“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
(This week we continue our series on “The Fruit of the Spirit” with a discussion on “peace.”)
The late John Lennon is known for his song entitled “Imagine,” which urges us to visualize a world where peace is the norm. Let me share a few words with you: “Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will live as one.”
Peace … the Webster dictionary defines the word peace as, “calm; quiet; tranquility,” while Holman’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines the word as, “A condition or sense of harmony, well-being, and prosperity.”
Just as love and joy are fruit that enrich our lives, peace is a commodity that most people yearn for, but many never find.
Aren’t we all just looking for a little peace? We look for peace …
• In our relationships
• In our finances
• From our aches and pains
• From violence and war
• From injustice and hate
Most of all, don’t we just want a little peace of mind?
Know that it is possible to find peace, but first we need to understand the three keys to obtaining that peace. They are:
• Having peace with God
• Having peace of God
• And, having peace with others
Having Peace with God
There is nothing like having peace with God. However, it is important for us to understand that we are not naturally at peace with God. Sin broke the peaceful relationship we had with God in the Garden of Eden, and sin is undeniably the reason why the world is in such a troubled state today. Isaiah 57:19-21 tells us, “… the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud. ‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked.’”
Even though we are not naturally at peace with God, we still spend our lives searching for peace …
• Many try to find peace in pleasure.
• Many try to find peace in entertainment.
• Many try to find peace in substances, like alcohol or drugs.
• Many try to find peace in financial security.
The problem with these feeble attempts at finding peace is that they exclude God. What we need to understand is that there is no peace apart from God.
It helps when we know that Christ came to bring us peace. Jesus went to the cross, shed His blood, and because of this …
• We have personal access to God.
• The price has been paid for our sins.
• We can receive salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
• And, we can receive everlasting life with God.
Now that is the kind of peace that I want! What about you?
Ephesians 2:13-17 tells us that Jesus is the source of peace. It reads, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.”
Jesus was not only a source of peace, but He was the source of peace. Peace with God should be our daily experience.
Having the Peace of God
Next, know that having the peace of God will change your life. The peace of God is peace in all circumstances.
• It is having peace when things aren’t going well.
• It is having peace when funds are low and debts are high.
• It is having peace when health is uncertain.
• It is having peace when storms are raging.
So, what is God’s formula for this kind of peace?
Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
When we are upset or anxious about our troubles we certainly have no peace. Getting upset or anxious will not change our circumstance. No one has solved their problems by getting upset or anxious. Instead they upset themselves more, and everyone around them.
Know that prayer is the answer to finding peace when we find ourselves getting upset or anxious about anything. When our troubles overwhelm us … when it seems like everything is falling apart in our lives … if we just turn to God in pray He will make everything alright. The problem may still be there, but God will give you blessed assurance in your heart that you can endure this situation.
When you truly begin to believe that God hears your prayers and petitions, and when you put prayer to work in your life on a daily basis, you will see an amazing difference in your life. Prayer helps us to enjoy a peace that surpasses all understanding … the peace of God!
Having Peace with Others
The literary magazine, The Personnel Journal, once reported this startling statistic: since the beginning of recorded history, the entire world has been at peace less than eight percent of the time! In its study, the periodical discovered that of 3530 years of recorded history, only 286 years saw peace. And, in that time over 8000 peace treaties were made … and broken.
Why is it that we just can’t seem to get along with one another? What would our world be like if instead of only 286 years of peace, we had over 3244 years of peace?
In Ephesians 4:1-3, Paul calls Christians to be at peace with one other. He wrote, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
Unfortunately strife continues to plague our churches. Instead of coming together in peace to settle our differences, we allow our disputes to interfere with true worship. This lack of peace often contributes to the "spiritual doldrums" that afflict many Christians, and cause them to leave the church all together.
Know that when we come together in peace, and settle our differences in a peaceful manner, it allows us to be more effective in our ministries. When we live lives “worthy of the calling,” then we will be able to effectively reach out to others who do not yet know the peace of God.
I’m getting ready to close, but I want you to know that love, joy, and peace are simple words, yet they are so essential to the abundant life Jesus has to offer those who come to Him.
Yes, it is possible to find peace, but first we need to understand the three keys to obtaining that peace … having peace with God, having peace of God, and having peace with others.
Next week we will continue our discussion on The Fruit of the Spirit.
Until then, may God bless you!