How I Found Inner Peace
Are you searching for inner peace? Merriam-Webster Thesaurus defines peace as “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.” It lists antonyms as anxiety, anguish, and worry.1
A survey published in October 2022 found that “a majority of adults [in the USA] are disheartened by government and political divisiveness, daunted by historic inflation levels, and dismayed by widespread violence.”2 Inner peace is elusive for most Americans.
The problem is most severe among those 18–34 years old. In that age group, 62 percent of women and 51 percent of men are completely overwhelmed by stress most days.3
Multitudes of advertisers offer a solution to the anxiety epidemic. One suggests spending time in nature, meditating, being grateful, taking responsibility for your actions, refusing to let past mistakes define you, loving yourself, practicing acceptance and contentment, and decluttering.4 Some of those suggestions might reduce temporal stress, but there is a deeper spiritual unrest that is often unrecognized.
In my teen years, I didn’t worry about political divisiveness, violence, or inflation. I was most anxious about potential nuclear warfare between the United States and the Soviet Union.
But greater still was my anxiety over what lies on the other side of death. I was raised to believe in a God to Whom I was accountable. I dreaded that after-death review. I received some A's in school, but I didn’t expect any from Him. Even if He graded pass-fail, I wasn’t confident I would pass.
How I found inner peace was unrelated to the aforementioned suggestions to reduce temporal stress. Inner peace emerged like a mushroom unexpectedly one fall evening in 1968 and never left. Here is how it happened.
One evening several guys in an interdenominational Christian group knocked on the door of my college dorm room. After introducing themselves, they asked me to define what a real Christian is. Then they asked me how I would explain how to become a Christian to someone who knew nothing about Christianity.
After that, they shared with me a message I had heard hundreds of times in my church. That often-repeated message had not brought me the inner peace I desired. I humored them by allowing them to explain it one more time.
Then they shared two verses totally unfamiliar to me. “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11–12 NIV). Those two verses were like push-button instant inner peace magic words. Here is why.
Before that evening I was trusting my eternal destiny to Jesus’ death in my place to pay the penalty of my sins. Plus, I was also trusting in my not-always-best effort to live like a Christian. The plus is what train-wrecked my inner peace. My behavior had a lot of room for improvement.
Suddenly, after hearing those two verses, I understood the gospel for the first time. Jesus did everything necessary to make me right with God. God didn’t expect me to add anything to what Jesus had done for me. Jesus paid the penalty for my sins in full. God declares me “not guilty” by grace through my trust in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection in my place.
When I understood that, a light in my life turned on and dispelled the darkness of confusion and doubt. Instantly, inner peace displaced the fear and doubt in my heart. Jesus promised, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27 NLT). Lasting inner peace begins when we trust in and apply God’s sin remedy to our lives. #freechristiandiscipleshipresources #freeevangelismresources #freechristianleadershipresources
See free spiritual growth resources for Christians at https://www.christiangrowthresources.com
God has empowered me to write “His Power for Your Weakness—260 Steps Toward Spiritual Strength.” It’s a free devotional discipleship resource. By the end of 2023, pastors will have used it in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia to lead people to Christ and teach the basics of Christianity to 2,382 people. I invite you to check it out. https://www.christiangrowthresources.com/his-power-for-your-weakness