Repeatedly I have heard (and previously used) this excuse in various forms to justify sinful actions. Often it comes across with apparent divine sanction: “I know that you don’t like what I am doing, but God has given me a real peace that this is right.” Individuals who say things like this are deceived. Most people do not consider themselves to be gullible, but Scripture makes it clear that we are. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Solomon warns of trusting our own heart in Proverbs 28:26: “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool…”
A sense of inner peace is not a reliable sign of God’s approval. Those desperate to justify their actions are quick to elevate “peace” to such a level that it overrules the clear teaching of Scripture itself. God often does give peace as we do His will, but it is not a conclusive sign because we have deceptive hearts.
Without question, Jesus completely obedient to God’s will during His earthly ministry. Does this mean that He constantly experienced inner peace? The answer is clearly “no.”
In the Garden of Gethsemanee, Christ freely confessed the extreme anguish that He was experiencing. He told Peter, James, and John: “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me” (Matthew 26:38). If Christ would have left the garden and fled Jerusalem during the night, He might have experienced a great sense of relief at escaping the horrible death that awaited Him. However, it is clear that God’s will was not immediate relief from His immediate circumstances or “inner peace.”
Obedience to God’s will is not always a peaceful experience. In fact, I often find it to be a violent warfare between by selfishness and surrunder to God’s will. It is always best to obey God; it may cause intense pain in the short term, but it will certainly bring joy for eternity.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” – Hebrews 12:1-3