Friday, November 27, 2015

Fruits of the Spirit: Peace


Peace

Peace.

We have all heard the word, and most of us probably even know the universal hand signal for peace (holding your pointer finger and middle finger straight up while folding the rest of your fingers against your palm). Hippies have made the word “peace” both a greeting and a battle cry. Of course, the peace they want is one that just won’t work with us sinful human beings. Sorry to break your bubble, guys, but “world peace” will never be accomplished till Jesus returns.

 There is, however, another peace, a peace that can be obtained through Jesus Christ alone. This peace can set you free from fear and worry. This peace will enrich your life. This peace is the third fruit of the Holy Spirit.

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)

The peace Jesus offers is not of the world. This third fruit of the Holy Spirit is found in our assurance of our salvation through Jesus Christ and God’s presence alone. Let me try and explain.

First, salvation. When you accept Jesus as Lord, your whole mindset changes. Your mind is no longer set on the flesh (sin), for that is death, but on the Holy Spirit who brings life and peace (Romans 8:6). In essence, salvation frees you from worry of death and punishment and replaces it with assurance of life and your eternal destiny. Salvation gives you peace with God, something we all desperately need.

Secondly, God’s presence. When any one of us becomes a Christian, we no longer have to worry about the things of the world, for we know that God is with us and will work all things together for our good. I am sure most of you can quote this verse by heart, but I will go ahead and post it below anyway:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

 With the peace this passage brings we can confidently say with Paul:

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Sure there will still be wars; sure there will still be trials; but we will never be separated from the love of God! And in His love He will work all things together for our good. Now that is peace that surpasses all understanding.

Practical application

I am Buzz Lightyear, and I come in peace.”

I often ran around when I was a little guy repeating that line with my Buzz Lightyear action figure in hand. Good ‘ole Buzz always came in peace, but alas, the evil Zurg was always lurking around the corner (in my other hand), waiting to challenge Buzz to a less-than-peaceful game of laser tag. (Of course, Buzz always won his battles, but that is beside the point)

In much the same way, there always seems to be enemies that arise against us as we try to cultivate this fruit of the Spirit in our lives. Whether it is doubt, worry, anxiety, or whatever else, often times any of these can steal away the peace in our hearts.

But don’t let ‘em. Instead, remember what Paul said. Nothing can separate us from God! He is the source of our peace, and in Him we can remain peaceful no matter the circumstances.

There is some practical application as well, for we are given a weapon in Philippians chapter 4 to combat any anxiety or anything else that would try to steal away our 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

I know there will be times when all of us will feel quite the opposite of peaceful, but that is not what God wants for us. He has given us peace beyond comprehension; let’s live in it! Don’t keep your worries and your fears; make them known to our almighty God! He will give you His peace again, and it will guard your heart and mind.

There is also a practical way to live out this peace, for as we live out our Christian lives, peace should overflow to everyone around us! As children of God, we should be peacemakers (Mathew 5:9)! As Paul commands:

If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. (Romans 12:18)

No, I am not recanting what I said at the beginning of this post. It is a clear Biblical fact that world peace will not come till the Millennial Kingdom, but that doesn’t mean I am against peace. As far as it depends on us, we should seek to establish peace with all men! Unfortunately, though, there will always be “Zurgs” out there who would rather blow off our heads for their own personal gain or because of their beliefs than to ever make peace with us. Paul through the Holy Spirit knew what he was writing when he wrote that bit about “as far as it depends on you.”

Paul also knew through the Holy Spirit what he was writing about when he gave us the practical advice on how to live out this peace with men in the verses before and after Romans 12:18. Though the passage is too long to post here, I would highly suggest you read Romans 12:9-21. It is an awesome passage on the Christian life!

 It is clear that as Christians, we are to be at peace whenever possible. And hey! That gives me an idea. How about we Christians steal Buzz Lightyear’s greeting?

“I am Kyle Bowes, and I come in peace.”