"But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control; against such things, there is no law." -Galatians 5:22-23 Peace is a word we hear a lot. When there is war, peace means a cessation of fighting. When we desire calm and quiet, we say we want "peace." There are many ways people define the word peace. If we were to look up peace in the dictionary (source, oxford dictionary), it would read:
1. Freedom from civil unrest or disorder; public order and security.
2. Freedom from quarrels or dissension between individuals (or, esp. in early use, between an individual and God); a state of friendliness; amity, concord
3. Freedom from anxiety, disturbance (emotional, mental, or spiritual), or inner conflict; calm, tranquillity. 4. Freedom from external disturbance, interference, or perturbation, esp. as a condition of an individual.
5. Absence of noise, movement, or activity; stillness, quiet. 6. Freedom from, absence of, or cessation of war or hostilities; the condition or state of a nation or community in which it is not at war with another; peacetime. This is pretty amazing, when we think about it. The Majority of these definitions of the SAME WORD (peace) begin with "Freedom from" and the one that doesn't is the "Absence of." Peace, simply put, is freedom from external issues that cause us turmoil in our lives. Peace, if we to roll all of these definitions in to one, could be simply defined as "Freedom from conflict, fighting, anxiety, disturbances, and hostility; a state of harmony and tranquility." Wouldn't this be an amazing thing to have! Jesus' first coming promised peace on earth. So why have we not seen it? That is a problem many of us have. As Christians, we face, on an almost daily basis, fighting, business, a lot of noise, strife, envy, enemies, and so many other things that disrupt the harmony and tranquility in our lives. Where is that promised peace? First and foremost, we need to understand there will come a day when Christ comes back a final time, and all war, turmoil and strife will cease. That's not the Peace that is an aspect of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Coming to Jesus does not promise an easy road, or even an easy life. Jesus was mocked, plotted against, ridiculed, outcast by His own home town, and nailed to a tree. There is nothing in His life, that we are to model, that promises and easy road. There will be a peace in the return of Christ, but for now, the peace of God, that fruit of the Holy Spirit comes in a different way. The Peace that the Holy Spirit brings comes from submission to God's will, leaving all outcomes in His hands. It is a tranquility that only He can provide, and He provides when we let go of the control in our lives, and hand it over to Him. It comes when we stop focusing on the externals, the strife, the jobs, the fighting and every day struggles, and focus on God, His goodness, and what is right in the world. We can't find peace in the news or politics, we can't find peace in work, we can't even find peace in relationships: all of these things are full of struggle, toil, and strife. We can find peace when we say "God, I surrender this all, the good, bad, and indifferent over to you. You are lord over my whole life, and whatever you give me, I will trust it is for my good." Peace comes from God when we surrender to God as the Lord of our lives, and submit all things to His good pleasure. Is there peace in your life? Take an inventory, see what you're not submitting. Then take everything, your work, your relationships, your policies and politics, your entertainment...all of it, and give it over to God, trust His will, and allow Him, submitting every breath, thought and action to His will, and watch His peace begin to rule your life.
Philippians 4:1-13 English Standard Version (ESV)
4 Therefore, my brothers,[a] whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
Exhortation, Encouragement, and Prayer
2 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. 3 Yes, I ask you also, true companion,[b] help these women, who have labored[c] side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness[d] be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned[e] and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.