Do you feel as though the world seems to be out of control? In major cities across the US, murder rates are up an average 23% since the beginning of the pandemic. Austin, Texas has a murder rate that’s up 50%. Other violent crimes like robbery and rape are following a similar trajectory.
How can anyone maintain their peace these days is a mystery.
I have the solution to the mystery !!!!
I’m using crime statistics from 2020 in the USA, simply because I have easy access to them. News stories from around the world would tend to indicate that what’s happening in the US isn’t all that different from what’s happening in other nations. In fact, in some cases the other nations are worse. We’re seeing roughly 400 violent crimes per 100,000 of population. That’s 1.3 million violent crimes a year. Murder, manslaughter, rape, other sexual assaults, robbery, aggravated assaults and mass shootings — 25 times a second, 24 hours a day. Some places are worse than others. Washington has more than DOUBLE that number. California is the worst place in my nation for murders. More people are violently murdered in California than in the 24 safest states combined !!!
So what’s the KEY to being able to live your life and, most of all, maintain your peace?
Today’s verse says PEACE I GIVE YOU.
Now we’ve spoken about peace before; but there were a couple of points I wanted to make that we didn’t have time for in our last discussion. So let me present them for you here.
When you’re talking about the world’s peace, it replies upon the circumstances we’re facing. Just hit the lottery, paid off all your debts and can retire in luxury? The world says you should have perfect peace. Did the sheriff just slap the three-day eviction notice on your door the same day they re-possessed your truck? The world says you should be falling apart with worry and anxiety.
But that’s NOT how the peace of Jesus works. He’s the Lord of Peace, and He did not give us a spirit of fear. He gave us a spirit of power and love and of self-control. When we look to Jesus as the one who provides us HIS PEACE, then we can let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts. And He, the Lord of peace Himself, gives you and me peace at all times in every way.
You may not yet understand how God will provide for you in any given situation, yet He still gives His peace at all times. Your understanding is not a requirement for having His peace. In fact, He describes His peace as “the peace of God, which SURPASSESS all understanding;” and He promises that it will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. THERE’S ONE OF THE KEYS !!! The peace of God guards our hearts and minds IN CHRIST JESUS. We are in Him, His peace is in Him, and so we HAVE HIS PEACE.
He says, MY PEACE I GIVE YOU. The second lesson we can learn today is that no one and nothing can TAKE his peace away from us. Jesus knows what the world can do to try and take our peace. But He gave His promises to us so that in Him you and I could have His peace; even in a world filled with violence and tribulation. In the midst of it all Jesus tells us, “Take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Because He has overcome the world, nothing in the world can take His peace away from you.
But BE CAREFUL, because the enemy of our souls is devious and deceptive. He cannot take the peace of God from you; but he can try to trick you into abandoning it!
Think back to the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve had dominion over the entirety of God’s creation, everything was subject to them. The enemy could never have TAKEN that authority from them, he had no basis to do so. So instead he deceived Eve, she deceived Adam and the authority that nothing in creation could take was willingly given away. Don’t let the enemy do the same thing to you with the peace of Jesus.
HERE’S ANOTHER ONE OF THE KEYS !!! It is OUR CHOICE to decide if we will let the peace of Christ, the peace that passes all understanding, rule in our hearts; or if we will give it to the destroyer of our peace so that his fear can rule in our hearts.
“PEACE I GIVE YOU,” Jesus said. Keep it, don’t give it away. You’re going to need it.