The Fruit of the Spirit - Peace: The Hunger of Human Hearts

You are here

The Fruit of the Spirit - Peace

The Hunger of Human Hearts

Login or Create an Account

With a account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up

MP3 Audio (9.73 MB)


The Fruit of the Spirit - Peace: The Hunger of Human Hearts

MP3 Audio (9.73 MB)

Peace. Ah, the word itself stirs calming and pleasant thoughts.

Hearts yearn for peace. In fact, a common greeting in many languages is to wish someone peace, like shalom (Hebrew) or aloha (Hawaiian). Even Jesus Christ used it (John 20:19; John 20:21; John 20:26).

How about your life? Are you stressed out with life's pressures and wanting more peace? Most people would say yes!

The Bible focuses on three areas of peace: personal peace of mind, doing what we can to have peace in our relationships with others and eventual peace among all nations.

True peace of mind is an inner calm, contentment and confidence no matter what the outer circumstances. This seems impossible, but "with God all things are possible" (Mark 10:27).

A planet without peace

We live in a frightening and frenzied world. We used to hear of someone being a nervous wreck or suffering a nervous breakdown. Emotions haven't changed as much as terminology. Tension, anxiety, depression and panic attacks are the common designations today.

One result is the overuse and abuse of alcohol and legal drugs as well as the use of illegal drugs—as people turn to temporary escapism instead of seeking long-term solutions.

Finding peace in a contentious world can seem hopeless, but Scripture tells us to "seek peace and pursue it" (1 Peter 3:11). Seek it by taking time to read the Bible, by far the greatest book on peace ever written (Colossians 3:15-16). Pursue it through prayer to the very "God of peace" (Hebrews 13:20).

Christ's followers are protected from many trials and dangers, but not all. In fact, some trials, like persecution, happen because of trying to "live godly in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:12).

The key is to rely on Christ, the source of sublime peace (John 14:27; John 16:33) and the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). He can "guide our feet into the way of peace" (Luke 1:79).

Practical principles and spiritual dangers

To experience peace, you must take responsibility for your thoughts (Philippians 4:8). With God's help you can quit reacting with anger or self-pity. It's not your circumstances or other people that determine your mood; it is your attitude about them. "Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls" (Proverbs 25:28, emphasis added throughout).

Today, many good books and Websites have practical advice on reducing physical and mental stress. Some keys are to learn good interpersonal skills, be positive and flexible, exercise, get good nutrition and sleep, learn to relax, and rest one day each week.

However, don't trust everything that is written. New Age teachings, based on pagan ideas with new scientific-sounding terminology, have mushroomed in popularity. As people have pushed the Bible out of their lives, they have been filling the spiritual vacuum with a dangerous counterfeit spirituality.

Learning and living by the Bible brings more mental and emotional benefits than any New Age teaching. Furthermore, instead of being drawn into the paganism of false gods, one is drawing close to the true Creator God who inspired the Bible.

Fear and worry versus faith, courage and peace

For most people, the most common type of meditation—thinking intently on a particular subject—is fear or worry!

But guess what single command in the Bible occurs more often than any other? Fear not.

But how is that possible? We must replace fear with faith—a childlike trust in your heavenly Father. "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You" (Isaiah 26:3).

The Hebrew expression translated "perfect peace" here is literally "peace, peace." It refers to the superior kind of peace that God makes possible for human beings. And those who have this peace are hoping for ultimate divine peace in the resurrection!

Trust in God to be your shelter and shade, your refuge and fortress (Psalm 61:4; Psalm 121:5; Psalm 91:2). David wrote, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me" (Psalm 23:4).

Worry is a type of fear, and Jesus repeatedly said, "Do not worry" (Matthew 6:25-34). Worry is a waste of time and energy. The Creator provides for all His creatures, and "you are of more value than many sparrows" (Matthew 10:31).

We cannot experience true faith and peace without obedience to God. His perfect commandments define the way of peace. God said, "Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea" (Isaiah 48:18).

The issue of fear is not primarily about emotion. "Fear not" means to have the courage to do the right thing even when it seems frightening. Knowing "the L ord your God is with you wherever you go" will give you the needed "good courage" to go forward anyway (Joshua 1:9).

The greatest key to peace: God's Spirit

True peace of mind depends on attaining "peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1).

Begin by humbly turning control over to God. Trying to manage our lives on our own generally brings only frustration and confusion, yet "God is not the author of confusion but of peace" (1 Corinthians 14:33).

Do as Peter instructed: "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission [forgiveness] of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).

These two great gifts of God—forgiveness and the Holy Spirit—result in "righteousness and peace and joy" (Romans 14:17). Even better, they lead to the greatest gift of all—eternal life (Romans 6:23). The "hope of eternal life" takes away the "fear of death" (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 2:15). No other comfort compares!

In Galatians 5:22-23, the apostle Paul is apparently likening the Holy Spirit to a tree of life. He said, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."

Consider carefully the relationship of peace to all the other virtues that come through the Spirit. Each helps produce and maintain all the others.

Consider also the contrast between the fruit of the Spirit and the "works of the flesh"—human nature—in Galatians 5:19-21, including "hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like." God's Spirit will replace these vices!

"Grace and peace"

Why do Paul's epistles begin with variations of the salutation, "Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ"? (See, for example, Galatians 1:3.)

Paul may have coined a new phrase or perhaps adopted a previously little-used phrase. "Grace" (Greek charis) or "Grace to you" was a Greek greeting. On the other hand, "Peace" (Hebrew shalom) was a Jewish greeting.

Paul ministered to Jewish and Greek Christians, so the greeting "Grace to you and peace" was inclusive and unifying. "You are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).

More importantly, the New Testament adds great theological meaning to "grace" and "peace."

Grace includes God's wonderful gift of forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7). Grace heals the guilt! It is the great prerequisite to peace. First pardon, then peace.

God's grace also makes us "sons of God" (Galatians 3:26). What peace to know we are the beloved of our gracious Father!

Therefore the distinctly Christian greeting gave honor to the One who gives us grace and, as a result, real peace.

Enjoy peace and be peacemakers

Peace and harmony come to those who extend it to others. Paul wrote, "If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men" (Romans 12:18). We are called to be peacemakers, following the example of the supreme Peacemaker (Matthew 5:9).

Pray that God will make it possible for His people to "lead a quiet and peaceable life" (1 Timothy 2:2). Pray for peace of mind. Pray for peaceful relationships. And pray for God's peaceful Kingdom to come soon!

Paul's admonition in Philippians 4:6-7 (Revised Standard Version) beautifully summarizes this wonderful subject: "Have no anxiety 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 passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."