July 22, 2018 Series: Fruit of the Spirit
Topic: Hope Scripture: John 14:25–14:27
In John 14:25-27 Jesus is in the upper room with his disciples. His betrayal and death are only hours away. He knows it’s coming, so tells them about the Holy Spirit who will come alongside them as their counselor and advocate in order to give them peace. What a wonderful promise – that peace isn’t something we need to find or pursue, it’s something we receive. That’s an important distinction, isn’t it? Peace isn’t just “out there” to be earned when you figure out the secret to peacefulness. Instead, as Ephesians 2:14 reminds us, “he himself is our peace.” If you are a Christian then you have received the Holy Spirit who has united you with Christ, and Christ himself is our peace!
Throughout Scripture, peace is consistently talked about in two varieties: outer peace and inner peace. Among those who live in a fairly safe and war-free culture, inner peace is the default setting of thinking about peace – this is the default for most of us today. But to those who are in war, or live in fear of war, the promise of outer peace is an incredible hope. God is our savior, our rescuer, and our peace-giver. Among the many ways God has given peace to his people throughout history, none compare to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Remember, this is the immediate context of Jesus’ words in John 14 . Jesus has defeated our eternal enemy and has given peace with God to all those who trust him.
Peace is a great promise. And we so desperately need it! Nearly 20% of Americans (that’s 40 million people!) suffer from some kind of anxiety disorder. What a great promise is Christ’s promise, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27). Mental health is a real thing, and fighting anxiety isn’t always as simple as encouraging someone to trust God more. If you battle anxiety, seek help the same way you would if you had diabetes or arthritis (sometimes lifestyle changes make all the difference, sometimes they aren’t). Mental health shouldn’t be so taboo for Christians. Whether you are among those nearly 20% or not, we all fight anxiety in some way. Rather than allowing worry or anxiety to direct our steps and shape our hearts, we turn our eyes upon the resurrected and ascended Jesus Christ and we give thanks for the Holy Spirit, our Advocate and Comforter who gives us peace.
God is the God of Peace. We do not only trust him when we are surrounded by outer peace and everything is great; instead, we exercise faith by clinging to Jesus’ promise in the midst of peacelessness… because we know that HE himself is our peace. The peace we receive in Christ is not temporary but eternal and unchanging. Cling to that promise, even in the midst of this world’s temporary anxieties.