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The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Love (Part 3 Love's Aspect - Peace)
Although this article is part of a series, it is a Complete study on its own. (3 of 9 in series)
Loves Aspect Peace
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)
In Part 1 of this series, we learned that the fruit of the Spirit of God is Love. We clarified the term Fruit of the Spirit as singular, there are not fruit(s) of the Spirit. There is only the fruit love and there is a multi-faceted effect as God shines His light through His love. Like a prism, love explodes into an eight-faceted rainbow that includes Joy, Peace, Forbearance, Gentleness, and so forth. In Part 2. we explored Joy and saw that joy is not happiness. The two terms are not synonymous. Joy is present regardless of circumstances whereas happiness is contingent on pleasing happenings, indeed the word's origin is the same as the word happenstance. We touched on how joy is something spiritual and really defies explanation. That brings us up to this installment, Peace.
"I'm glad it's my day off. Really, all I need is a little peace and quiet."
"It's a terrible thing you just lived through, but I can see that your heart is at peace."
"If everyone in the world could just stop all the fighting!... The world would be a paradise, if there could only be peace."
Conventional wisdom says that individual peace is a personal concept which each person must decide to adapt into his or her individual needs. The stolen two finger sign for peace has been well known since the 70's when it was stolen from the "V for Victory" sign of the earlier generations. But what do people mean if they flash the sign in all sincerity or say, "Peace to you?" Do they have any idea what true peace is? or is it a conglomeration of all sorts of ideas? If you asked any series of people what peace is, the answers you would get would be all over the map.
*Peace is the absence of war.
*Peace is an inner calm.
*Peace is knowing and accepting yourself just as you are.
*Peace is getting along with your neighbors.
*Peace is no one bothering you or judging you.
*Peace is the whole world holding hands and singing songs.
*Peace is accepting others no matter what they do, as long as no one gets hurt.
*Being at peace is regaining control over erratic emotions or a state of agitation.
*Peace is meditation, finding your "center" and breathing it in.
Popular Definition Of Peace
Growing up in the 60's and coming into my own in the 70's, I am quite familiar with the popular concept of Peace. The fad was to put up two fingers in the great sign of peace. The gesture was meant to say "Go and live your life. I won't bother you. Live long and prosper." The idea of what that phrase means has not changed all that much over the years. Living your life in peace, to the world essentially means, that you are able to "do your own thing" without anyone bothering you about it. It's doing "what makes you feel happy and fulfilled." Peace is having no worries about consequences of living your life your way. In other words there is no sin as long as you are following your heart. That's inner peace, they claim. Peace is also "live and let live" and "everyone's okay just the way they are." According to most, there is no right way to live, no right path. There is no wrong way to live, again, as long as no one gets hurt. Peace is everyone holding hands and singing songs, tolerant of all. As long as there's no war, there's peace. So enjoy - they say.
True Definition Of Peace
In a loose interpretation of the dictionary definition, some of what people believe about peace is true. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, peace is: "The absence of war or other hostilities; freedom from quarrels and disagreement; public order and security; inner contentment, calmness, serenity." This is the broad definition with which most people identify, but the Scripture gives a different definition that most people will disregard as unimportant.
The word peace as used in the Biblical reference above is the Hebrew word (ei-re'ne gr.) [i - ray' nay] - [from the primary verb eiro meaning "to join"] Def. - "oneness, quietness, rest, peace. Literally "to set at one again." The implication is that there was a oneness, a relationship that was whole, then broken, but is now "set at one again." The word is a direct reference to the relationship that man had with God when man was in his innocent state, when sin was foreign to him. At that time, mankind was one with his Creator but that changed. When Adam sinned he became flawed, and in a spiritual sense, he died. In other words, he was set apart from God in a disconnected state, alone because of his sin separating him from a holy God. There was no way with Adam in this condition, that he could father any children that didn't also have this condition. This was true because at the time of his sin all of mankind was yet to be fathered. They all were to come from the loins of a sinner. Both he and his children were one package and both were separated from God. The passage of time has not changed that broken relationship. Each person is born in a condition that lacks peace. Jesus said to His disciples, "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled,neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27) When Jesus said those words He was about to give His life's blood to restore peace to the world. He was going to make it possible for anyone who comes before the Lord and asks for redemption, to have it. He was building a bridge that connects sinful mankind to God, who cannot be around sin. "No one gets to the Father but by Me."
In all actuality, peace is not like that of conventional wisdom, at all. It isn't about each person doing what is right in his or her own eyes. It isn't just about the absence of conflict or war, but it is a gift from God that has a spiritual state of mind, a spiritual state of being, and a spiritual standing before the God of heaven. In the world's collective mind, the absence of war is peace; the condition of not being hassled as each person does what he wants to do, while he is happy with himself, could constitute "inner peace," they say. Actually peace comes from a higher place and at a higher price than the world realizes. Peace was purchased for us by the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. He bore all our griefs on His cross and made it possible for the believer to have a state of being that only is possible when God the Holy Spirit indwells us. There is a sense that we are free and the air is sweet. It is a balance that can be felt and lived, carrying with it a joy and power for a fruit-filled life. It may manifest itself in song and worship and a cheerfulness. Peace is not necessarily quiet, in fact, peace in action can be powerful energetic and vocal for the salvation of others. The whole world may be coming apart around us, we are at peace, "set at one" with the Lord, apart from Him no longer, doing His will.
"Or let him take hold of My strength, that he make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me." (Isaiah 27:5)
"Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:4-5)
"And by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight." (Colossians 1:20-22)
The world thinks it can understand what peace is, but true peace passes all understanding. The world is carnally-minded and this causes the opposite of peace to happen. The world's experiences with peace are a temporary focus on temporary things. Mental exercises claim to grant peace and tranquility inside the individual. In that small amount of time they feel an absence of the pursuit of lusts of the flesh. It seems to be peaceful in that short time when one does this. Meditation, breathing exercises, give a slowing of the pace of life but is only an illusion of true peace. You see, God gifts His people with peace because they are restored to peace through Jesus. They grow in peace because they grow closer to the God of peace who now lives, loves and relates through them.
I know many Christians who meditate - but meditation for a Christian is different than in the world. Meditation for a Christian is not done to bring about inner peace. Meditation can bring about a clearer understanding of their Lord with whom they are already at peace.
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)
"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." (Romans 8:5-6)
"Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil." (John 12:3)
I love this account of a women that came to Jesus in utter despair, knowing the mess she had made of her life. Inner peace was the last thing you would use as a descriptor of her. She came, emptying herself to Jesus, demonstrating to Him her repentance, and her acceptance of Him as her Savior. Her act was a desperate plea to Him for forgiveness and she ministered to Him in an honest crying out for redemption and peace.
"And one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee's house, and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed his feet and anointed them with fragrant oil. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, 'This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.'
And Jesus answered and said to him, 'Simon, I have something to say to you.'
So he said, 'Teacher, say it.'
'There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell me, therefore, which of them will love him more?'
Simon answered and said, 'I suppose the one whom he forgave more.'
And He said to him, 'You have rightly judged.'
Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, 'Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman ceased not to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.'
Then He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, 'Who is this who even forgives sins?
Then He said to the woman, 'Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.'" (Luke 7:36-50)
Notice here that those that sat at the table with Jesus were not bad people. They too had received Jesus into their homes, were friends with Him and knew who He was but they had not come to the end of themselves to receive the peace that the Prince of Peace will grant to those who come to Him in the way the woman did. There is a difference here of receiving Jesus as Savior and those who receive Him as Lord of their lives.
1. Peace Is Given To Promote Bodily Health.
When God gives peace in the believer it produces a condition that is going to favor health. So many illnesses are psychosomatic in nature, caused by the mind. Many are due to stress or lack of rest. When Jesus indwells the believer in the person of the Holy Spirit, a calmness is present and an ability to rest in Christ. While the world around them is in chaos, they lie down and know that they will be guarded, will be safe.
"I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for you alone O Lord, make me dwell in safety." (Psalm 4:8)
"For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace ." (Romans 8:6)
2. Peace Is Given To Promote Mental Health.
When God gives peace in the believer, their spiritual connection is restored to God so their mind can be "at one" with God as they surrender themselves to God to forsake sin. They become unshakable when others are reacting in an irrational way outwardly or crumbling internally. While others are easily offended, the peace of the believer causes a stability in their belief and a firm foundation on which to build the workings of their thoughts.
"Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble ." (Psalm 119:165)
3. Peace Is Given To Lend Strength During Trials.
Who is it that people look to when there is a crisis happening? Of course the answer is the person that is "holding it together," the person that is not coming apart at the seams. Everyone can sense the difference in that person. He is one at peace. He is the one that has the working mind while others are busy panicking. The result of that trust and calm is a strength that is hard for others to comprehend.
"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yah the Lord, is everlasting strength ." (Isaiah 26:3-4)
"The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace." (Psalm 29:11)
4. Peace Is Given To Free Your Mind To Witness.
What does God expect you to do with this clarity of mind given in crisis? It goes without saying, you do not hold it to yourself, but instead, use it affect others for salvation. You are gifted it for this purpose and so that you will not have to lose heart and sin. While the oppressor wishes to stress you and put a pressure on the thinking ability and the emotions, the believer at peace is free.
"All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you." (Isaiah 54:13-14)
"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called, in one body; and be thankful." (Colossians 3:15)
It Is The Duty Of The Christian To Embrace Peace.
Before a person comes to Christ the wrath of God abides on him, but the Bible says that after, we are at peace with God. If one does nothing with Jesus, his fate is sealed. It is a person's first duty in life. After salvation, we must still cling to peace. We must seek peace for others so that they can escape the wrath of God, and for ourselves that we may grow in peace to do the work of God. God doesn't give the gift of peace so that we might all sit around and bask in it by ourselves, but that we may do the work of God. He says to seek it, pursue it, obtain it, then use it. So how do we go about doing that?
1. You Must Meet Him And Receive Him.
"Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, "You must be born again." (John 3:3-7)
2. You Must Acquaint Yourself With Him.
"Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you." (Job 22:21)
3. Study To Show Yourself Approved.
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)
4. Learn To Walk With God And Let Yourself Be Guided By Him.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
5. Keep Your Mind On Things Above So You May Be Mightily Used Of God.
"Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." (Luke 1:78-79)
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God." (Matthew 5:9)
Have you made peace with God? Have you come to Him as did Mary in the account above or the sinner woman that Jesus forgave and granted peace? If you haven't it's not hard to do. God did not make it a hard process but He will not tolerate insincerity or phony repentance. If you are truly looking for peace of mind and peace of heart, pray this:
Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and I deserve what sinners deserve but I ask you to forgive my sins and save me. I believe that you are Jesus, the One come out from God to die for the sins of all on the cross. I believe that you bled and died and was buried and rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin now and turn to You as the only way of salvation. Thank you for saving me. I pray this in Jesus' holy name. Amen.
Others in this series of independent articles: