For several blogs we’re thinking about “Living to the Nines” and by this we mean how we can live well. The basis of this “Living to the Nines” is the “Fruit of the Spirit” that the apostle Paul lists in his letter to the Galatians. We’re looking at the nine facets of this fruit of a life filled with God. Paul writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 6:22-23) Let’s take a closer look at that third facet of the fruit of the Spirit of God, peace.
What’s peace? My description – The person of peace brings a calming influence to stormy relationships and chaotic situations.
We all want peace in our relationships and situations. We want to be at peace with ourselves. What are we really looking for?
The Hebrew Scriptures (our Old Testament) uses the word shalom for our word peace. It’s a word that holds a lot of meaning. It means completeness, wholeness, tranquility, perfectness, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord, and more. No wonder, then, that it’s used as both a greeting and to bid farewell.
So, how do we find peace? How can we experience it?
One of my favorite stories is of a couple of travelers walking a country road who stop to ask a question of a farmer hoeing his field. The first traveler says, “I’m looking to find a place to settle down and was wondering how the people are around here.”
The farmer rubs his chin thoughtfully, then asks the traveler, “How did you find the people where you came from?”
“Oh, they were irritable, nasty, and hard to get along with.”
The farmer slowly nods his head and replies, “You’ll find the people around here to be much the same.”
Later a second traveler comes along and says to the farmer, “I’m looking to find a place to settle down and was wondering how the people are around here.”
The farmer rubs his chin thoughtfully and asks the traveler, “How did you find the people where you came from?”
“Oh, they were kind, loving, and good.”
The farmer replies, “You’ll find the people around here to be much the same.”
We don’t find peace as much as we bring peace. Outward peace begins with inward peace.
Peace is a progression. To have peace with the world around us we must be at peace with ourselves. To have peace with ourselves we must be at peace with God. New Testament scholar D. A. Carson writes that peace is “the utter well-being that only God can establish.” (The God Who Is There, p. 172) Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
We’re always more at peace when, in a difficult and worrisome situation, we find someone who is there to help us and who cares to help us. That’s Jesus! We experience peace when we yield to the reign of the Prince of Peace in our lives. A good prayer to pray is, “Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace, rule my life today. Help me to overcome my worry, agitation, and anger. May I find my rest and confidence in You. This is what I pray.”