Few things are wanted more by individuals than an inner sense of personal peace. Since so many value and want this sense of personal peace, we might decide that it is commonly experienced. With that reasoning, we might conclude that many want it because they see it in others and "want what they see." Not so!

Few have the peace for which so many search. It is sought in many, many ways: over-involvement, escapes, pleasures, achievements, addictions, isolation, money, resignation, etc. The search for inner peace is common because the vast majority sense this uncommon inner peace can be found and should be experienced. In their search, most people could finish this statement: "I would have genuine peace of mind and heart IF..."

The IF usually focuses on changing a personal situation or condition believed to be the culprit that destroys inner peace. In this conviction, reasoning often proceeds in this manner. "I would have peace IF I were married" (but many of those who are married do not have peace); "IF I were single" (but many who are single do not have peace); "IF I had children" (but many who have children do not have peace); "IF I had no children" (but many who have no children do not have peace); "IF I had money" (but many who have money have no peace); "IF I had less money" (but many who are poor have no peace); "IF I had health" (but many who have health do not have peace); "IF I lived in America" (but many who live in America have no peace); etc.

All of us frequently are reminded that an inner peace of mind and heart are not dependent on things or external conditions. Two realities frequently remind us of this. (1) Many who have the things or are in the external situation we claim is the "key" to peace live with an enormous emptiness. (2) Some who do not have things or "desirable" external situations do find inner peace. Obviously, the "key" to peace is not a matter of having. One may have much and still possess an empty life, and one may not have much but find peace.

This is not irrelevant! A primary objective of God: provide those alive in His son with an inner peace. One way Christians reflect God's light in a dark world is through reflecting God's peace in their lives. Why should anyone become Jesus' disciple if he or she will experience greater guilt, increased anxiety, and a larger inner emptiness? What attracts people to Jesus Christ more than the assurance of genuine peace of mind and heart?

Consider two statements Jesus made to his twelve disciples less than a day before his death. After reading these statements, reflect on your personal concept of inner peace.

(John 14:27) 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 heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

(John 16:33) These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 14 September 2003

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