While we all crave inner peace, and recognize that the Holy Spirit is its only source (Isa. 32:15-17), we often fail to really grasp how it’s produced in the soul. Yes, the Holy Spirit gives peace, but He uses means; He uses different ingredients to produce this inner tranquility, ingredients that can be cultivated and mixed together, some of which are identified below.
The peace of forgiveness instead of guilt. Forgiveness quietens the disturbing dread of just judgment for our sin.
The peace of friendship instead of fear. God used to be a terrifying enemy to us, but now He is our Father and even our best friend.
The peace of acceptance instead of rejection. Before faith, no matter how hard we tried to please God, we were rightly rejected and resisted. But after faith, we are 100% accepted in Christ. The striving and struggling is over.
The peace of doing what I can instead of doing what I can’t (Mark. 14:8). I can stop trying to be a Martha and enjoy being a Mary (Luke 10:42). Instead of spending life rushed off my feet, I can sit calmly at Jesus’s feet.
The peace of God-glorifying instead of self-seeking. Calm comes when we give up on self-promotion and aim only at God-promotion.
The peace of love instead of hate. Before regeneration we are full of malice and ill-will. But love stills that ugly storm and sends gentle ripples through the soul.
The peace of peace-making instead of vengeance-taking. No longer do I have to get even. Vengeance is God’s — I give it all over to His repayment department.
The peace of contentment instead of envy. When I never have enough, I never have serenity. When I am content, I know peace that passes understanding.
The peace of presence instead of loneliness. No matter how alone I am, I am never lonely, because God is with me everywhere.
The peace of patience instead of impatience. We no longer get agitated and annoyed at every delay, but rather wait calmly on God’s better timing. His clock is more accurate than mine.
The peace of trust instead of worry. I don’t need to worry about tomorrow, or the next day, or the next year. I don’t need to worry about what I eat, drink, or put on. Father says, “I got this.”
The peace of purpose instead of aimlessness. Instead of zig-zagging, tacking, chopping, and changing my way through life, never knowing what I should do, I now have a God-given purpose, aim, and significance.
The peace of obedience rather than rebellion. Disobedience results in chaos. Obedience results in harmony.
The peace of identity rather than confusion. In a world that cannot even tell the difference between male and female, I can have the peace of a God-given identity in Christ.
The peace of submission rather than control. When my kids, my work, or my church don’t go according to my plan, I don’t fight it but rather I hand it all over to God and submit to His much better plan.
The peace of optimism instead of pessimism. I look ahead and hope instead of panic, because God holds the future in His hands.
The peace of kingdom-focus rather than republic-obsession. When I am obsessed with politics I am stressed in my heart for the future of the nation. When I am obsessed with God’s kingdom I see that this kingdom will come and His will, not my will, will be done.
If you want more inner calm and tranquility, put more of these spiritual ingredients in the mix and ask the Holy Spirit to bake peace into your soul.
David Murray is Professor of Old Testament & Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. This article first appeared on his blog, Head Heart Hand, and is used with permission.