(Note: A downloadable PDF copy of this lesson is available on the last page.)
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27 NASB.
Adequate parenthood requires persons who are at peace with themselves. Lesson 1 gave two steps that will lead you toward personal peace. This lesson is a continuation of Lesson 1.
It is good for us to set goals for ourselves. The Lord Jesus said, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). It makes a difference what you put first, what you desire. Consider Mark 10:35-45. James and John asked Christ for help in attaining a certain goal, a position for themselves. Christ, in reply, stated His own goal, saying, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Jesus said in Matthew 16:24-25:
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
Desires from a willing heart
Your reason for what you do is as important to you as the act. The character of your service determines whether you will “love yourself.” Many Christians are not joyful Christians because of the character of their obedience to the Lord. They say, ‘Yes, Lord,” and obey, but are like the little boy who insisted on standing up on the seat while riding in the automobile. His mother kept urging him to sit down. Finally, with a frowning face he obeyed. Noticing that his mother was not too well pleased, he said, “Well, you told me to sit down, and I did. I’m sitting down on the outside, but inside I’m standing up!” God’s promise to Israel long ago has a message for us today: “If you consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land” (Isaiah 1:19, emphasis added).
“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).
In 1 Timothy 6:11 the apostle says, “…pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.”
Desires pleasing to God
Daniel lived in an environment where all around him people were eating, drinking, and making merry. However, the record states:
“But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself” (Daniel 1:8).
If Daniel had secretly longed for the king’s meat and wine, his abstinence would have been hypocrisy and deceit. Our desires must be pleasing to God, even though everyone else has other desires. Our standard is the Bible, not what others do.
David asks the question and then answers it:
“Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation” (Psalm 24:3-5).
During high school days, a young man was an outstanding leader in church activities. He always said the right thing and went to the right places. To everyone’s surprise, this young man quit following after spiritual things during his college days, even though he attended a Christian institution. He began indulging in activities frowned upon by his church. He discontinued going to church, to Bible study meetings and youth rallies. The reason? He said his heart had never been in his church activities. Now he was doing what he had always longed to do. How much happier he would have been if he had really known Christ! Your desires need to be in accord with your words and actions if you wish to find inner peace.