even if it does, what does it help to worry? Jesus says, “Do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own” (Mt. 6:34). Some worry about the past. If it doesn’t make any sense to worry about the future, it surly doesn’t make any sense to worry about the past. That is like crying over spilt milk; there’s nothing you can do about it. We all make mistakes and wrong decisions. We all sin and err, but worry changes nothing. The thing to do is repent, seek forgiveness, and serve the Lord now, “forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead” (Philip. 3:13).
The peace of God is only found in Jesus Christ. For only through Him can we be made free from the guilt of sin, the fear of death, and not be plagued with worries. Do you have the peace of God that surpasses all comprehension?