Mick Jagger said you don’t always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need. The world wants peace. That’s what everyone is looking for – a life where nothing is missing, nothing is broken, free from confusion and doubt, free from loneliness, from regret, from dark thoughts of unease. Religious people are looking for peace by getting involved in rituals, in bargains with God; and worldly people are generally looking for peace by drowning their sorrows, by filling their life with activity and trying to silence the voices in their head that condemn, that tear down, that compare, that reduce, that hate.
That’s what the world is looking for. But they can’t find it, because they are not looking in the right place. You see peace isn’t something that ever comes on its own – it only comes with grace. Paul wrote over and over and over “Grace and peace”.
The problem is peace is what we want, but grace is what we need. Our flesh cries out for peace, but hates grace because grace says you can’t boast, you can’t strut, you can’t achieve, you can’t be better than anyone else. You can only receive an unearned, undeserved, unwinnable peace. You can’t go get it, you can’t earn enough to buy it, you can’t beat enough people to deserve it, you can’t complete enough religious rituals to be able to rightfully claim it from God on the basis of your works.
If peace is what you want, then grace is what you need. Stop chasing peace, and start discovering grace.
You need peace with God – then don’t try and bring the ripped, broken fig leaves of your righteousness to Him, but approach and ask for grace to be clothed, to be exalted, to be lifted – not based on your works, not with any boasting, but with just gratitude for grace.
You need peace in your body – then don’t try and earn healing or deserve it, just thank Him and meditate on His grace: He bore your sicknesses and diseases and by His stripes you were healed.
You need peace in your mind – then don’t try and work at it or fight for it. The victory and life is yours. Realize grace means you are unconditionally, eternally always loved by God as a dear child, as a dear son or daughter – focus on Him and His love, and take your eyes off your thoughts and start to think about His obedience, His love, His righteousness, His complete work on your behalf.
Go for grace, and you will alway get peace. Grasp peace and it will always slip through your fingers as your knowledge of yourself as someone who fails, who messes up, who is in trouble, who needs outside help to get out of your sickness, out of your mess, out of your selfishness and pride and strife.
You want peace, but you need grace.
Here is the mystery: when you get what you need, you will always get what you want.
Therefore, since we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). (Romans 5.1, AMP)