Do you know where anxiety comes from?
Turn on any news channel, and see if you aren’t ordering Life Straws from Amazon five minutes later. This world has a lot of terrible things going on and there’s no shortage of people who want to tell you all about it. Much of it is true. This planet is jacked up.
I have good news and bad news for you.
The bad news is the world has always been full of sin and evil and uncertainty (since the first people messed it up, anyway).
The good news is I just saved 15% on my car insurance by switching to Geico.
Ok, ok, the good news is we can have peace even though the world around us is going up in flames. How do I know? Well, the third fruit of the Spirit listed is peace, and God talks about peace often in the only news we should actually trust: the good news found in the gospel and in the pages of Scripture.
Listen carefully (read carefully? Who knows?): I am not saying we shouldn’t know what’s going on in the world, but as Christians, we can measure information against God’s word and respond appropriately. We need to do this with everything in life (for example, Jesus wants me to find my happiness in a relationship outside of my marriage? FAKE NEWS!), but today we will stick to peace.
So how do we get this peace? We have to turn off the fake news (this doesn’t mean actual news necessarily but anything that contradicts the Word of God: worldly advice, impossible standards, discouragement, etc) and keep choosing to believe God over the noise.
Here’s three ways I think we can find and hold on to peace, even when life is challenging:
1. We receive peace with God when we place our faith in Jesus.
The only way to attain peace with God is through faith in Jesus’ death on the cross in our place. That faith allows us to see ourselves as we truly are (sinners in need of a Savior), and to worship Jesus as Lord, which gives us peace with God and the promise of eternity with him. When our trust is placed in our loving Father, our hearts can find rest.
Without this assurance, whatever you do to bring yourself peace here on earth will crumble and turn to dust. Maybe not right away, but if you are not at peace with God, the eternity waiting for you will be devoid of peace, joy, love, and every good thing.
I hate telling you that. But it’s not fake news, because it’s what the Bible says, over and over. FAKE NEWS says you’re fine on your own, and even if you’re not, there’s always time to figure it out later. FAKE NEWS is a liar. Trust in Jesus, turn from your sin, and know peace.
2. We maintain peace by living according to God’s word.
If you are a Christian who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, you won’t be able to live in sin. You can’t! I’ve tried! The Spirit will not give you a moment’s peace until you get that garbage out of your life..and then when it’s gone he will help you see more junk you could probably live better without. It’s super fun! Seriously, though, sin steals our peace because it ruins our lives. FAKE NEWS will tell you your sin is better than the life Jesus has for you. Don’t listen.
Not only does living God’s way provide peace within, it helps you to live at peace, as far as it is up to you, with other people! Even your spouse! But let’s just think of this logically: don’t do dirt to other people and no one will be mad at you! Who knew???
But seriously, the way we treat and respond to others (even when they may not be the nicest) can have a huge impact on our level of peace. A clean conscience goes a long way, and so does kindness. And there’s always unfailing mercy and restoration from God when we repent after blowing it. Because we will.
I’ve lived with drama, and it’s for the birds. It just drains you. God’s way is so much better.
3. Peace is found in keeping our focus on Jesus instead of ourselves.
When we measure our lives by the world’s standards, we are either going to be filled with pride or despair. Guess what?
You might be Insta-famous, but you are still a sinner and that body won’t last forever. Don’t place your assurance here! God looks at the heart. You might be in a season of life where you feel like a complete failure, but if you are in Christ, you lack nothing. Don’t fall into the comparison trap. You, yes you, were made on purpose for a purpose. God delights in you!
When our eyes are on our own kingdom, our peace will start to feel more like panic. We are not enough. But that’s okay! We were never meant to be enough. We were meant to cling to the One who is. When we think of ourselves as we truly are, lost without Christ but completely complete and wholly loved in him, the struggle fades into the background.
When God is the hero of our story, we don’t have to be. We can rest in him, and trust he will equip us to do whatever he has planned for us, even if it’s hard.
If we find ourselves in a bad head space, dollars to donuts we can look deeper and see we’ve taken our eyes off the Lord. It will happen. Often. The key is to train ourselves to spot the FAKE NEWS telling us we are the center of the universe and come back to the feet of Jesus. As often as it takes.
I hope this has been helpful. As someone who struggles with maintaining peace in my own heart, I know it’s not easy.
Let’s take God at his word, turn off the fake news, and have peace anyway.