The Fruit of Peace

Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been looking at the radical nature of the fruit of the Spirit. First came love, then joy, and now peace. Since this is one of my personal favorites, let’s get right down to it, shall we?

In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

(Psalm 4:8)

Peace is releasing any illusion of control, sinking into the rest that accompanies experiencing the good Daddy heart of God. It wars against fear and unbelief and recognizes that whatever the Lord has planned for us is the most loving possible scenario. We don’t scramble for our own safety or wellbeing; we’re already safe and well off in the hand of a loving God. Worry has no place in our minds.

Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

(Psalm 34:14)

Peace is opposed to sin. Ever heard the saying, “No rest for the wicked?” Peace is a friend to those who love doing things according to the Lord’s design and manifests when we’re aligned with God’s will. If our hearts are steeped in rebellion, a true, deep, lasting peace is absolutely foreign.

Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace to His people, to His saints; but let them not turn back to folly.

(Psalm 85:8)

Peace is the language of God. Imagine if He were to walk into your house and sit down. What do you think He’d say to you? It’s so easy for me to assume He’d tell me where I need to improve, where I’m not measuring up. But this verse reveals how unfounded that fear is. God longs to speak peace over me and into me. When I let Him, the desire to go my own way shrinks. I can follow His path for me wrapped in love.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.

(Isaiah 26:3)

Peace comes from a perspective shift. Have you ever noticed how moving your focus from what you’ve done (or what you need to get done) to what God has already done can overwhelm you with a sense of calm? If not, try it. Pick a passage, maybe Isaiah 53. Make a list of everything God the Father, God the Son, or God the Spirit is (nouns) and has done (verbs). Then let the sheer magnitude of it all settle. This washing of our minds with Scripture is a natural peace activator and will always diminish the power our problems have over us.

And [the angel] said, “O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.” And as he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”

(Daniel 10:19)

Peace and strength are besties. Notice how the angel addresses Daniel? “O man greatly loved.” Friends, this is how the heavenly realm thinks of us! If we know we are greatly loved (and we are), what could we be nervous about? God isn’t powerless to save. If He’s for us, what’s left out there to fear? Even the hard things that happen are ultimately tools He uses to show us more and more of His goodness.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

(Matthew 5:9)

Peace takes guts. I’d like to point out that peacekeeping and peacemaking are two different gigs. We’re not talking about covering over tiny disagreements among friends here. Jesus says that moving into hostile territory and fighting back the darkness of discord is how God’s kids should operate. We can speak strengthening words to those we encounter, leaving a trail of peace and reconciliation in our wake.

And [Jesus] awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

(Mark 4:39)

Peace is evidence of Christ’s with-us-ness. It’s kind of His ringtone. Think about His birth announcement: glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men (Luke 2:14). Think about His resurrection announcement: peace be with you (Luke 24:36). In the boat, He told His disciples that His presence should be enough to banish fear. Everywhere He goes, His message to us is peace. Sometimes He calms the storm. Sometimes He calms our hearts.

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

(John 14:27)

Peace is divine. It doesn’t come from anywhere but heaven. Because of that, it’s not going anywhere when circumstances change. This fruit we’ve been given lasts through thick and thin, our best days and our worst. It doesn’t hide under the blankets when hard times come. On the contrary, peace is put on dazzling display when we suffer with hope.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

(Romans 12:18)

Peace is intended to characterize our relationships wherever possible. The kingdom of God isn’t run on drama. While the world is consumed with self, getting ahead and looking out for number one, we are called to sacrifice for one another. We swallow our pride and get along on a soul level. Easy? Of course not! Unique? Definitely.

Do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 4:6-7)

Peace is found at the foot of the cross. I recently realized that I am a natural burden-bearer: when I connect with someone in conversation, I strap on her troubles to help her know she’s not alone. This isn’t a bad thing. What is a bad thing is that I don’t have a habit of laying those burdens down and leaving them with Jesus. I carry a load I was never meant to bear farther than Calvary. So trusting the Lord with these troubles frees up my mind and heart to go forth and love well, carrying a peace that passes all understanding.

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