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I lived a lot of years searching for peace.
I was frustrated, confused, aggravated, upset and in turmoil.
Now I enjoy peace. But I might never have found it if I'd stopped looking for it, because God wanted to teach me to pursue it.
Sometimes we wish for things to change but are unwilling to do what it takes to make things better.
I was always upset about my circumstances. I wanted God to change them for me, and I wanted Him to change the people around me too. I thought if those few things would change, I would be able to enjoy my life.
Until I looked at my life to see what I could do to make things different, I was really just wishing.
Matthew 6:33 says, Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.
So what is God's kingdom?
It may sound real deep and religious. But, really, it's not that mysterious.
The Bible says the kingdom of God is in us.
If you've accepted Christ, that means He's living in you—and He wants to live in a peaceful house. That's why your inner life is so important to God.
We can be phony and act like everything's fine on the outside when we're really unhappy on the inside. But God wants us to have authentic peace, where our inner life matches our outer life.
Romans 14:17 defines the kingdom of God as a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
A lot of people spend their life seeking all kinds of other stuff. But when it comes to righteousness, peace and joy, they don't have any because they're chasing after things.
I used to think that if I had all kinds of worldly stuff, I'd have no worries and my life would be peaceful. But true peace comes from being one with God.
It's important for us to understand this because I think a large majority of Christians spend their whole life searching for the wrong things, when our real treasure is in Jesus.
For a while I was seeking a big ministry but living under guilt and condemnation. So every time someone criticized me, I fell apart. I would be a basket case for days because I didn't know my identity in Christ and I didn't like myself.
Outwardly, people probably couldn't tell I was falling apart, but inside I was worried, overly concerned, and a people pleaser.
Many of us go through these things privately but never tell anyone because we want to act like everything is okay. We'll wear our church face, smile at everyone and say, "Praise the Lord!” when on the inside we're dealing with secret fears, worries and concerns.
The Bible says the truth sets us free. We need to be honest with others about what's going on inside us.
Honestly, a large majority of us never get still enough to even ask ourselves the question, What is going on in me?
Here are two questions you can ask yourself to help you find peace.
If you know who you are in Christ, it won't matter so much to you what other people think. You'll just get up every day and do your best to love God.
The moment we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior, the Bible says God takes away our sin and gives us His righteousness. It's a gift, and we don't need to earn it. But we do need to put it on, and every time we do, we receive His peace.
If you are ever feeling bad about yourself, feeling ashamed, guilty or condemned, I encourage you to ask yourself, Do I know who I am in Christ? Am I walking in righteousness?
When you are pursuing God's will for your life, He will give you peace.
This article is taken from Joyce's audio teaching, Calm, Cool and Collected.