Galatians 5:22-23 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (NLT)
Welcome to study 5 in our ‘Spiritual Fruit Series’. This post is the first of two regarding the spiritual fruit of peace. If you would like to begin at the beginning of this series click here.
We are living in a very broken world and you would have to cut yourself off from it entirely to escape its troubles. There are so many things that can bring worry, fear and uncertainty into our lives, robbing us of peace and testing our faith in God. There may be personal issues such as sickness, finances or broken relationships, but global events can also impact on us. The threat of nuclear attacks had the whole world in fear during the 1960’s and 1980’s but even today there are similar concerns. Terrorism has also affected millions of people across the world and has changed the way we live. There are people today who avoid watching the news on TV or reading it in print simply because they feel pulled down by the weight of all these things. The question is can we really live in peace and what would that look like?
In the passage above, the apostle Paul refers to the Spiritual fruit of peace. He is not talking about world peace or even the freedom from personal troubles. Instead he is talking about a supernatural peace that is provided for us on the inside which enables us to endure those troubles without being overcome by the uncertainty and distress that they can cause. The idea of “Inner Peace” is certainly not limited to Christianity, but what Paul is telling us is that God’s own Holy Spirit who lives inside all Christians is the one who can provide it. We are just not capable of obtaining this for ourselves as it has to be given by God. God is at peace and He can share that with us in the midst of our troubles. He gives assurance and comfort when there is none to be found from worldly sources but it requires that we have a very close relationship with Him. We must allow the Holy Spirit to work inside of us and to avoid the trap of worldly worries.
Philippians 4:6-9 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
This passage is not asking us to pretend our troubles don’t exist but is reminding us that God is above all of them. We are told to focus on positive things rather than get caught up in the negatives. God is trustworthy and so when we pray for help we can be certain He has heard us and is working for our best interests even if we cannot see what He is doing at the time.
Verse 7 promises that when we put this into practice it is the peace of God which will come to us. It is a peace which “transcends all understanding”. In other words it is a peace which we may struggle to explain except for knowing where it comes from. It is a peace which will be seen by those who do not know Jesus and will make no sense to them and so can therefore be a powerful witness. This is a peace which demonstrates the power of God at work within us.
Re-read Philippians 4:6-9
After reading take some time to consider the following questions:
Q1. Before reading this post, what was your understanding of peace as a fruit from God? Has it changed or been strengthened by this study? Take some to reflect upon how you may grow in this area.
Q2. When troubles come, is God your first port of call? Do you have a habit or routine of only seeking help, rather than His peace? If so, take a moment to reflect upon what hurts you may still be carrying that enable this pattern and prayerfully hand them to The Lord for complete healing.
Click here for peace part 2.