How Can I Find Peace?

by Amber Penney

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The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)

There are so many things that can keep us from enjoying peace-stress over school, money, friends, the future, conflict with parents. Any one of these can lead us to panic and frustration, which leaves us craving escape and freedom. Thankfully, we're not the only ones who have this desire for peace. God wants it for us, too.

Peace with God
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

What does it mean to trust God like this? How is it possible to be so confident in him that no matter what happens, you aren't thrown into a panic?

First of all, to trust anyone you have to know them. You have to see proof that they can, in fact, be trusted. That may not seem so simple when it comes to God. He may appear pretty unreachable. But the truth is, he wants you to know him and longs for you to trust him. That's why he came up with a whole plan for the process.

God sent his Son Jesus to Earth so that the barrier between us and God might be broken. The barrier was our sin, which basically made us God's enemies. But Jesus' death on the cross settled the score because he took the punishment we deserved for our sin. Belief in Jesus and what he did for us is the key that opens the door to peace and a relationship with God. Then our understanding of him grows as we read his Word and talk with him in prayer. That's how we begin to see that he really wants what's best for us. And the more we become convinced of that, the harder it will be to shake us-and our peace.

What About You?

  1. What are some things that make it hard for you to trust God?
  2. Ask some older Christians to give you examples of how they're learning to trust God. Write them down. Then think of some of your own.
  3. Ask God to help you trust in him so that no matter what happens you'll be at peace.

Peace with Others

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18)

Without a doubt, there are people in your life who just rub you the wrong way. It may be as minor as the way your sister eats her cereal in the morning or as severe as the school bully who taunts you at your locker. People who bother you can easily disrupt your peace if you let them. So what's the solution?

With things like your sibling's annoying habits, one of the first steps is to realize the root of your irritation. Why does it bother you that you can hear her crunching her Froot Loops? Or why do you care so much that your brother borrowed your CD?

Consider these words from Philippians 2:3-4: " But in humility consider others as better than yourself. Each one of you should look not only to his own interests but to the interests of others." When you criticize the way your sister eats, is it because you think you're better than her? When you don't want to let your brother borrow a CD, whose interests are you most concerned with?

As for the bullies and other difficult people in your life, the same verses can apply. In fact, they go right along with what the apostle Paul was saying in Romans 12:17-21. His basic message was that you can't control what other people do, but you can control the way you respond. If someone is mean to you, the answer is not to be mean to them. In fact, Paul suggests overwhelming them with kindness (see verse 20).

Of course, none of this is possible on your own. Without the love and grace that comes through Christ, we'd always look out for ourselves first. But as we learn what Jesus has done for us when we didn't deserve it, we can find the motivation and the strength to do the same for others.

What About You?

  1. What's the hardest thing about trying to live at peace with others?
  2. Think about a situation in which you were the one who made peace difficult? How can you respond differently in the future?
  3. Pray that God would help you to love others in a way that promotes peace.

Peace Within
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Worry may be one of the biggest threats to our peace. It's amazing how uncertainty about the future-whether it's fretting about tomorrow's chemistry test or wondering what college will be like-can stress us out and keep us from enjoying life today. That's really not what God wants for us. So he gives us a solution: pray.

When you find yourself beginning to worry, talk to God about it. There's nothing too small or insignificant. (Sometimes it's those small things that can really nag us.) As 1 Peter 5:7 says, "cast" your worries on God. It might even help to picture yourself standing on the side of a lake. In your hands is a rock that's almost too heavy to lift. The rock represents your worries. Now "cast" that heavy rock into the lake and let it sink out of sight-let your worries fall to the bottom far below.

As you continually take your concerns to God, he will fill you with peace. He will show you that you can put your trust in him and count on him to take care of you. Knowing this truth will become your "guard" against worry.

What About You?

  1. What things cause you to worry?
  2. Make a list of your anxieties. Beside each one, write down a couple of reasons why you shouldn't allow it to worry you.
  3. Pray about each thing on your list. When you're finished, wad up the list and throw it away-as a symbol of throwing away your worries. If any of the things on your list start to worry you again, imme-diately turn the worry into a prayer.

Practicing Peace
More verses to read and study

Psalm 34:14 - Strive for it
Psalm 37:1-11 - Don't worry; just trust
Psalm 119:165 - Love God's commands
Proverbs 14:30 - Avoid envy
Proverbs 16:7 - Seek to please God
Isaiah 32:17 - Pursue righteousness
Isaiah 54:10 - Trust God's promise
John 16:33 - Find peace in Jesus
Ephesians 2:14 - Put your hope in Christ
Colossians 3:15 - Let peace rule
Hebrews 12:14 - Be a peacemaker
James 3:17 - Seek heavenly wisdom

Try This!
Write about each passage in a journal or notebook. Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  1. What does this passage tell you about peace? How can it help you experience more peace? How can it help you practice peace when dealing with others?
  2. What are some questions you have about this passage? Write down your own answers, then ask a Christian friend or your youth leader how they would answer. Write down their answers, too.
  3. Write a poem, a song or a prayer that expresses your feelings about the passage.
  4. Using the devotions on these pages as a model, write your own devotion based on the passage.

Copyright 2002 by the author or Christianity Today International/Campus Life magazine.


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