Back in the 1990s, there was a popular bumper sticker that simply said, "Visualize world peace." People have been talking about peace, singing about peace, marching for peace, and giving out peace prizes to one another for generations, but we haven't been experiencing much of it. Where do we find it?
Of all the promises God has given to us, perhaps the most elusive of them is the promise of peace. But He promises it nonetheless. In John 14, Jesus spoke to His disciples and said, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (v. 27).
The word used here for peace is defined as an internal state of tranquility, having a quiet and restful mind. And notice Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you." It's a deposit. It's a gift. And it's tied to Jesus personally: "My peace I give to you." This could be translated, "I am giving you the same peace that governs My internal life." How incredible is that? Jesus went on to say, "Not as the world gives do I give to you." In other words, this is an otherworldly peace. It's not like the momentary, fleeting peace the world offers. It's everlasting.
John 14:27 ends with Jesus saying, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Why this command? Didn't Jesus say He Himself was giving us peace, like a deposit? That's true, but it's also true that you need to appropriate that promise. Think of it this way: you could have a million dollars in the bank, but if you don't take any of that money out of the bank, it does you no good. You have to use what you have. Same with the promise of peace.
Whenever Jesus gives you a command, He gives you the capacity to obey that command. That means that you and I have the power to stop freaking out, to not be overwhelmed by all the troubling things going on in the world. Practically speaking, that looks like bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 10:5). Lasso your thoughts, bring them to Christ, and drop them off there—even if you have to do it ten, twenty times a day. Renew your mind with what you know to be true (see Romans 12:2).
The promise of peace has to be guarded. You might say we have to keep the peace. And I've discovered it's better to keep the peace than to make peace every time you lose it. So how do you maintain it? First, stay connected vertically—maintain a constant, living communion with God (see John 15:4; 16:33). And second, stay connected horizontally. You need people—friends, mentors, family members, the church—and people need you (see Genesis 2:18).
You want peace? You can have it. It can be yours. Will there be world peace? Not until Jesus comes back. But you can experience peace personally. You can experience Jesus' own sense of tranquility and calm by being connected to Him. That's something I don't want to just teach about but also see in people's lives. So I pray that for you today—that you would experience God's peace.