22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things.
Peace is a predominant theme throughout the bible, occurring over 400 times and included at least once in all 39 of the New Testament. Peace is something we all want to partake in and possess but few seem to pursue. It can often feel like our problems are mighty and peace is mini, and for many peace can feel more like a philosophical pipe dream than a palpable presence. But Galatians 5:22 reminds us that peace is not some pie in the sky possibility but a real reality. We need to peel the fruit of peace so that we can see the real:
- Picture of Peace
How would you define peace, I mean when you think of peace, what picture comes to your mind? Do you think of the, a calm stream, a beautiful mountain range, a swaying hammock, hung in the back yard? For some it’s the absence of conflict or at least that brief moment when everybody stands around reloading. Yet the picture that the bible paints for us of peace is not the absence of problems but the presence of the Almighty. For many peace often feels elusive, partly because we have a false picture of what peace really is. Peace is not a freedom from trouble but a tranquility of heart which comes from the conscious comfort of knowing that our lives are in the hands of God. Jesus put His human life into the Fathers hand, and was acuity aware that His Father was with Him in every step and throughout every stage of His life. His first recorded words when he was left by His parents in Jerusalem were: “Didn’t you know that I must be about my Father’s business? “Luke 2:49. His last recorded words before his death on the cross were: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Luke 23:46 and His last recorded words before He left this world were: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority” Acts 1:7. From the start Jesus focused first on the Father, even in the darkness and desperation of a cruel cross He focused on His dad instead of death. As He ascended, after having accomplished His mission of mercy He called those he had chosen to acknowledge first the Fathers Will. What about us do we focus on the difficulties or on our Dad? Peace is result of knowing and resting in the reassurance that God is in control. The fruit of peace is not just a feeling but a fact based on the faithfulness of the Father. It is the serene security that creates a sense of calm even in the midst of chaos. Do you have an inner quietness and trust in God’s sovereignty and justice, even in the face of adverse circumstances, or are you controlled by your circumstances? Are you tied up and tired of having that knot in your stomach every time something comes up? As you surrender to the Spirit of God, giving Him space to work in and through you, the fruit of peace will begin to permeate your heart.
- Painter of Peace
Not only do we need to know what peace is but we need to know where it comes from. The painting of peace points us to the painter. Every beautiful picture has a painter who passionately and purposefully put brush to canvas. One of the mistakes people make concerning seeking the fruit of peace, as with the other fruits of the spirit, is that we forget the Father who gives it. Peace is not something we can manufacture on our own. We can have a semblance of peace with other people, but true peace starts and ends with God. God is the author of peace and in order for us to be able to experience true peace, first we must be at peace with Him. In Ephesians 2:14-18 Paul reminds us of how we can be relationally reconciled: “14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” When we sin we are separated from God, and at war with His Will, peace is only possible through the provision of the cross. The peace possess came as a result of Jesus dying on the cross to reconcile us. We are bought and belong because of the blood. Colossians 1:20 says that “through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross” The picture of peace was painted by God with the blood of Jesus. The price of peace should remind us of just how precious His peace is. So where have you been looking for peace? When we look to our circumstances we get caught up in the chaos, but when we look to the cross of Calvary we find the calm comfort of Christ. Are you looking to Jesus or the junk? Any picture of peace painted apart from Christ is a counterfeit, you either have the Father or you have a fake. Today we are trying to pursue peace apart from God, like an old car we are trying to part out peace one piece at a time. But peace is not a restoration project, it’s the result of reconciliation with God through our Redeemer. It’s about a relationship so if you want to pursue peace then you need to pursue the person of Jesus. Jesus committed His spirit into the hands of the Father. Have you put your hope in His hands, who or what is holding you? The insurance company Allstate uses the catchy and comforting moto “your in good hands” because they want to give their customers peace of mind, the promise of protection and provision no matter the problem. So what is your spiritual security in, what insurance do you possess? In John 10:27-30 Jesus said: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.” Do you have the Savior and the security of salvation or are you still searching? Why not come to Christ today and admit that you’re a sinner, seek His forgiveness and surrender to His service.
- Preservation of Peace
Art museums are filled with paintings some of which are priceless works of art that are treated and taken care of in a special way in order to preserve them for future generations. The same is true with God’s priceless gift of peace; we have a part in protecting and maintaining peace. In 2 Timothy 2:22 we are called to: “pursue peace together with those who worship the Lord with a pure heart.” Like Jesus we too should be focus on the business of the Father. Colossians 3:15 calls us to: “let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.” This is a call to choose what will control, we can chose to let the peace of Christ rule us or we can let the world and worry rule. When you look at a painting, what makes it pleasing and beautiful to behold? How about peace, what makes it so beautiful? The beauty of peace is found in its purpose. One of the purposes of us possessing peace is for us to share it with others. We are not just to pursue and protect peace but also to promote peace. Just like a beautiful painting that is displayed for all to see and enjoy so peace should be shared. We are to try to help people be at peace with God and as a result they get to partake in the same peace that we enjoy! 2 Corinthians 5:20 says: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” Are you participating in peace personally, are you practicing and promoting peace in your personal relationships? Are you sharing God’s plan of peace, are you a witness to His wonderful peace? Are you sharing your faith both in your words and your walk or are you hiding His healing hope from a hurting world? Today are you savoring the sweet fruit of the Fathers peace or a fake, why settle for a pretend peace when you could have the Prince of peace?