A friend and I were recently voicing our frustration with the pseudo-spiritual mysticism that masquerades as I just don’t have peace about it as it relates to our decision making as Christians. Just last week, I was given a copy of Biblical Manhood: Masculinity, Leadership, and Decision-Making by Stuart Scott. In a chapter on biblical decision making, he identifies “inner peace” as a means of subjectivity that should be avoided or handled with caution. He writes,
This is interpreting a sense of peace or an unrest in your soul as direction from God. This is also a feeling. We are commanded to be at peace with God (salvation). We are also commanded to be at peace in our mind (free from anxiety). We are even commanded to be at peace with one another (as much as depends on us). If we are truly not at peace, we are in sin. If someone is using the phrase ‘I don’t have peace about it’ to mean they have a gut feeling that they shouldn’t do something or to mean that God is letting them know that they shouldn’t do something — this is subjective and totally unreliable. If they mean, ‘I feel troubled about making that choice because I am thinking about certain things that concern me’ or ‘because I don’t have enough information to make a wise (or holy) decision,’ this is a matter of wisdom and discernment which involves factual data, God’s wisdom, and the thinking process — not just feelings.
It would be better to say, ‘I can’t be sure that this is a wise decision yet.’ This is exactly the case with Paul in 2 Corinthians 2:13. He had ‘no rest in his spirit’ because he did not think it was wise to go to Troas without Titus. Paul was not saying that his unrest was a message from God. Nine times out of ten a person is ‘not at peace’ about a decision because of something they are thinking and they mistakenly attribute their feelings to a mystical message from God. If their feeling is not from their thinking, it could be from any number of physical or personal reasons (desires). Whether or not a person has inner peace is never used for decision-making in the Bible…Brother, sometimes what you feel worst about is the most right thing to do.