Jesus rose from the dead to give us peace. And yet, peace sometimes feels like an elusive thing that we must strive after. However, does striving bring peace? Peace is defined as harmony, seasons without conflict, freedom from fear. Conversely, peace is not an absence of fear, but it is choosing a response not motivated by fear. Having peace in one’s heart allows a response of obedience and trust. Whereas fear paralyzes, peace motivates. Peace is obtainable even in times of conflict or fear because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
1) Fear Not – Obey
Jesus uses the phrase “fear not” 14 times in the Gospels. It is one of the most powerful commands of Jesus. In fact, it is one of the first phrases the Bible records after the resurrection, because Jesus rose to give us peace.
Matthew 28:4-6a, “The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint. Then the angel spoke to the women. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen…” (NLT)
The soldiers fainted in fear. These were men trained by the mightiest army in the world at that time, and yet, seeing the empty tomb and the angel standing there, they faint dead away. The women arrive at the tomb, see the fallen guards and the stone moved from in front, and an angel standing there. The angel’s words are pretty simple, “Do not fear.”
The women respond in obedience. They aren’t confused. They also don’t faint in fear. In actuality, they are immediate in the obedient response. The angel says in Matthew 28:7, “And now, go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead…” (NLT) The women do that — the Bible says they “ran quickly.” They trusted God’s word and responded in obedience. When we obey, we are choosing peace over fear. Instead of fear, the women chose immediate obedience. Their response to fear was to obey.
2) Fear not – Trust
When we hear the voice of God, instead of fear, we can trust in Him. When our emotions tell us to fear, God’s response is “fear not.” Our response to fear should be to lean into His peace and trust Him for the results.
Trusting God does not mean you do not feel the emotion of fear, but it does mean you do not allow that fear to rule in your heart. It means you choose to give that fear to Jesus and trust Him with the results. With so much of our life of faith, it is an act of will.
When Jesus’ earthly disciples were filled with fear — He was going to be leaving them — His words to them were do not fear. John 14:26-27 — “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
His peace has already been given to us, it is a byproduct of relationship with Him. Peace is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and comes when we spend time in His presence, when we “abide in the vine.”
If you are struggling to find peace, there are many Scriptures to settle your spirit. Here is a list of some for you to read:
Strength – Isaiah 41:10 Trust – Psalm 56:3 Anxiety – Phil. 4:6-7
Gift – 2 Timothy 1:7 Love – 1 John 4:18 Anxiety – Psalm 94:9
Comfort – Psalm 23:4 Strength – Josh. 1:9 Worry – Luke 12:22-26
Worry – Psalm 55:22 Presence – Psalm 118:6-7