According to the World Health Organization, approximately 264 million people have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder — and these numbers continue to rise, especially among children. Those who suffer often feel restless and on edge, and experience frequent headaches, stomachaches, and other pains.
Many sense difficulty when trying to concentrate, sleep, make decisions, and control feelings of worry and doubt. But whether we live with an anxiety disorder or just experience the normal stresses and concerns of life, almost everyone in the world is searching for peace. And Jesus’ disciples were no exception.
On the night before He would go to the cross, Jesus told the disciples in the upper room that He would soon be leaving them. He followed this devastating news with the shocking predictions that one of them would betray Him, that Peter would deny Him, and that all of them would scatter from Him.
This final evening with Jesus was anything but peaceful. But as their anxiety reached the highest levels, our Lord made a calming promise: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).
In this verse, Jesus describes two different kinds of peace — worldly peace and divine peace. The kind of peace that Jesus offers is “not as the world gives.” The world promises internal peace through means such as drugs and alcohol, wealth, entertainment, beauty, sexuality, personal achievement and popularity. But even while these elements might bring temporary peace to someone’s troubled heart, such worldly peace never produces satisfying and lasting results.
Jesus, however, offers divine peace that will last forever. This peace doesn’t originate from anything the world provides, but only through God Himself. Our Lord explains that He will give believers “another Helper … the Spirit of truth” who will “dwell” within our hearts (vv. 16-17).
In essence, when a person comes to faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit takes up permanent residence in their heart, allowing God to live within them. Therefore, even though Jesus would ascend to heaven, ironically, He would be with them in a closer way through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, which is an “advantage” to believers (John 16:7).
The indwelling Spirit would allow them to sense God’s presence; offer them counsel and wisdom; give them direction and discernment; open their eyes to the truth; protect them from the enemy; fill them with joy, encouragement, redirection, spiritual renewal, and lasting peace! Nothing in the world can give us peace like the Prince of Peace, and Jesus gives believers this peace through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
If you find yourself with an anxious heart today, call upon the Lord to give you peace. There could be something unhealthy in your life that’s leading to anxiety or stress. Ask God to reveal it to you and give you the grace to repent.
You might be in the midst of a crucial decision or have a serious need. Ask God to give you calmness and understanding. But regardless of why you’re worried or stressed, Jesus has already given us the greatest source of peace through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Let’s seek Him. Soli Deo Gloria! B&R