I find that I keep being irresistibly drawn to the reality of God’s abundance and how it impacts my life. Why is it that we are children of the abundant God, yet we often feel that our lives are still lacking something important? Why do we live in perhaps the most affluent time in history, and live in perhaps the most affluent country on this planet, yet feel unfulfilled?
I think one reason is that we get confused about what God’s abundance looks like. Too often we are looking for a better paying, or more fulfilling job, a more satisfying marriage, better health, more obedient children, national or world peace, etc. We are looking for external abundance. But as I study the Bible I find that what makes life genuinely fulfilling is internal abundance. And, truthfully, that’s what is often lacking in our lives.
So, I need to reevaluate where I’m searching for this abundant, satisfying life. The Bible really does promise it; I need to see where I’ll find this internal wealth. To do this I want to focus on one way that our Lord promises an important kind of abundance-one I’m betting that you want more of!
As Jesus was nearing the time when he would endure the agony of the cross, he sought to prepare his disciples for one of the most frightening, stressful and challenging times in their life. To ready them for this lifechanging event he said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid (John 14:27).
Look carefully at the words he speaks. “My peace I give to you.” Jesus is not saying, “Don’t worry. Tough times are ahead, but you’ll make it through. Just think positive thoughts!” Nor does he say, “I’ll send you a personal bodyguard of angels so that you’ll know that no danger will confront you.” Instead, he says, “I’m giving you something that I possess that you can possess, too. I’m giving you, my peace.”
I’ve thought about what Jesus said and here’s some thoughts that have blessed me. First, our Lord always has peace. Think about it. What would the Lord worry about? What would rob him of peace? He is the sovereign of the universe. He is in control of everything and he knows the outcome will always follow his perfect will. He’s not afraid of Satan or his cronies. He’s not afraid of ungodly, belligerent world leaders.
So, peace is an integral aspect of God’s nature. Peace is who he is. When Jesus utters these words to his disciples, he wasn’t trying to say something to make them feel better; he was equipping them with something of himself to face the days ahead. He was imparting his peace within them.
You and I have the same resource available to us. Jesus Christ dwells in us. Consider his words. “Remain in me as I remain in you (John 15:4). Or, the apostle Paul’s testimony. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20), “For in Christ all the fulness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fulness” (Col. 2:9). Since Christ lives in us, his peace lives in us. If I take seriously his presence in my life and the world around me, his peace should be an ever-present reality.
Here’s an example that may help convey this truth. Imaging that you and I are in a restaurant sharing a meal with Christ. Suddenly, someone tells us that gunmen are outside with the intent to come in and kill everyone. Our first instinct would to be frightened. But Christ speaks and says, “Don’t worry. I have everything in control. Trust me.” Would we relax and continue with our meal knowing that nothing could happen that was outside his control? Or, would we “freak out,” continuing to worry, or panic.
The apostle Paul had learned that lesson and passed it on to the Philippian Christians. He said, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6, 7). Notice that this peace transcends all understanding. It is a supernatural peace — Christ’s personal peace that permeates our heart and mind.
Perhaps this week you and I might do well to frequently meditate on these words of our Lord and Guardian, Jesus Christ. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). In the midst of political unrest, Covid, etc. — as well as our own personal challenges — do I believe that his words are relevant to my life today?