Summary: Many people think that you have to be dead to get rest, yet the Bible clearly states that we can and should have peace in our lives. In fact it should be something that defines us and separates us...
The Latin phrase "Requiescat in pace" is a short epitaph that typically appears on headstones, often abbreviated "RIP" which is then often given in English as Rest in peace. The expression means "may he / she rest in peace". Rest in peace probably sounds like a pretty nice idea to most of you here this morning doesn’t it? Unfortunately most people believe that they won’t truly know peace until they are dead. Our world is continually in strife whether it is political, financial, physical, or relational. It seems like moments of tranquility are quickly broken up by circumstance or problems; is there any chance for peace here on earth? With so many troubles and stresses existing in our everyday, where do you find peace? Many people spend lots of money searching for peace in their lives. King David was able to say in Psalm 4:8, “I will lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.” Is that what your life looks like or are we any different from those who are rushing around, short-tempered, and rest-less in the world?
1. What does peace look like?
In the OT Hebrew the word means completeness and in the NT peace (eirene) means security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous). Jesus uses this word when He says in the 27th verse of John 14 that He was leaving us with a gift, peace of mind and heart. This sounds like a wonderful gift, but what does that look like? Well Jesus is telling this to His disciples just before His death. He’s telling them that He is leaving, which would have been unsettling, confusing, sad, and I’m sure many other emotions that would not be inspiring peace in them. Peace in the mind is in our thoughts, to be without stress, confusion, or doubt for the moment. Peace in the heart is deeper and generally has to do with the past or future things and is usually expressed in worry or fear. Those who trust in the Prince of Peace can rest in any moment of life and have peace about what is to come. Jesus can transform the mind and heart.
Sounds like a pretty amazing thing to have in your life. Many people think peace comes from within, but the bible teaches that is comes from God. Psalm 29:11 says, “The LORD gives his people strength. The LORD blesses them with peace.” This is important to remember the next time a crisis strikes or issues about the future creep up. You may think you can plan it out or calm down or getaway to find peace, but it can only come from the Lord. That other logic is the peace that the world gives, which is more quietness then anything else and it doesn’t last. The peace God gives means you never have to be troubled in your mind or afraid in your heart ever again. I truly believe that this is a gift because anyone who has it is noticeably different than those who do not. Do you have it this morning? Do you feel complete, do you have serenity or are you in pieces?
2. How do you find it?
In the midst of Jesus telling the disciples that he was leaving he tells them to remember. This is a key step in finding rest and peace in our every day. In that moment that they were focusing on the crisis of Jesus leaving and what life would look like after He left He tells them to focus purpose. In their current context it made no sense for Jesus to leave, but in God’s context of purpose and future it made perfect sense. Jesus was teaching them to always, especially in trying times, remember God and His purposes. This will instantly change your perspective because it’s not about you; it’s about Him. The disciples’ feelings were overshadowing the great miracle of salvation that needed to happen. They needed to get their heads in the right place and remember that God’s will is most important and peace comes out of being in His good and perfect will, reinforcing what Paul said in Romans 12:2, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.”
U2 released a song a few years ago with a line, “stuck in a moment that you can’t get out of.” When we are in a circumstance we don’t understand or we look into an uncertain future we get stuck in the moment with our logic and understanding. If we stay there it leads to stress, depression, worry, and potentially serious health problems. Human logic says to just let time pass and things will change or maybe get away for a while and you’ll come good. These are lies offering only a false sense of respite. Psalm 85:8 says, “I listen carefully to what God the LORD is saying, for he speaks peace to his people, his faithful ones. But let them not return to their foolish ways.” Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Jesus says in Matt. 11:28-29, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light." The scriptures are pretty clear about how we can go about finding peace. Focus on God in those moments and don’t get stuck in the human way of thinking, it leads unrest.