It seems like the world is such a violent and evil place these days. There are wars and rumors of wars. Earthquakes, plagues, floods and famines kill thousands. School violence, guns and drugs threaten kids' safety. The stories are all too familiar.
All this can cause us to lose a very important thing - peace in our own hearts. Even in the midst of all the bad stuff it IS possible to have peace within. How can this be, you might ask. How can I find peace when things are falling apart all around me? The answer comes from outside ourselves, from outside our futile efforts as people to make the world a better place.
The answer is found in God (with a capital "G"). The one true God who is the creator of all things can give us peace in our hearts when we stop looking to ourselves for solutions and start looking to Him instead. Let me tell you more and answer a few questions.
What about me?
Is there something wrong with me?
To be honest, yes. There is something wrong with each of us because we are evil by nature. It can be hard to believe, and it's not what you see in the movies, but it is true. It is called "sin".
What's it called?
It's called sin. Sin is, very simply, not living up to God's standard.
Who is God?
He is the creator of the universe and the Lord of all things.
What is God's standard?
Perfection. Nothing less than perfection.
Where does that leave us as human beings?
Well, that leaves us in a very bad position, because none of us are perfect. God requires perfection and we are far from perfect.
Is there an answer?
God knows our situation and did something to help us. He is aware that we are not perfect and are sinful and even evil. He calls this provision "Jesus." Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth, lived a perfect life (without sin) and then took the punishment we should have received for not being perfect. He died in our place. Even better, because of Jesus, God is willing to forgive us for not being perfect.
That's pretty neat.
Why did He do this?
Good question. The best answer I have is because He loves us and cares about what happens to us.
Why can't He just overlook our sins?
Because of His nature. He is holy. Holiness is everything that sin is not. He will not allow sin in His presence, so something has to be done to take away the sin so we can come before Him. That's where Jesus comes in.
What's the catch?
Just this: We must surrender our lives to Him and be willing to let Him rule over us. When we do this, He will forgive us, wipe our sins away, and give us an eternal life with Him when we die.
Too good to be true?
No, not at all. Just take Him up on it and you will see that it is indeed true. This is the best offer you or I will ever receive. Too good of an offer to throw away.
How do I do this?
If you call on the Lord He will answer you. It doesn't matter where you are, who you are, or what good or bad stuff you have done. He will hear if you cry out to Him. You can pray right now if you want to.
What should I say?
Something like this:
"Dear God, I know that I have done things that have been wrong. I can't change myself and need you. I give my life to you. Please forgive me and give me a new life. I invite Jesus to be the Lord of my life. I believe that He died and was raised again for me. Please give me your peace within and eternal life. Amen."
If you prayed a prayer like the one above and really meant it, you have new life as a gift from God. He lives within you and wants you to live your life for Him. The peace He gives you is real and does not depend on what is going on in the world around.