What Does It Mean to Bear the Fruit of Peace?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:22-24).
What does it mean to bear the fruit of peace?
Some clarifications about the nature of the fruits of the Spirit is necessary. Paul, in Galatians 5, gives us an inspired list of certain elements of God’s character that manifest themselves in the children of God. These traits are evidences that reveal the new nature of the regenerate believer who has been filled by the Spirit of God. These are not simply personality traits that grow in the believer, these are God’s personality showing forth by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
Of all the fruits, peace seems perhaps the most fragile. Peace seems a circumstantial characteristic. We tend to think that if we care about a person or situation then it is natural for our concern to override our peace.
In Mark 4 we read the account of Jesus calming the storm. In the midst of a life threatening circumstance we see Jesus asleep. In verses 37 and 38 we read, “ A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’”
Like the disciples, we mistakenly think that the correct and appropriate response in the midst of crisis is fear or worry or stress. Like the disciples, when we see someone exhibiting a lack of stress in the midst of crisis we assume that they must not have concern for the situation, or that they must not properly understand the situation as we do.
This misunderstanding has become a very prevalent one in today’s world of social media and politics. It is assumed that if you are not enraged about something or if you are not concerned with the same things then you must not be paying attention. Rage, fear, worry, stress and even concern are not fruits of the Spirit. Peace is. The Christian who is moved by any internal or external force other than the direction of the Holy Spirit is a Christian who is not keeping in step with the Spirit as they have been called to. It is only by the Spirit that brings peace regardless of the state of the world around us, that we can fulfill the calling to accurately represent the kingdom that is not of this world.
The Christian is to have peace at all times. This is possible only by the Presence of the Spirit of the God of the Universe abiding in them. God is unthreatenable. God is undefeatable. God is sovereign. God WILL have his way finally and ultimately. This same God dwells in the true Christian. Circumstance might rob God’s children of all we have, our livelihoods and even our very lives, but God’s sovereignty remains.
Peace is not a lack of caring. Peace, rather, is a fruit of the Spirit because the Holy Spirit understands what is true. The Holy Spirit has an accurate understanding of all that comes our way and knows that security is not having our way in the things that might cause us anxiety. Peace then, is found in the faith that knows that whatever fiery arrows the enemy might shoot at the believer, God is faithful. “And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 BSB).
Each believer, then, must ask God for the courage to examine themselves in this regard. Do we have peace as God wills us to have peace? This peace is not a lack of motivation. Rather, it is only those with this fruit who will be used of God to show the world a faith that is unaltered by circumstance. We must each ask ourselves questions like:
- Does my life exhibit this fruit of the Spirit?
- Can those who see me testify to the steadiness of the peace of God in my life, that keeps my life standing firm regardless of the storm?
- Do my words, my attitude, my demeanor, my externally expressed and internally felt emotions display the presence of this peace?
- Do I live in the reality that I am secure in my Father’s arms regardless of my circumstance?
Our gracious God has given the gifts of these fruits to every believer that trusts in Christ for salvation. The peace of God is not something we gain through willful determination. It is not attainable through human effort or the power of positive thinking. This peace, like all the fruits, is evidence that we have been filled with the Spirit of God. God desires this peace for all that are His. The Holy Spirit within the believer already has this peace and so the believer already has this peace. May we, then, trusting our God, ask Him to make His peace in us known more fully. For, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
In His Peace,
Pastor Brian TorresSeptember 1, 2023