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The Way to Peace & Joy
By Brian Pepper
Have you ever felt alone? Have you stood on the shore and gazed into the water ... and wondered ... Who am I? ... Where am I going? How can I find someone who will listen to me, understand me ... and walk with me? Each of us feel alone at times. There is a yearning deep within us to know and to be known. To reach out and feel the heartbeat of someone beyond ourselves. Maybe even someone called God. So often we feel torn apart struggling to see our dreams and hopes come true. And so often seeing them turn into broken bits of glass that keep hurting our memories - for years, sometimes for life. And our yearning for peace remains but a yearning. Our hopes are dashed in despair.
But there is a way to real peace.
There is a way to lasting joy that comes from
knowing you are one with the universe, one with God.
The Scripture in
Romans 5:1 says, "Being
justified by faith we have peace with God through
our Lord Jesus Christ."
Someone knows the way
There is Someone who knows the way to peace and joy. He is Jesus Christ, the One often called 'The Prince of Peace', and He offers to you and me the way of inner peace.Who is this person called Jesus and how can He promise us so much? Jesus claims to be our strongest link with God. His words found in John 14:6 says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me."
If we want to know God then we need to know Jesus Christ. If we have Jesus present with us, we are never completely alone. We are in fact in the presence of God Himself, who is all Life, all Hope, and all Joy. In Jesus time and eternity come together. The human and divine become one river as the Spirit of God flows through us. Jesus Himself is the source of that River of Life, for He said, "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." (John 4:14)
Now isn't that wonderful! Yes, Jesus is a mirror in which we can behold the love of God for He said, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." (John 14:9) In Jesus we see the heavenly Father's desire that we might have eternal peace and joy beginning right now. Jesus is the bridge over the chasms of our fearfulness, our loneliness, our lostness.
As the Bible says in
1 Thessalonians 1:1, "Grace
be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the
Lord Jesus Christ." Do you really need the Peace
and Joy that Jesus brings? That is possibly the most
important question you will ever have to consider.
Take a look at Jesus Christ
Now let us take a close look at the remarkable person Jesus Christ and see why He has so much to offer to you and me. When Jesus began His ministry on earth at the age of thirty (30), the prophet known as John the Baptist immediately recognized Him as our Sin-bearer, the One who would become our Salvation from the power of sin. John there and then publicly announced "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29)
Not with might and armies did Jesus come but with meekness and humility. Not to be honoured by men for His greatness and wisdom, but to die as a Divine Sacrifice for them.
When Jesus began His active ministry, Satan the devil, tempted Him to be someone other than the Lamb. To be a miracle worker, a political deliverer, a king of earthly kingdoms. Satan wanted Jesus to be anything but the Lamb, the divine Sacrifice. He tempted Him to think of Himself to avoid the coming cross. But Jesus knew that unless He became the divine sacrifice there would be no life, no joy, no hope for any of us.
So Jesus chose the way of sacrifice, the way of the cross. He said in John 12:32, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."
So Jesus, the Lamb of God, draws us to Him. If we
look at Him and do not resist His love, we will be
drawn to Him by the power of His love. And that is
God's weapon against the power of sin and the devil.
1 John 4:8 tells us, "God is love." As we
behold Him on the cross we will realise that we are
sinners, unable to help ourselves become freed from
sin and its power.
Wages of sin is death
The Bible sums it up clearly in
Romans 3:23, "All
have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
There is no exception, there are none who are free
from sin and its effects. And sin means death.
Romans 6:23 says, "The wages of sin is death."
And how well you and I know that this is only too
true! We have seen the graves of young and old, we
have felt the tug of grief upon our hearts. "The
wages of sin is death". So what can we do? We are in
desperate trouble. If we live better lives will that
somehow save us? If not, how can we be saved? There
is no way we can save ourselves. Therefore we need
someone to save us, we need a Saviour. Someone who
can come into our lives, and give us the gift of
Salvation and Eternal Life.
Salvation is a gift
Romans 6:23 says "The wages of sin is death", but thank God the verse does not end there. If it did our situation would be hopeless. But the verse goes on to say, "But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
God has given us a Saviour in Jesus Christ. Salvation is ours for the accepting. It is ours for the believing. It is a free gift. As the Bible says in Ephesians 2:8,9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." This gift of salvation and life God provided because of His great heart of love. Jesus explained this to Nicodemus a Rabbi, who came to see Him one night in Jerusalem.
Jesus told him in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
Jesus is the gift of eternal salvation for everyone who believes (in Him). When God gave Jesus to this world, it wasn't a gift that He was to take away again. No, He gave Jesus to us for all eternity. On the cross, Jesus died to assure us of forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
Romans 5:10 says, "When we were enemies, we were
reconciled to God by the death of His Son."
Jesus came as an ambassador of Peace and Joy
to reconcile us with God. Through Jesus Christ we
can be at peace with God ... and that means being at
peace with ourselves. And God longs for us to have
that peace. He took the first step to bring us back
Romans 5:8 says, "God commendeth His love
towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us."
How do we receive this gift?
However you might ask, how can I get this gift of life? Is it enough to say - Yes I will take it? The Bible tells us the only way to receive this gift. 1 John 5:11,12 says, "God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."
Life is in Jesus. It is not something that we
already have. Eternal life can only come from Him.
Jesus said of Himself, "I am the way, the truth,
and the life." (John
14:6) So, when we have Jesus in our lives,
we have (life) in our lives. As Paul said "Christ
in you, the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:27)
The Christian life
'Christ in you' means a fuller, more abundant life now and eternal life to come. Knowing Jesus is what the Christian life is all about. Through Him we can have 'a living' vital relationship with God.
Jesus described the Christian life this way in
15:5, "I am the vine, ye are the branches."
To believe in Jesus means to trust Him for strength
and guidance. It means maintaining a close personal
relationship with Him. To be a Christian means to
live the life of Christ, to obey Him as far as you
know how. It means to follow His example and
teaching in every part of your life. To be a
Christian means to daily surrender your life to
Christ and allow Him to help you meet the problems,
joys, sorrows, and sufferings of life.
The Power of Christ
Do you feel that you need power to defeat sin, and doubt, and temptation? Do you need power to live for Christ? Do you need power to rebuild a broken home, power to restore a broken life? Where and how can you find that kind of power? Here is the secret! John 1:12 says, "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." Power comes from being connected to the divine power giver Jesus Christ. Without a living connection with Him, we would be like a disconnected lamp, unable to shine. Only when we are connected to the electricity of Christ's power can we have His power flowing through us. How powerful is the power of Christ? Powerful enough to raise the dead. Listen to what Jesus said in John 11:25, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me though he were dead, yet shall he live."
His power is strong enough to enable us to overcome any evil habit. Through His power we can be born again and start a new life right now. Through His power our motives, desires, and goals can be changed and redirected toward a godly life.
The amazing fact is that this wonderful power comes to us through death, through the death of Christ, and the death to our own selfishness. As we behold Him dying on a cross that really belonged to us ... dying for sins that were not His but ours, we are drawn to such a loving sacrifice.
Jesus said this would happen in
John 12:32, "And
I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all
men unto me." As we look at Jesus, we sense the
power of His goodness and love toward us. We realise
that we are just as responsible for His death as
those who drove the nails into His hands and feet.
His love and goodness lead us to feel deep sorrow
for our sins, sins that put Him on the cross. And as
we feel His love, we will want to repent of our
The Bible says in Romans 2:4, "The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance." Repentance means to be sincerely sorry for our wrongdoings, and to turn away from them and turn to God. But, you know, we cannot even repent on our own. It is the Goodness and Love of Jesus that leads us to repent and confess our sins. The Bible says in 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Friend why not turn to Jesus now? Allow Him to become the source of Goodness and Love in your life. He wants to forgive your sins. He wants to remove all guilt from your heart. He wants to give you a new life and a free conscience. He wants to give you strength to keep your life growing for Him. As the apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
You may think that the temptations are too strong,
but Christ will give you power to overcome every one
of them. You may think that the Christian life is
too difficult but Christ will give you power to live
it joyfully and successfully. Is it worth living for
Him? A thousand times yes! He and He alone, can take
the discords out of your life and bring harmony.
No peace for the wicked
You know, much of the worry and lack of peace in our
hearts comes because of a guilty conscience. Our
sins worry us. Though we often will not admit it,
our sins become the real burden in our heart. With
sin and guilt in our lives, there can be no peace.
The Scripture tells us in
Isaiah 57:21, "There is
no peace, saith my God, to the wicked."
The way to peace
But if we confess and forsake our sins we need never worry about them any more. Our promise is this: Proverbs 28:13, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy."
Jesus wants to take your sin and bury it under His blood. He died on the cross for our sins. To have that peace in your soul you need to come to Jesus accepting Him as your Saviour. When you do this you will find that peace flowing through you. Jesus promised in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you .. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
Isn't it wonderful to know that in the Word of God there is set out this offer of peace. Do you love life? Do you want the happiest, most fulfilled life possible? Then accept it from the Life-giver Jesus Christ. He is the only way to life for Acts 4:12 tells us, "There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
So the greatest question you can ever answer is this, do you know Jesus as your friend and Saviour? Have you let Him into you life?
He comes and asks to be invited into your life. For He says in Revelation 3:20, "I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in." All you have to do is to open the door of your heart to Him, then you will find the peace and joy that you desire.
Have you been finding the way hard? Have you found life frustrating? Then allow the Saviour to come into your life and you will find that your life will be changed. The longer you delay doing this the harder things will become. Let the Saviour into your life today then you will have that peace, that inner peace you so much desire.