Peace with God, man and ourselves
We have reached the third fruit of the Spirit of God, peace, and I can attest to the fact that God is always on time with His messages for us. There has never been a time in my life that I remember more people needing to find peace in their lives, homes, professions, neighborhoods, communities, and yes, though it’s sad to write, their churches. There is such vying for authority, leadership roles, being No. 1, and getting attention that it is a wonder the dear Lord has much room to work in hearts.
When I was a very young Christian, I heard a deep, detailed sermon on the subject of peace. Later, I learned it is one of the most important fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22, 23: “… The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.” Let me add Verse 25 here, please: “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” And I learned that there are basically three different kinds of peace. If we understand this principle, we can be more hopeful of living in peace.
The first, of course, is finding peace with God. This is our spiritual peace, and it affects everything else in our lives. Romans 5:1 teaches, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We cannot expect to have a peaceful life without trusting Christ, confessing our sin, turning from it, and living a life that is pleasing to him. God doesn’t want us to live disconnected from him. This peace does not come from something we do. It comes from what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross. Have we trusted Christ? Are we depending on him and him alone?
I was reminded this week of the importance of the peace within our own hearts and lives. A dear woman called me with a big problem, and she wanted to know what I would do about it if it were directed toward me. She described a mutual friend as being sad, confused and totally without peace. “In fact,” the caller said, “She has never had peace in her life. She has hurt everyone she comes into contact with, doesn’t care, and goes on and on stirring up turmoil and strife everywhere she visits.” (I read a funny saying this week, and I trust it doesn’t offend any of our readers. It said, “I believe he that stirs the pot should have to lick the spoon.” In many ways, they will have to do just that.)
The Bible teaches in Colossians 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” The Hebrew word for “peace” in the Bible is “Shalom.” Have you ever wondered at this greeting exchanged between Jewish friends? We will find upon study over 790 verses about peace in Scripture. I love the thought of a guiding, forgiving, joyful peace.
Getting this peace question settled in our hearts and lives leads us to the third peace, and it is in some cases, the most difficult to understand and demonstrate. If we have made peace with God concerning our sinful nature, we are growing peace in our hearts and lives, and we should be able to exercise peace with others. What makes it difficult, it seems to me, is that people are often not truthful. They come into a group or family and do not tell the truth about their pasts, their habits, their intentions or their motivations. Soon, little by little, the truth will leak out and lives are damaged, homes are broken, and people are hurt. Let me add, if they have confessed their sin and turned from them, I am all about second chances, forgiveness, love and acceptance. What I am not about is lies, deceit, scams, causing turmoil in relationships, and hurting people in the process.
Let’s ask these questions on peace:
1. In a situation rife with conflicts, do I strive to make peace or do I add fuel to the fire?
2. What can I do to demonstrate a desire to act as a peacemaker?
3. Can I distinguish between a godly peace and peace the world offers?
4. In the age of social media and constant contact, do my emails, calls, texts, posts, conversations and my behavior promote peace or strife?
Strive to be a peaceful person, one who promotes peace and understanding. Because you don’t want to be the one licking the spoon.