Several years ago, early in my marriage, my husband's mom said something to me that has always stuck with me. She was speaking about my relationship with my husband and sharing with me the moment when she knew that our relationship was going to last... she said that she walked into the living room where Adam and I were sitting together and the room was completely quiet. But she noticed that it was a comfortable quiet. We seemed content just to be sitting there side by side...in each others' presence. She said that the world probably could have come crashing down around us, but it wouldn't have fazed us. We were at peace because we were together. This really spoke to my heart when I thought of the fact that a marriage relationship is a picture of our relationship with Jesus. Because we are the bride of Christ, and this is exactly the kind of relationship that Jesus wants to have with us. He wants us to sit in His presence and be completely content just to be together. He wants us to be so comfortable in our relationship with Him, that even if the world is crumbling all around us, we are still at peace, just because He is there. That is truly one of the biggest differences that Jesus has made in my life. He has brought that peace into my life. Philippians 4:7 refers to it as a peace that "passes all understanding". Of course understanding talks of our intellect, and our intellect looks at peace in relation to how we feel, based on our outward circumstances. But the peace that passes all understanding is not dependent upon our outward circumstances. It is only dependent upon the presence of Jesus. Peace is the result of being filled with His Spirit.
Before truly knowing Jesus, I thought of Christianity as living up to a set of standards and thought of Jesus as the one I asked for help from when I was having trouble doing it myself. I started to think it was a lot of work to be a Christian and it seemed tiring and discouraging because I kept messing up. Then I started thinking it wasn't worth it; it was too much work. But I was wrong of course, and after many ups and downs and some really discouraging and stressful times in my life, the Lord led me to seek Him in His Word, and He brought me to this verse...
Matthew 11:28: Jesus says... "Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
I really longed for that rest! I began to realize that the reason Jesus hadn't made much of a difference in my life up to that point, was because I was leaving Him on the sidelines while I tried to play out my life on my own. But He wanted me to come to Him and let Him make a difference. He wanted to take away my weariness and carry all of my burdens for me, and replace them with rest... with peace... with Himself.
Ephesians 2:14 says about Jesus: "He is our peace." He, himself is that peace that passes all understanding. That baby lying in the manger is peace on earth. When we receive His Spirit, and walk in His Spirit, there is peace.
Peace also means completeness.
I love that! He, Jesus, is our completeness! We need nothing else. We don't need to achieve anything, we don't need to accomplish anything, we don't need to strive toward a set of standards. All we need is Jesus.
"Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:33.
The accomplishments and the standards, they are only a result of seeking the Lord. Life is not about what we do, what we fill our schedule with, or even about how much we can fill our mind with. Sometimes even Bible study can become about how much we know, but that's not what it's supposed to be about. It's about who we can fill our heart with... it's about who we know, and how closely we can know Him. When we know Jesus, intimately, we know that He is completely trustworthy.
Psalm 9:10 says "Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you."
Peace comes with trust... Isaiah 26:3 says... "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You."
The more we keep our mind on Him, the better we know Him, and the better we know Him, the more we trust Him, and the more we trust Him, the more at peace we are, regardless of our outward circumstances... and that is the difference He has made in my life. There are still moments when my heart feels unsettled and not at peace. But I've noticed that this is because I've taken my eyes off of Him, My mind is not stayed or fixed on Him, I'm not in the quiet comfort of His presence. When we notice this, all Jesus wants is for us to turn around, hand Him back our weariness and burdens, and be filled with His peace again.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13