Fresh Fruit

Part 3: Peace

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Peace...we all want peace. But oftentimes our definition of peace is cloudy and instead of peace, we get a temporary escape (spa, beach, Bose headphones, etc.). Temporary escapes are sometimes good if they do not replace the real need that we have for eternal peace that lasts throughout all circumstances. That everlasting peace can only come through and by a relationship with Jesus. Now, to continue to live in the peace of God we have to do things that allow the Spirit of God to flourish (Bible reading, prayer, worship, counseling, etc...) God has given us tools for us to experience peace even when living in chaos. What are steps you can take today to continue to live in the peace of God? And what are ways that you can present the peace of God to those around you?

It’s Fruit, Not Fruits!

It’s our third week covering the fruit of the Spirit, and you may have noticed that we’ve been consistently saying fruit rather than fruits. There’s a reason behind this! It might seem small at first, but it’s actually an important difference. Let’s take a closer look at Galatians 5:22-23.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Notice how instead of using the word are, he tells us the fruit is love, joy, peace, etc.  When Paul listed the qualities of the fruit of the Spirit, he was not thinking of nine individual and independent “fruits'' to be had in varying degrees. Instead, he was speaking of the collective goodness that flows out of the life of someone who is living in step with the Holy Spirit. 

We are not blessed with one quality of spirit-filled life (say, kindness) just to be forbidden from another (say, self-control). It’s God’s will that we seek out the fullness of the fruit of the Spirit, by pursuing Him and allowing the Spirit to work in us. If you really struggle with one or more of the qualities Paul lists, you’re not alone. 

The good news is that fully living out the fruit of the Spirit was never something you could’ve done on your own, to begin with. It’s not about your own ability, personality tests, or past mistakes; it’s about how much you’ll lay down before God for the Spirit to transform. 

Let’s compare the fruit to spiritual gifts, which are distributed among God’s people through the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). Just like spiritual gifts, the fruit of the Spirit is only obtainable through the Holy Spirit. But while God hardwires us with the spiritual gifts we’re meant to have, God created us for every quality of the fruit of the Spirit. It may be God’s plan for you to have one gift rather than another for the purpose of growing His Kingdom. But it is certainly His will that you allow the Holy Spirit to produce the fruit in fullness and abundance in your life. 

Worldly Peace vs. Perfect Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3

What do you think of when you hear the word peace? Many people picture a serene beach setting, with the waves gently crashing onto the shore. Maybe you’re away from the pressures of work, with the kids being looked after back at home, and no rush to run an errand or get to an appointment. What a relaxing place to be! 

But what happens when storm clouds roll in? That beach would not be peaceful for long. This is the trouble with the type of peace the world pursues apart from God: it’s temporary, it’s situational, and it’s surface-level. 

One of the greatest ideals for humanity has been the possibility of “world peace.” The hope is that there could come a time when all violent conflict ends for good. Christians know that, because we live in a fallen world, we’re unlikely to experience a world like that on this side of heaven! 

But consider how low a bar that even world peace is compared to the peace of God. Even if we weren’t fighting wars, would we be at peace in our hearts? Probably not. Peace is more than an absence of violence! 

Someone with perfect peace would also be unshaken by the ups and downs of life. They would constantly remember the security they have in Jesus Christ. They would not be concerned so much about their own wellbeing as the wellbeing of those around them who are not saved. The Cross would be the lens through which they viewed all situations, and they would not fear what God has already overcome! 

Steps To Take This Week

In moments when you don’t feel at peace, try to follow these three steps:

  1. Pause
  2. Pray
  3. Praise

Try to pause. When we have our eyes on what we can’t control, we need to notice that, and choose to set our eyes on who is in control: God. Then we go to Him in prayer, bringing whatever we’re struggling with to Him, remembering that nothing surprises Him and He is a good God. And lastly, we praise Him, giving thanks for all that we have already, including Jesus’ ultimate victory over sin and death. 

We want to be able to tell ourselves, I can’t dwell on fear — my God is too big! There’s so much in this world that we can’t control, but He’s got it. Instead of keeping our mind on our anxieties, let’s try to follow Paul’s advice:

Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. — Philippians 4:8 

Let us also seek peace with others! We cannot control others, but we can do everything in our power to be peacemakers who forgive our neighbors. 

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. — Romans 12:18


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