This study addresses the problem that many Christians hold hatred, fear, resentment, jealousy, and malice toward others. As a result, fellowship with these persons and the Lord is broken, joy is lost, and God’s peace is not enjoyed. Confessing and forsaking one’s sinful ways in obedience to the Lord and His Word are necessary if the Christian is to enjoy God’s peace. This series was written with the hope that many Christians will be helped in their “struggle” for inner peace, released from anxiety, and set free to experience the “fruit of the Spirit” which includes peace (Gal. 5:22).
In coming to terms with yourself, you must consider your relationships to the people and events in your life. Because mental health is related to your attitudes toward people, it is not a matter primarily for the physician. The Bible–not medical books–holds the key.
For a life of peace, you must first discover your true self. Then to know what you have found, you must measure it by God’s standard. You will find yourself short–everyone does. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). This is the reason you need the help which only Jesus Christ can give you. He alone can make you what you ought to be.
The first step toward peace is to discover yourself. The second is to square up with the truth you find. The resources of heaven are yours to apply against the character defects you discover.
In describing a person’s response to life–-your own or someone else’s–you speak of feelings and emotions. When looked at objectively, these tell much about the person. In your own case, you might well regard your emotions as guideposts on the route to self-discovery.
Rationalization is a process whereby one justifies his conduct. By using it, he gives himself good reasons for doing bad things. The biblical standard of dealing only in truth is not designed to be a nuisance to the one who would abide by it. Rather it is the pathway to peace. Rationalization, on the other hand, will thwart your progress in life.
As one studies the mechanisms used to get around the truth, the accuracy of the Bible’s description of man’s heart as “deceitful” and “desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9) becomes apparent. Thus, you need a resource outside yourself. The qualities that come from God will keep you from faulty handling of truth.
S. I. McMillen says the stress of living does not cause big or little problems to adversely affect the body. Rather, it is one’s reactions to his problems. Stress can be beneficial. It is the spirit of retaliation that calls forth glandular toxins. The refreshing cleansing that comes from God is capable of washing away all aches and pains brought on by a troubled mind.
Though man’s hope lies in God and His Word, many people quickly turn aside from the Bible because it reproves and corrects. Man simply does not like the truth about himself that he finds in God’s Word. The truth is often offensive. Though the words of Christ offended His listeners, their response did not change the truth He spoke. And herein lies tremendous hope.
It is not someone else’s wrongs toward you that cause your anxieties and tensions. It is your own sin. And you can do something about it by coming, just as you are, to God for His forgiveness and cleansing. The choice is yours.
We do not propose a simple, easy approach to inner peace. It is a struggle, with a starting point based on simple faith, with many temptations along the way to draw you aside, on a pathway that today is rejected by many serious, dedicated, sincere people. The reward is still there for those who take God’s way, in spite of the difficulties. And there is help along the route. Prayer is the gateway to getting this help from God.
Educators tell us that repetition aids learning. In your quest to find inner peace and a quiet heart, it is well to be reminded that the peace we refer to in this book comes only from God and is freely given to all who qualify to call God their “Father.”