The third ingredient that makes up the fruit of the spirit is peace. In the context of this teaching when we speak of peace, we do not speak of it as the absence of war, but rather an inward peace that can only come from a divine source. Peace for the children of God is a positive blessing growing out of a right relationship with Him. True peace can only be attained by knowing Jesus, by following after Him, and giving Him the rightful place in our hearts.
John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
These were words uttered by Christ, the Prince of peace, the only one able to make this promise to those who would deny themselves and follow after Him. We cannot hope to attain true and lasting peace, without the giver of peace, and we cannot hope to know true peace, without knowing Jesus. The world is looking for means and methods by which to attain what they define as peace, which is the absence of war, but in reality true peace goes far deeper than the absence of conflict between nations. True and lasting peace, the peace that Jesus offers, is not a temporal or passing emotion, but a continual and perpetual state of being.
Psalm 4:8, “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
There is an old expression in the country of my birth that says, I would rather eat a crust of bread in peace, than have a feast in anxiety. David in his wisdom has discovered the true peace of God, and all the benefits that it brings. He looks at others who have gladness in their increase, and concludes that his gladness is greater still because it is not contingent upon possessions, it is not contingent upon whether or not grain and wine increase, but upon the peace of God that resides in his heart. This peace allows us to both lie down and sleep, allowing us to dwell in safety.
What many fail to realize is that the fruit of the spirit, peace being one of the main ingredients, have far greater worth than earthly treasures. We can amass great fortunes, and have full storehouses, but they become worthless and burdensome when we have no love, when we possess no joy, when peace is absent from our lives, when goodness has been replaced by greed, kindness by cruelty, faithfulness by faithlessness, gentleness by harshness, longsuffering by bigotry, and self-control by self-indulgence.
One can posses the fruit of the spirit, and have a joyful, and peaceful life, filled with love, goodness and kindness, without having material excess. On the other hand one can have material things, and still be empty, unfulfilled, and hopeless because the fruit of the Spirit does not reside in them.
I submit to you that it is better to be poor in the eyes of the world and possess the fruit of the Spirit, than to be rich in the eyes of the world and not possess the fruit of the Spirit.
When speaking of peace in the context of the fruit of the spirit, we discover that this peace describes the perfection of relationships.
The first byproduct of peace is friendship with others. We are living in an age wherein if one so chose they would never have to leave their home. Via the internet one could get groceries, clothing, medicine, books, and even furniture delivered to their front door, without having to step outside. The downside of this cocooned lifestyle is that human interaction is becoming a rare thing indeed. Fewer people than ever before are making friends, or having others over for dinner, fewer people than ever take the time to establish, nurture and grow a friendship, and so a large majority of today’s population are islands unto themselves. God however, created us for companionship, for friendship, to have that human connection and interaction that is so lacking in today’s fast paced world.
We have adopted this mentality that we are born alone, we live alone and we die alone and as such when we have hardships, heartaches, or just need someone to talk to, no one is there.
Job 2:11, “Now when Job’s three friends heart of all this adversity, that had come upon him, each one came from his own pace – Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad, the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him.”
Seeing how the story plays out, and that Job’s friends really weren’t that much of a comfort to him, one might wonder why I would use them as an example. Because as judgmental as they became in the latter part of the book of Job, their intentions were pure, and the love for their friend Job was evident. Three men, each having their own place, each having their own lives, yet when they heard of Job’s adversity they decided to get together, and go mourn with him and comfort him. They loved Job, so much so that they put their lives on hold and traveled to see their old friend.
I’ve been thinking about this aspect of Job’s relationship with his friends for some time, and found myself wondering how many of my friends would set everything aside and come to comfort me in my adversity. The number is not large to be sure, but then again as the old adage goes, the man with one true friend is blessed indeed.
The peace of God also establishes the foundation for a true and lasting relationship between man and God.
In his first letter to the exiles, Jeremiah writes inspired by the spirit of God, to those that God had allowed to be carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon. Even though God had allowed this tragic even to come over them, even though they were now exiles, God’s intent and desire were still for their good and benefit.
Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
When we possess the peace of God, even in our trials, even in our afflictions, we know that his thoughts of us are not of evil, and that whatever we might be going through is for our perfection, that we might have a future and a hope.
True peace, the peace that Jesus gives us extends into every area of our lives, whether in our relationship with our spouses, with our children, with our neighbors, or our brothers and sisters in the Lord. True peace allows us to be tranquil even in the face of adversity, and it allows us to rest in the knowledge that our heavenly Father’s intentions toward us are always righteous and just.
The work of peace is always a work of healing and restoration. Peace confirms us as being children of God, as those whose ways please the Lord and even transforms our enemies in that they are at peace with us.
Proverbs 16:7, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. “
Knowing all the benefits that possessing the peace of God affords, the question that remains is what are the practical steps we must take toward having it?
The first thing we can do to ensure that peace is a constant companion is to make sure that God is a constant companion. Since God is the source of true peace, we cannot possess it absent of Him. Too often men believe they can have the blessings of God, while rejecting God himself. In order to have true peace, one must walk with God, and obey Him.
The second thing that we can do to ensure that we possess the peace of God is to strive for it, and desire it. There are many teachings floating around the spiritual ether that completely remove man’s responsibility and accountability from the equation. While this may please the flesh to no end, the Word tells us that we must do our part in order to facilitate peace.
Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
The last thing that we can do to ensure that peace is with us in perpetuity is live a life of prayer.
We reveal the desires of our hearts in our prayers, as well as our level of maturity in God. The first portrait we see of Job is as a father praying for his children. At the end of his trial, at the finality of all that Job endured, after all the ridicule heaped upon him by his friends, Job did not pray for himself, but rather for his friends.
Job 42:10, “And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave job twice as much as he had before.”
Consider that God only restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. It was not when he prayed for himself, it was not when he lamented his condition, but when he prayed for his friends was Job given twice as much as he had before.
If we are Christ’s then we must possess His peace, along with all the other attributes that make up the fruit of the Spirit. The peace of God keeps us in the day of trial, it encourages us to pray for others rather than ourselves, and it compels us to reach out and do what we can to live peaceably with all men.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.