Summary: Are you at peace? Help listeners achieve the long-lasting gift of authentic peace in their hearts and minds.
“Give them a piece of your mind!” the man shouted as we passed in the hallway of the United States Capital. He knew I was on my way to speak to a group of leaders at a crucial time of acrimonious conflict. As I walked on, it hit me: that was exactly what I wanted to do. But then an inner Voice asked, “How will you spell piece? Piece or peace?” I was reminded that the great need in the people to whom I would speak was for profound peace that would enable peacemaking. I was resolved to share the secret of lasting, liberating peace.
Over fifty-five years of ministry, I have had to receive fresh peace in my own mind over and over again so that I could help people experience a peace of my mind. I really believe that nothing can happen through us unless it first happens to us.
The great need of our troubled time is for spiritual leaders who have authentic peace and can help others to receive it. That’s why this morning I have asked God to give me the gift of preaching in order to give you a peace of my mind.
It is in that spirit that I want to share some very personal questions. Audacious? Maybe. But if you and I could sit down and talk over a cup of coffee, these are questions I would like to ask you—and would like to have you ask me. I will try to answer them as honestly as I can and I encourage you to do the same. Here are four possible responses to the questions: never, seldom, frequently, consistently.
In your inner self, known only to you, are you at peace? Or are you filled with a jumble of distressing memories, unresolved grievances, unfinished plans, and frustrating disappointments? Are you at peace in your thinking? Never? Seldom? Frequently? Consistently?
What about your feelings? Do you feel at peace? Do you have a profound sense of serenity rooted in an unassailable security? Do you feel loved, forgiven, accepted as a unique, never to be repeated miracle of God?
Are you free of smouldering anger, nagging fears, self-incrimination? Never? Seldom? Frequently? Consistently?
What about the future? Are you at peace about knowing and doing God’s will? In your own prayerful conversation with Him have you become clear about your goals? Is your will surrendered in complete trust in the Lord? Never? Seldom? Frequently? Consistently?
Now what about your relationships? Do you ever allow others to rob you of inner peace? Do some present relationships remind you of troubling relationships of the past? Do some people bug the heaven out of you? Are you at peace in your relationships? Never? Seldom? Frequently? Consistently?
And what about circumstances? Do you remain calm in the face of trouble, crises, illness, tough times? Do circumstances interrupt the flow peace? Never, Seldom? Frequently? Consistently?
Finally, is your body at peace? Are you ever strained by stress, agitation, nervousness? Are you free from tension, churning stomach, tight muscles, tension, tiredness? Do you have a sense of calmness in your body? Never? Seldom? Frequently? Constantly?