Jan 22, 2012

Fruit of the Spirit: Peace

“But the fruit of the Spirit is…peace.”  ~Gal. 5:22
     Three months, Steve Jobs died. He left a thriving company, millions of shares of stocks, and a name that had gained fame across the country. Even with being one of the most successful businessmen in the world, even with having a mansion, an expensive vehicle, and all the latest technology, he still died a poor man who lacked inner peace.  Unbelievers can never know spiritual peace.  But as believers, our lives should be marked by spirits that quietly rest in the Lord.  One thing I’ve come to realize over the past few years is how much a deficiency in peace can affect one’s spiritual growth as a whole. For example, you cannot be joyful if you are not first content. You cannot be truly loving if there is turmoil going on inside. You will not be self-controlled in your speech if you do not first have a desire for peace. Peace as used in this passage means “quietness, rest, or harmony.”It sounds plain and simple, but is it really that easy? Ask yourself how many times you have truly sought unity or harmony during a fight with a sibling. Before you start congratulating yourself, however, count up how many times you haven’t sought peace during a fight. But does peace just mean stop fighting? The answer is no. True, when we stop fighting with others we help create an atmosphere where peace can thrive, but that is not the full essence of peace. These past few years there have been times when I’ve been melancholy and depressed because I’ve thought of things that are depressing or because I’ve been discontent about not having a certain item, or about how long I have to wait for something, or even about getting a smaller or less appealing portion of a plate of food. No matter what it was, all these things resulted in a turmoil and a disturbance of the mind and heart that led to a lack of patience, a lack of self-control, a lack of joy, and a lack of love. Peace is not just a turning of the other cheek. Peace is the result of trusting the Lord to provide everything in His timing and of seeking to bring Him glory in every situation. Of course, this will result in turning the other cheek, but this act of suffering for Christ is merely the evidence that peace exists in your heart.  So as always, what is the practical application? Well, as I implied earlier, it is almost impossible for peace to exist in a place where there are arguments and contentions. So first, stop bickering! Second, as is always my advice, read and apply the Word. When your heart is buried in the Word, it is impossible for the fears of the world and the worries that so often leave one discontent to penetrate your heart. Third, make a conscious effort every day to thank the Lord for all the multitude of blessings He has bestowed on you. A heart overflowing with thankfulness leaves no room for bitterness. Lastly, pray. One of the best ways to be at rest and to be quiet is to be alone praying, for a conversation with the God of heaven and earth is like rain to parched ground: it revives the soul when it is weighed down with cares and it renews the spirit when it is laden with worries. So peace be with you this week and may the God of peace strengthen you!
Your brother in Christ,