THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT - THE THIRD GRAPE IN THE CLUSTER
Peace - Quietness - Contentment - Thanksgiving
Are you at peace with yourself, with God and with others? Peace is being sought for by everyone. Peace is the goal of those trying to mediate the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. Peace is the need between various ethnic and racial groups in India, Iraq, Iran, Europe and other places in the world.
Peace is the need in angry lives, troubled marriages, and hostile teenagers; and also in the lives of fearful aged senior citizens in the sunset years of their life. Peace is what is lacking in the lives of people who are easily enraged, irritable, belligerent, bitter, jealous, quarreling and filled with animosity and hostility.
Peace is not self-centered, self-important or self-preoccupied. The person with this developed grape in their life's fruit cluster of God's Spirit is selfless, self-sacrificing, seeking to help and heal, desires to console and quiet troubled and anxious people.
Some people have the wrong idea about peace. They think and believe that peace is being passive. Or as W. Phillip Keller describes it in his book entitled “A Gardener Looks at the Fruits of the Spirit,” they think, “peace is merely stagnation, sterility or a negative attitude of non-involvement.” Keller goes on to say that, “Peace is the selfless, self-giving, self-losing, self-forgetting, self-sacrificing love of God in repose despite all the adverse reverses of life. It is love standing serene, strong, and stable in spite of every insult, every antagonism, every hate.”
The following is an illustration about peace that you may have heard or read before, but it so beautifully communicates the truth about peace. Two painters were asked to paint a picture illustrating peace.
The first painted a beautiful evening scene in the foreground of which was a lake, its surface absolutely calm and unruffled. Trees surrounded it, meadows stretched away to the distant cattle gently grazing; a little cottage, the setting sun—all spoke of perfect peace.
The second painter drew a wild, stormy scene. Heavy black clouds hung overhead; in the center of the picture an immense waterfall poured forth huge volumes of water covered with foam. One could almost hear its unceasing roar, yet perhaps the first thing to strike the eye was a small bird, perched in a cleft of a huge rock, absolutely sheltered from all danger, pouring forth its sweet note of joy.
It is the second painter who could describe the peace that passes all understanding which is the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God in heart of the forgiven and saved sinner.
The person who humbles himself or herself, surrenders and submits to the Lord will know peace. This person allows Him to cleanse their heart and life of bitterness and belligerence, anger and hostility, irri-tability and agitation, hatred and animosity. Such an individual knows the work of God's forgiveness, the healing power of His Holy Spirit and the love of Jesus Christ.
The individual, who is at peace with God, has the peace of God; thus, resting in the steadfast love and faithfulness of Almighty God, the Heavenly Father. They are living illustrations of quietness, content-ment and thankfulness. The following verses summarize everything so well.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:7 NKJV)
The Peace of God be with you!
Pastor Perry DeGroot