One of the fruits of the spirit is peace. We spend a lifetime in pursuit of joy and happiness. I am sure that most of us have been guilty at one time or another of placing too much emphasis in finding our happiness in things of the world. I know in my youth, I placed a lot of emphasis on material possessions, sports, hobbies and achievements in search of happiness. These things did bring temporary happiness.
But with any created, worldly thing, if you try to make it your god and the focal point of your life, the happiness these things bring eventually fade and/or you will reach burn out. Then you will be moving on to trying to find the next "god" and that may lead to a mid-life crisis and depression.
God has to come first in your life. His love is the only thing that is proven to stand the test of time. Jobs come and go, children leave the nest, family members, friends and spouses unfortunately pass away, sometimes tragically at the most unexpected times. The only thing we are assured of is God's love and his promise of eternal life.
If you desire peace, you have to have the right order in life and if you are married, it should be: God, Spouse, Family and Career. Your spouse is the one who you've made a lifetime covenant to and they hopefully will be the last person left in your home when you get older and retire. Your spouse should be more than a lifetime companion, they should also help you keep strong in faith so that you reach the final destination of heaven and eternal life. Marriage and staying together is a true testament of your faith because it requires you to be Christlike and forgiving, over and over, in order to succeed.
If you have children, it is your responsibility to teach and guide them to be prepared for the world when they become adults.
Your job is important for providing for your family.
- 1 Timothy 5:8: But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
However, it is not God's desire to for you to sacrifice necessary time with your spouse, children and God Himself, to earn more materialistic things in life. And you don't go to heaven by "Keepin' up with the Jones," or due to your career accomplishments. God cares nothing about your career accomplishments or possessions, He only wants your love and to honor him as an obedient child.
Peace and being at peace with yourself is where true happiness comes and the source and summit of love and true sustained happiness is in Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ never said, "Happiness to you" or "I leave my joy to you."
When Jesus healed 0r forgave someone, he usually told them that their faith has healed them and to "Go in peace."
The night before Jesus was arrested, he said this to his apostles:
- John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
When the Risen Jesus came back from the tomb and saw the apostles, how did he greet them?
- John 20:21: Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
Joy comes through the Holy Spirit and being at peace with oneself.
We all go through life, sin and make mistakes. How we deal with these sins and mistakes determines our overall happiness and self-esteem. The degree to which we have Inner Peace determines how well we deal with stress and anxieties in everyday life.
Inner Peace is defined as: the state of being mentally and spiritually at peace, with enough knowledge and understanding to keep oneself strong in the face of discord or stress.
The spirit of people who have not rectified their past and turned it over to God will be continually haunted by it and this will adversely affect their inner peace. This is where sacrament of confession can become very powerful, to release the baggage that we carry around with us from our past and the shackles that keeps bogging us down from being the true light of the world that we are called to be and a calm, happy spirit on a day-to-day basis.
Reconciling your sins and forgiveness is essential in retaining the Holy Spirit and being at peace with oneself. You will be forgiven to the extent you forgive. I wrote a blog on our daily battle as Christians and forgiveness that goes into better depth HERE.
Jesus left this world being an instrument of peace but when he entered this world, he said:
- Luke 12:51: "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division."
But Jesus was trying to divide the world from the "eye-for-an-eye" Old Covenant and leave the world with a New Covenant of Love and Forgiveness. Satan is the master at dividing with anger, pride, revenge and hard-heartedness. Christ came into the world to show us love and forgiveness to unite the whole world in peace.
Peace be with you,
© Michael J. Cox