The fruit of real peace in the life of Christ
Jesus was a tremendous example of a person who lived in the perfect peace of God and his desire has always been to share his peace with others, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)
Many gravestones have the following inscription: “rest in peace”. This is a beautiful idea, but peace has nothing to do with weakness or death. Peace is in fact a very powerful quality of life. Just remove peace from people and places and observe what happens. Peace is a necessity for appropriate order and for correct relationships. Only through God’s peace can one have a feeling of tranquility and well-being.
The peace of God is certainly an important fruit of the Spirit and as so deserves our consideration. However, we will begin by declaring what peace is not. The world has a false concept of peace, as we will soon see.
The false fruit of peace
Peace does not imply the attempt to escape the duties and responsibilities of life. If we think we can live that way we will always be running and we will never reach our objective. Peace is not “apathy” – a lack of care or interest for others. The fact that we are always “turning our back” on others when we should be involved with them will lead us to a very selfish lifestyle. However, life has a way of knocking us off-balance. When this happens, a selfish person loses his peace. No one can obtain peace through the acquisition of material goods. Rich people generally do not have much peace. True peace does not depend on what we have on the outside, but on what we have inside of us.
Peace is not being free from the pressure of making decisions. We can alleviate the pressure that we are under by avoiding decision-making or even by making wrong decisions but this does not last long. We must first have peace within us before we can face the world and make correct decisions that affect the outside world.
We never attain true peace by tolerating the values of the world. To go with the flow of life’s currents can appear peaceful in the beginning, but eventually, we will always reach the waterfall. These are some of the false ideas that the people of the world have about peace. However, what is true peace? We will examine the Bible to find our answer.
The true fruit of peace
The Greek word translated “peace” in Galatians 5:22 is eirene. This term exists in all of the New Testament books and occurs 88 times. This word describes the harmony that comes from correct relationships. We are at peace when we are in correct relationship with God, with others and with our own life. The internal relationships among family members, churches and nations, even with all nature are also included in the idea of this word.
When God created the heavens and the earth and made man, everything was in divine order. There was a holy harmony in all of creation. It was a profound picture of peace. God said that it was very good.
When sin entered the world through the disobedience of man, this peace was lost. Tensions, pressures and conflicts began to arise; things that up to then, were unimaginable. This affected all aspects of creation beginning with man.
Someday God will restore the peace and harmony of this first paradise. There will once again be a beautiful equilibrium when the Prince of peace finds His place in the hearts of men. The natural order of creation will also be part of this new divine order. God will heal everyone and will restore everything and peace will prevail! The apostle Paul spoke of this new day of perfect peace in His letter to the Romans:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. (Romans 8:18-22; 25)
The reality of the peace of God is not only for the future age. It can begin now as long as we permit the Lord Jesus to rule and reign in our hearts. He came to reconcile us to God so that we could have peace with Him. To the extent that we receive the forgiveness of God, we can forgive others and ourselves.
A new and divine order comes to our lives in Christ Jesus. To the extent that we submit ourselves to His Spirit and obey His Word, we can be at peace, knowing that He is restoring us. The apostle Paul cited this truth that is able to transform our lives in one of his prayers for the church in Thessalonica:
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
The peace of God operates in our lives and brings equilibrium and order to all areas of our lives. Without divine peace in our hearts, we are open to all of the opposite fruits of the flesh.
The rotten fruit of the flesh
Peace is a quality of the life of Christ. The opposite fruit of the flesh would include toxic characteristics like anxiety, worry, fear, guilt, tensions, pressure, riots, fights, conflicts, discords and disorder. The sickness and death of the soul clearly drive all of these things.
It is no wonder that Paul exhorted the Colossians with the following urgent words:
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)
Many things in our daily lives rob us of the feeling that we have peace with God. It is good for us to remember that peace is more than just a simple warm feeling of internal well-being. Peace is an expression of the life of Christ. When we remain in Jesus, we remain in His life and His peace. However, we have peace whether we feel it or not. The peace that Jesus gives us is not like the peace of the world that comes and goes with the pressures and tensions of life.
There is great power in the peace of God. It is sufficiently strong to bind all of the negative forces of the world, the flesh and the devil. Jesus stated this truth clearly in the following words to His disciples shortly before His death:
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. (John 14:27)
It is as if through His Word Jesus has given us a sign. We must lift up this sign every time we face problems in our lives. On the side that faces the world, the flesh and the devil, the sign says, “stop!” On the side that faces us, the sign says “peace!”
This truth should always comfort our attitudes and the tendency of our minds. We are not abandoned victims to our daily tasks, because we have the promise of peace that the Prince of peace has given to us.
You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. (Isaiah 26:3)