PEACE OF MIND: STATE OF INNER PEACE AND HAPPINESS by Chaplain Pamelajune Anderson, D. Min.

How can you be truly happy? How can you find inner peace?

For not a few people, either money, power, fame, possessions, or a total body makeover is the path to true happiness and inner peace. The world tells us we have to be wealthy, powerful, famous, and beautiful to be truly happy and attain inner peace. Scripture, however, has a different point of view.

You may be surprised to know that people in Jesus’ time had similar thoughts about the source of one’s happiness and inner peace. They, too, believed that happiness depended on wealth, power, possessions, or status. Take into consideration the Gospel account between Jesus and the rich young ruler in the Parable of the Rich Fool as recorded in Mark 10:17-22 The Message (MSG). And it reads: 17” As He went out into the street, a man came running up, greeted Him with great reverence, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?” 18-19 Jesus said, “Why are you calling Me good? No one is good, only God. You know the commandments: Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, honor your father and mother.” 20 He said, “Teacher, I have—from my youth—kept them all!” 21Jesus looked him hard in the eye—and loved him! He said, “There’s one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor. All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow Me.” 22 The man’s face clouded over. This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.”

Often, the Holy Spirit will ask you to let go of the dearest of things. It is my experience that when I obey without resentment, bitterness, or regret, that the very thing I give up, God gives back to me 100 fold. The whole point is “are you willing to let go so God can give you more?” Instead, the rich young ruler was unwilling to let go and let God.

Even Jesus’ selected Disciples were not immune to the wiles and cares of this world. In Luke 22, we read about the apostles fighting over the subject of whom is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. We also read in Matthew 20:20-28 how the Disciples were angry about the mother of James and John, also known as the sons of Zebedee, asked Jesus for the special privilege of seating her sons one on each side of Him in His kingdom. Do you know how it is when you get angry when someone beats you to the punch?

Jesus believed it was important to change people’s perceptions about wealth, power, status, and honors. These are the children of pride and arrogance. Scripture writes:

  • Matthew 20:26-28 The Message (MSG), 24-28 When the ten others heard about this, they lost their tempers, thoroughly disgusted with the two brothers. So Jesus got them together to settle things down. He said, “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.”
  • Luke 22:24-26 The Message (MSG) “Within minutes they were bickering over who of them would end up the greatest. But Jesus intervened: “Kings like to throw their weight around and people in authority like to give themselves fancy titles. It’s not going to be that way with you. Let the senior among you become like the junior; let the leader act the part of the servant.”
  • Mark 8:36 The Voice (VOICE) “Really, what profit is there for you to gain the whole world and lose yourself in the process?” Matthew 6:19-21 The Voice (VOICE). 19” Some people store up treasures in their homes here on earth. This is a shortsighted practice—don’t undertake it. Moths and rust will eat up any treasure you may store here. Thieves may break into your homes and steal your precious trinkets. 20 Instead put up your treasures in heaven where moths do not attack, where rust does not corrode, and where thieves are barred at the door. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

By changing people’s perceptions about wealth, power, status, and honors, Jesus also presented – and even demonstrated – a different path to happiness and inner peace: Himself, through His death and resurrection. Jesus proved that God is not a far off God. The late James Cleveland, a gospel singer extraordinaire, puts it this way: “There’s a quiet place where we can talk to the Lord. There’s a quiet place where I can listen to His Voice. It’s close by. Not far away. He will hear us when we pray. And that quiet place is hidden in your heart.” He is a God who sees, hears, and knows. God alone can bring a variety of good things, including happiness and inner peace, from the afflictions and sufferings we experience.

We must ask Jesus to enter our life and allow His Holy Spirit, whom I call Wisdom, to take control. We find in him true happiness and inner peace. Check out Matthew 11:28-30 The Message (MSG). It reads: 28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Inspirational teachings on happiness and inner peace greatly differ from what the world teaches. Herein are a few tips, based on Scripture, on how we can experience happiness and inner peace: We have to cleanse ourselves first. Purity of the heart is a necessary ingredient to attaining happiness and peace of mind. Invite God in your life so that the Holy Spirit can purify your heart, mind and soul. Walk humbly. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you. Show mercy and compassion toward others. If we want to be treated with compassion, we have to be tenderhearted toward others. Therefore, we should live a life of mercy and compassion toward others through a forgiving and loving heart. Be satisfied. Be content – and thankful – with who and Whose you are. Recognize the blessings you already have in your life. Know that these may or may not be good looks, higher pay, or a beautiful house. See the beauty and positive in every day. We need to realize happiness is a choice, not a result of circumstances and surroundings. We will always have problems of one sort or another, and God will always be with us.

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