Anxiety, misery, and bitterness are feelings that no one wants, but that many have. If we pause to assess our lives and our world, we quickly discover scads of broken promises, shattered dreams, and hurtful relationships. These things rob our joy and eviscerate our peace.
The Bible addresses such things. Proverbs 12:20 says, “Deceit is in the heart of the those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy.” Those pithy words are short but full of practical wisdom. First, God warns us to live a life of truth, because falsehood is the onramp to the highway of evil.
Next, God gives seasonal instruction. Those who desire a harvest of joy, must plant peace. And as any good gardener knows, planting requires planning. Here is the lesson: Lasting joy is not spontaneous. Sometimes it feels that way, but such joy is like a puff of smoke on a cold morning. It lasts for a moment and disappears.
The joy described in the Bible is different. It is joy abundant and everlasting. As Psalm 16:11 says about God, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
How can the Bible make such an unqualified statement about joy? Because God has been planning peace from eternity past (1 Peter 1:19-20). Indeed, Scripture describes Jesus as God’s peacemaker. By his sacrifice on the cross, he paid the penalty for sin reconciling believers to God.
Thus, when the Bible instructs us to plan for peace, it shows us that God has already offered peace, and biblically-speaking, your joy depends on your peace with God. Today, you can find that peace whenever you look in faith to Christ’s cross, and by planning your peace with Christ, you are guaranteed joy that overcomes any anxiety, misery, or bitterness.
Soli Deo Gloria, dss