Peace

I am continuing my investigation into the fruit of the spirit. It is very fitting that peace comes next, after joy. In my last article I uncovered this verse as one of the keys to joy:

“And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:7

Numbers 6:26 says “the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” This verse is part of a blessing that the old testament priests were to speak over Israel. This peace (Shalom in Hebrew) is defined by the NIV Study notes [1] as ‘not the absence of war, but a positive state of rightness and well-being.’ This is a type of peace that can only come from God. The word also carried connotations of prosperity, and an inner rest of spirit [1].

God’s Peace is for Those who Follow Him

Isaiah 48:22 shows that this peace is not given to the wicked (those who rebel against God [1]). At the birth of Jesus, the angels announced that his peace would be given to those “on whom his favour rests” (Luke 2:14) meaning those who please Him. We we will see below we please God through our faith.

Jesus is our Peace

Micah Chapter 5 is a messianic prophecy. It speaks of the one to be born in Bethlehem. We are told in verse 5 that “he wil be their peace.” Ephesians 2:14 applies this directly to Jesus.

Jesus brought peace with him into the world (Luke 2:14). Our faith in Jesus brings us peace with God (Romans 5:1).

In John 14:27 Jesus promised his disciples to leave His peace with them. “I do not give as the world gives”. People of the world can only wish peace to others, but Jesus can actualy make it happen. “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” This peace of Jesus can banish worry and fear. The antidote to a troubled heart is trust – which leads to peace [1].

Peace and Conflict

Jesus’ peace can sometimes lead to conflict (Matthew 10:34-36) because peace with God means “opposition to Satan and his work” [1], but we are also expected to live at peace with other people. This can be difficult because it takes two to make peace. This is why we are commanded to live at peace with everyone – as far as it depends on us (Romans 12:18). We can’t control the other person’s actions or attitudes – only our own.

Sometimes of course, there are thoughts and attitudes that grow inside us that are anything but peaceful. This is why Colossians 3:15 instructs us to “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts”. If peace is ruling in our hearts then all the other attitudes of anger, bitterness and frustration must bow in submission.

More and more, I’m finding that the fruit of the spirit are exactly what I need to be soaked in, While preparing for beginning a new year at work in a week’s time. The next one is no exception. Up next: Patience.

But for now, as the priests said to Israel thousands of years ago, I’m gonna say to you:

May the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

References
[1] NIV Bible Study notes. Copyright (C) 1985; The Zondervan Corporation.
[2] Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

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About Adam David Collings

Adam Collings is a writer of speculative fiction who works as a software engineer during the day. He lives in Tasmania, Australia with his wife and two children. Adam is currently working on a science fiction novel.
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