Do you have perfect peace?
If I were to ask, "Do you believe in God?" you would probably say, "Why yes, of course." And if I were to ask, "Do you know God?" you might respond, "Yes, and I wish I knew Him better." But if I were to ask, "Do you have a deep, consistent, abiding sense of peace?" I suspect that you would reply, "No, I don't."
It's interesting that in the Old Testament, the meanings for the words peace and salvation are nearly synonymous. Yet many of us who claim that we are saved do not experience consistent peace. We don't need W. H. Auden to tell us that we live in the Age of Anxiety. It's all around us. The difficulty with most of us is that there's a great discrepancy between what we believe and how we feel and think. We may be sure that we're going to live forever, but we sometimes have a hard time getting through life with a daily sense of God's peace.
A Peace Inventory
I want to be very personal in asking you a few questions. Please try to respond as honestly as you can. Here are four possible responses to the questions: never, seldom, frequently, consistently.
Do you have peace of mind? Is your mind controlled by the Spirit of God? Or is your mind filled with a jumble of unforgiven memories, unresolved plans, and frustrating disappointments? Right at this moment can you say that your mind is at peace? Never? Seldom? Frequently? Consistently?
Are your feelings at peace? Feelings do matter. How we feel affects how we live and how we relate to others. Do you feel at peace right now? Are you free from smouldering anger, nagging fears, frustration, and envy? Never? Seldom? Frequently? Consistently?
Do you have a sense of peace about your desires? Are you clear about God's will for your life? Do you trust in His daily guidance? Are you certain about your goals? Are you free from conflict between what you want and what you sense God wants? Never? Seldom? Frequently? Consistently?
Since your relationships with people have so much to do with how you experience peace, do you let others rob you of inner peace? Are you at peace with others? Never? Seldom? Frequently? Consistently?
And what about circumstances? Do you allow circumstances to disrupt your ability to be at peace? Do you remain calm in the face of trouble? Never? Seldom? Frequently? Consistently?
Finally, is your body at peace? Are you strained by stress, agitation, nervousness? Or are you free from tension, churning stomach, tight muscles, high blood pressure? Do you have a sense of calmness in your body? Never? Seldom? Frequently? Consistently?
The Wholeness of True Peace
Note that this peace inventory includes the whole being -- mind, emotions, will, body, relationships, and circumstances. That's because true peace is wholeness -- mental health, emotional stability, volitional integration, and physical well-being. When this quality of peace reigns in you, it cannot be debilitated by people or circumstances.