For the last few days we have been looking at the FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. We have been focusing on Galatians 5:22…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
We’re not speaking of spiritual apples, grapes, pears, or peaches here. We are talking about what’s going on in the orchard of your life. We acknowledged that we are all sinful and fall short… And yet we celebrate the fact that God loves us anyway! “Christian character” follows faith and is produced by the Holy Spirit…not by merely trying to live by the law. The indwelling Holy Spirit produces faith and Christian virtues. If the goal of the Christian life may be stated as Christlikeness, then surely every trait developed in us that reflects His character must be fruit that is very pleasing to Him. Paul describes the fruit of the Spirit in nine terms. I am going to take each of these characteristics one per day. So far, we have looked at LOVE and JOY.
Today, I want us to look at PEACE.
Brett Blair tell this story…..One of the best newspaper cartoons of all time is Calvin and Hobbes. One day Calvin and Hobbes come marching into the living room early one morning. His mother is seated there in her favorite chair. She is sipping her morning coffee. She looks up at young Calvin. She is amused and amazed at how he is dressed. Calvin’s head is encased in a large space helmet. A cape is draped around his neck, across his shoulders, down his back and is dragging on the floor. One hand is holding a flashlight and the other a baseball bat.
“What’s up today?” asks his mom.
“Nothing, so far,” answers Calvin.
“So far?” she questions.
“Well, you never know,” Calvin says, “Something could happen today.” Then Calvin marches off, “And if anything does, by golly, I’m going to be ready for it!”
Calvin’s mom looks out at the reading audience and she says, “I need a suit like that!”
That’s the way many of us feel as we see the news and deal with life. Sometimes this world seems quite violent and people seem to be at each other’s throats, we deal with upended economies, and odd family dynamics. A suit like that might not be such a bad idea! And yet, GOD’S PEACE can protect you from whatever this world throws at you! How about you? Can you say with Calvin, “Whatever may come my way, I’m going to be ready for it! Bring it on!”
Well…I don’t think we need to wear a suit like Calvin, but we can have a PEACE in our lives that’s even better. John 14:27…Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Did you catch the phrase that says “Not as the world gives.” The world promises peace through the rule of law. Law and order are the only way for a society and a people to experience earthly peace…and oddly enough, law and order must be kept by the aggressive use of force. That is the only way that the world can bring about peace. (which by the way, since Cain and Abel earthly peace has never existed)
But here is how Jesus will give you peace. You ask Him for it! You trust in Him as your Lord and Savior. His peace will make its home in your heart. The world’s peace is peace through strength. The Lord’s peace is peace through surrender to Him and His unconditional Love and strength.
We have all been asked: “if you could have any wish what would it be?” I think the most common answer given is world peace.
World peace would be great, but God offers a peace that is beyond understanding! What’s that all about?
God, His Word, and angels often (over 300 times) said “peace be with you”. When people face the toughest circumstances…God says, “Peace be with you!”
God’s Peace is a Spiritual Peace! Rom 5:1-2…Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. Our peace with God is a product of our relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit producing fruit in us. It’s a peace that lives deep in our hearts as we trust God with our life and our circumstances.
God’s Peace is an emotional Peace! Col 3:15-17… Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful……HOW DO YOU DO THAT….. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. We have talked about fruit being a result of deep roots. Are your roots deeply into God’s Word and prayer? Go back and re-read this verse a few times.
God’s Peace is a relational Peace! Rom 12:17-18…..Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. It’s hard to have peace when there is relational conflict in our lives. Who do you need to make peace with? We can mend broken relationships by taking on the character of Christ. To see past the indiscretions, and see the person that God created and forgives.
So… Ask yourself…What is robbing you of peace. Is it health, family issues, finances, guilt, grief…? I suggest you turn it over to the Lord…ask Him for His peace that is beyond our human understanding.
We have all been walking through this pandemic over the last few months. It is very real and has caused many issues including, loneliness, depression, financial issues, relationship battles, and many more situations that can threaten to rob us of peace. I saw an illustration (ironically from long ago) about a different condition that spreads from God to and through contact. It speaks about a very powerful condition spreading in epidemic proportions. The condition originates by faith in Jesus as Savior…it is called “God’s Peace“. Here are some signs and symptoms of God’s Peace:
+ An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
+ A loss of interest in judging other people.
+ A loss of interest in conflict.
+ A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a powerful symptom.)
+ Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
+ Contented feelings of connectedness with God and with others.
+ Frequent attacks of smiling.
+ An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others…as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
There is a painting titled “Peace.” It depicts waves crashing against the jagged rocks. It portrays the violence of a crushing storm. It seems anything but peaceful. But down in a small corner of the painting, tucked away in the rocks, is a little bird sitting on her nest totally oblivious to the raging storm. That is peace!
Picture a massive hurricane raging over the ocean. On the surface of the sea the violent winds whip the water into giant waves and create a scene of havoc and chaos. Yet, a mere twenty-five feet below the surface, the waters are clear and calm. The fish there go on living their lives totally unaware of the thunderous tumult just above them. When there is “depth,” there is peace.
I encourage you to re-read the above verses. Get deep into God’s Word! Ask Him to give you HIS PEACE…on good days and when the storms of life are all around you. Ask Him to hold an umbrella over you during every financial, relational, physical, spiritual, emotional storm you encounter.
As we work our way through the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT. I pray that God will produce PEACE in you…as well as through you to others seeking His Peace. Who do you know that is in the midst of chaos? Who needs you to share the peace the God offers?