God’s fruit of peace
Peace is the fruit of the Holy Spirit that supplies security in Christ, who provides all that is needed for life and godliness. In other words, it is the evidence of one who is dependent on Christ to provide the ability to cope with the problems, pain, and perplexities of living. As a result, in the midst of conflict, we can experience the absence of fear, dread, and impending doom as we rest in the presence of His safety, tranquility, and contentment.
A continuous relationship with Jesus Christ overflows with peace that comes from entrusting every struggle to Him. There is strength in knowing that while all around us is in flux and failure, Jesus provides spiritual stability beyond the normal boundaries of this existence. We experience peace in the presence of finding Christ relevant to our situation even when we cannot be in control.
Peace resides when the soul has been brought to balance by the work of Christ calming the turmoil of the heart. It is achieved by the release of self to the care of a trusted Savior, who in turn assures the individual of a promise of safekeeping that moves one to believe all is well.
You will keep in perfect peaceIsaiah 26:3–4 NLT
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Trust in the LORD always,
for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.
Comfort is the counterfeit fruit of peace.
But humanity desires a Christ-less comfort. Consequently, submission is too demanding and taxing and infringes on our sense of control. We choose rather to be at ease by creating an environment where the circumstances and situations favor us. Our relational connections to people, positions, and possessions serve to vanquish stress and strain. The pursuit of comfort most assuredly leads to all we have sought to avoid and results in turmoil.
While attempting to evade the pain of life, our quest for comfort brings the consequences of sin and illicit dependencies. Apart from God’s empowerment, we settle for the feeble counterfeits of God substitutes. If you find yourself experiencing the symptom of turmoil, consider what means of comfort you are employing to counterfeit God’s fruit of peace.
This is what the LORD says—Isaiah 48:17–18 NLT
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the LORD your God,
who teaches you what is good for you
and leads you along the paths you should follow.
Oh, that you had listened to my commands!
Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river
and righteousness rolling over you like waves in the sea.”
We will evidence the Spirit’s fruit of peace when we cease our pursuit of comfort with its resulting turmoil and find our security through Christ instead.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6–7 NLT
Consider the case of the maniac driver who questioned peace.
After Jehu had been anointed as king of the northern kingdom of Israel, he set about to cleanse the realm of Baal worship. His impetuous enthusiasm gained him the reputation as a maniac driver.
The driving is like that of Jehu son of Nimshi—he drives like a maniac.2 Kings 9:20 NIV
Jehu confronts counterfeit peace.
In an interesting snippet of the story, Jehu offers this commentary on counterfeit peace.
When the lookout standing on the tower in Jezreel saw Jehu’s troops approaching, he called out, “I see some troops coming.”2 Kings 9:17–22 NIV
“Get a horseman,” Joram ordered. “Send him to meet them and ask, ‘Do you come in peace?’ ”
The horseman rode off to meet Jehu and said, “This is what the king says: ‘Do you come in peace?’ ”
“What do you have to do with peace?” Jehu replied. “Fall in behind me.”
The lookout reported, “The messenger has reached them, but he isn’t coming back.”
So the king sent out a second horseman. When he came to them he said, “This is what the king says: ‘Do you come in peace?’ ”
Jehu replied, “What do you have to do with peace? Fall in behind me.”
The lookout reported, “He has reached them, but he isn’t coming back either. The driving is like that of Jehu son of Nimshi—he drives like a maniac.”
“Hitch up my chariot,” Joram ordered. And when it was hitched up, Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah rode out, each in his own chariot, to meet Jehu. They met him at the plot of ground that had belonged to Naboth the Jezreelite. When Joram saw Jehu he asked, “Have you come in peace, Jehu?”
“How can there be peace,” Jehu replied, “as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?”
True peace is the fruit of God’s Spirit.
The NIV Life Application Study Bible adds this commentary to verses 18–19 of the passage.
The horsemen met Jehu and asked if he came in peace. But Jehu responded, “What do you have to do with peace?” Peace, properly understood, comes from God. It is not genuine except when rooted in belief in God and love for him. Jehu knew the men represented a disobedient, wicked king. . . . Lasting peace can come only from knowing God who gives it to us.NIV Life Application Study Bible (2011)
2 Kings 10:30–31 adds the LORD’s commentary on Jehu.
The LORD said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.” Yet Jehu was not careful to keep the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit.2 Kings 10:30–31 NIV
Jehu settled for mediocrity instead of God’s fruit of peace.
NIV Life Application Study Bible (2011) offers this character study of Jehu.
Jehu had the basic qualities that could have made him a great success. From a human perspective, in fact, he was a successful king. His family ruled the northern kingdom longer than any other. He was used by God as an instrument of punishment to Ahab’s evil dynasty and he fiercely attacked Baal worship. He came close to being God’s kind of king, but he recklessly went beyond God’s commands and failed to follow through on the obedient actions that began his reign. Within sight of victory, he settled for mediocrity.
Jehu was a man of immediate action but without ultimate purpose. His kingdom moved, but its destination was unclear. He eliminated one form of idolatry, Baal worship, only to uphold another by continuing to worship the golden calves Jeroboam had set up. He could have accomplished much for God if he had been obedient to the One who made him king. Even when he was carrying out God’s directions, Jehu’s style showed he was not fully aware of who was directing him.
As he did with Jehu, God gives each person strengths and abilities that will find their greatest usefulness only under his control. Outside that control, however, they don’t accomplish what they could and often become tools for evil. One way to make sure this does not happen is to tell God of your willingness to be under his control. With his presence in your life, your natural strengths and abilities will be used to their greatest potential for the greatest good.
Experience peace when you pray with this Prayer Pattern.
My Lord, please help me not to worry about anything; but instead to pray about everything. I want to tell You what I need and thank You for all You have done. Lord, I desire to experience Your peace, which exceeds anything I can understand. I know Your peace will guard my heart and mind as I live in You.based on Philippians 4:6–7
Here are some journaling questions for you to process as you consider the fruit of the Spirit, which is peace.
- How do you try to supply your own peace in your life?
- What methods did I employ to find comfort when needing peace?
- What were the results?
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Excerpts from Desperate Dependency by J. Kirk & Melanie D. Lewis.
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