The Fruit of the Spirit is Peace
July 7, 2020
What comes to your mind when you think of peace? Most people think of a cessation of hostilities, not more war—those kinds of pictures. But peace, the fruit of the Spirit (the effects of the Holy Spirit on the lives of believers) is more than that. Biblical peace is harmony, safety, friendliness, and relational tranquility. It comes from the Holy Spirit as we are surrendered to Him and growing. It is not from TRYING and striving to create peace. Humans are incapable of creating such conditions. Five minutes of scrolling on social media or viewing any newscast will prove that only God can establish peace.
Tim Keller is a student of the Word, and he defines the fruit of the Spirit in this way:
Definition – Confidence and rest in the wisdom and sovereignty of God more than your own.
Opposite – Worry and anxiety
Counterfeit – Indifference, apathy, not caring about something. “I don’t care.”
Let’s look at each of these.
In order to have confidence and rest in the wisdom and sovereignty of God more than your own, you have to know God. You have to have a relationship with Him. Jesus made peace with God possible. The peace of God begins with God's making peace between Himself and mankind through the sacrificial death of Jesus to pay our sin debt. When you put your faith in Jesus as your Savior, you begin a relationship with God. The more your relationship with God grows, the more you trust Him, and the more your confidence and rest in God’s sovereignty grows.
God's peace will guard your heart and mind during times of tribulation and trouble (Philippians 4:7). It is a peace unlike anything the world can give and is the antidote to fear and anxiety (John 14:27). John 16:33 says, "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." Peace with God overshadows conflict in the world.
The opposite of peace, worry and anxiety, is characteristic of a person without this fruit of the Spirit. But this peace comes from knowing we are not in charge of the world, not even our own personal situations. HE is. We have begun to trust Him more and more and our own wisdom less and less. We know He is wiser than we are, loves us completely, and has the power to do what we cannot.
There are many people who exhibit counterfeit peace. Instead of surrendering to God and truly gaining the peace of God through that relationship, they surrender to indifference, apathy, and not caring. Rather than facing the situation, caring about the people involved, and then trusting God to do what needs to be done, and resting in that confidence, they may appear to be distant and removed, even flippant about the issues that concern others. A study of the Word of God tells us that God wants to empower us to have confidence and rest in the wisdom and sovereignty of God more than our own. That’s central to the invitation to “Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7).
Keep in mind, you will never have this peace on your own strength. Many Christians think it is their job after salvation to try and polish up their lives and discipline themselves so that more of the fruit can be seen and experienced. They work on the one they feel like they lack most: “God, give me peace. Help me live in peace.”They labor and strive in their own strength to develop the fruit of the Spirit, but that doesn’t get them very far. They may improve a little, but it’s always a struggle.
The fruit of the Spirit is the fruit of God’s work in our lives when we are obedient to the Holy Spirit, not the fruit of our own strength. It produces “all joy and peace” (Romans 15:13). The way to greater peace is to trust God more and more. You do it as you surrender to the Holy Spirit, and He naturally does His work in the obedient follower.
Peace be with you. It’s the gift of Jesus through the Holy Spirit.