“I just don’t have a peace about it.”
How many times have you heard that statement? How many times have you said it yourself? While I don’t believe that there is anything inherently wrong with that phrase, I do think that it has somehow led to a misunderstanding of what peace really is.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 ESV
Again, here in Scripture and from the mouth of Jesus Himself, we see this principle of abiding: “…in me you may have peace.” To be in Christ, to remain in Him, to stay connected to Him…all pointing to the overarching principle of the fruit of the Spirit.
God does the growing. Our obedience is the abiding.
Furthermore, we see that peace can be had even in the midst of tribulation and hardship. I would go so far as to say especially in times of tribulation and hardship…if we are “in Christ.” The peace that we have access to can settle us and anchor us in times that are anything but settling or secure.
Peace is not a feeling; it’s a fruit.
I can’t help but wonder how many times I have excused my way out of a difficult obedience because “I didn’t have/feel a peace about it.” Anybody? Walking in obedience and doing the hard things that Jesus calls us to rarely comes with a warm, fuzzy feeling, at least not for me. Peace is a fruit of the Spirit that is developed within us as we spend time with the Prince of Peace.
Time with Jesus has a way of calming the storms that rage around us. Think about it. Peter walked on the water…storm still raging around him. (Matthew 14:29) Paul wrote letters from a prison cell…having found the secret of being content in any situation. (Philippians 4:11) James, the younger, half-brother of Jesus, defines wisdom using the word “peaceable” when the church in Jerusalem that he was leading was under constant attack and persecution which probably felt far more chaotic that peaceful. (James 3:17)
We live in a world that has unfortunately excelled at making minor things the main things, and this tragic exchange also happens in the church. Through this study of the fruit of the Spirit, I’m reminded of the importance of keeping the main thing the main thing: Jesus. Time spent with Jesus. Time spent in His presence. Time spent at His feet. Time spent in His love.
It’s all about Jesus. These virtues, these nine fruit that we are spending months studying together are not things to attain or achieve through our own efforts. They are the result of us prioritizing the best thing: Jesus. How can you and I not be more loving, joyful, and peaceful after having spent much time with Jesus? How can we not grow when we choose to place ourselves in a fertile environment?
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27 ESV
The best that this world has to offer us is a counterfeit. Peace is not found in this world because this world is not the source of peace. Jesus is, and He gives it to you and I in its fullest measure. Remain in Him.