Before Jesus left His disciples, His followers, His closest friends, He told them He was leaving them a gift. A gift the world didn’t have to give. A gift of infinite worth – just like the people who would receive the gift.
You know, peace isn’t just the absence of conflict, it’s so much more.
It’s the calming of rattled nerves when an accident is barely avoided. It’s the relaxation on a beach or in the mountains. It’s the calm listening to a child’s sleeping breaths. It’s the joy in accomplishment – or failure.
This peace that Jesus gives shows up in many ways because it’s not just a one-time, one-use gift. You don’t have to store it up and save it for the neediest situation or worry that you’ve used it up. Matter of fact, the more you use it, the more plentiful it becomes!
I love how the Amplified Version expands the original language:
“Peace I leave with you; My own
peace I now give and bequeath to you.
Not as the world gives do I give to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled,
neither let them be afraid. Stop
allowing yourselves to be agitated and
disturbed; and do not permit
yourselves to be fearful and
intimidated and cowardly and
“Do not let” the words say. I have experienced anxiety’s fierce grip on my mind and I know several who struggle with that daily. It’s not pretty. I’m not certain how this ‘do not let’ works, but I suspect that it includes wielding God’s Word as a weapon. We need to learn scripture, making it a part of our constant thoughts. Then, when our hearts start feeling troubled, we need to speak aloud the scriptures that we’ve learned.
See, the terrors that plague us, the evil that surrounds us – they do not know our thoughts. Only God does that, and there is no other. We must speak out loud the Truth of God to the things that trouble our hearts. In the wake of scripture, those things can’t stay. Peace returns in that victory.
“Stop allowing yourselves” He said.
Umm. Ouch. Jesus knew His friends and followers were being agitated and disturbed to the point of feeling fearful, intimidated, cowardly, and unsettled. No peace there, huh?
Let me ask, does that describe you? Maybe sometimes?
How many of us listen to the news or read headlines and get so scared of what’s happening or what’s predicted that our heart races and our blood pressure goes up? How many of us feel anger that boils?
How many of us hear about a happening here or there and change our behavior completely because we’re intimidated and scared witless?
Jesus said “STOP IT!”
Yeah, I’m not there yet, either, but I’m willing to try. I want to experience this peace, His peace, that He left for me. I want to be able to walk where He sends me without fear or intimidation. I want to be the person He designed me to be without anxiety or agitation.
I want to so exude this peace in the midst of chaos and despair that when people see it, they ask how I can possibly be at ease.
“Oh, let me tell you about Jesus!” will be my answer every time.
Today let’s start learning this verse and others that we can use to tell anxiety and fear to take a long hike. Let’s choose to lean into the peace He has given and to be obedient to His order to not let ourselves become distracted by the stuff of life. If He told us to do it or stop doing it, it is within us to do just that.
Coffee, Bible, Journal.