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Thursday, October 10 2019

Contributor: Leye Olayiwola

Introduction

We will continue our study of the Fruit of the Spirit as we consider another of the seed, result or grace called Peace. During the last meeting, we had an in-depth study of Joy. We learnt and discovered that Joy is more than a definition, Joy is spiritual! We learnt from the scriptures that the root of Joy is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. We also learnt that since Joy is spiritual, this is different from Happiness, which is rooted in emotion.

Today, we will consider Peace and the significance and meaning of this manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit in general.

 

What Really Are the “Graces”, seeds or “results” of the “Fruit of the Holy Spirit?

Quite a number of Christians still believe that these graces of “fruit of the Spirit” are things to strive for and work towards in the Christian life. These are the things God wants us to do to be “better Christians”. This has been the lesson taught on this verse many times and it sounds pretty good.

However, it will appear that this teaching directly betrays the meaning of the passage and the overall context. Specifically, at issue here is the nature of fruit. The idea of fruit is used throughout the New Testament almost always as an illustrative idea and not as literal fruit (apples, oranges, etc.). The theological idea of fruit is that of a natural result. An apple tree produces apples. An orange tree produces oranges. An apple tree will not produce an orange. No matter how hard an apple tree might try to produce an orange it will always be a losing battle. Yet, an orange tree has no problem producing an orange. In fact, everything from the roots to the branches are made to do just that.

Paul uses of the word “fruit” here to complete an idea that started earlier in the passage (Galatians 5:16-17 AMP).

The Christian has something unique that the rest of the world does not. We can choose to complete our daily activity, “walk”, by our own resources, a.k.a. “the flesh”, or by recognizing our lack of ability to produce Christ-like characteristics and trusting the Holy Spirit to work through us in our daily activity.

The fruit of these two trees (the flesh and the Spirit) are predictable. When we choose to go through any activity of our day by our own resources, our flesh tree will only ever produce flesh fruit, some of which are listed Galatians 5 vs 19-21. We might be able to cover up our flesh with a smile, justification, or comparative morality (“my flesh is not as bad as so-and-so’s flesh”), but it will always truly be fruit that is sickly and rotten at the core. No matter how much we might desire the opposite kind of fruit we can never, nor will we ever, produce it by our own efforts.

 “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts and passions. 13 Do not go on offering members of your body to sin as instruments of wickedness. But offer yourselves to God [in a decisive act] as those alive [raised] from the dead [to a new life], and your members [all of your abilities—sanctified, set apart] as instruments of righteousness [yielded] to God.”

Romans 6:12-13 AMP

On the other hand, when we choose to offer ourselves to God and allow Him to work through us, our Spirit tree will only ever produce Spirit fruit.

What is Peace?

The word Paul used for peace was the Greek word eirene. This word includes the meaning “peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon).

Peace is the opposite of James 4:1-4. Notice Philippians 4:6-7:

“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” (emphasis added throughout).

God’s perfect peace is one of those wonderfully deep things of God that have not “entered into the heart of man” but are only “spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:9,14). The fruit of the Spirit of peace also provides the inner peace of mind and contentment found by living God’s way of life—even in less-than-peaceful situations.

Peace is more than the absence of war or something felt in the mind. It is a way of living life in a proper relationship between man and God, as well as man and man.

Why Does God Want Us to Demonstrate Peace?

Peace is so alien a thing in this world. Imagine a world:

  • Where people actually let others finish speaking instead of interrupting them.
  • Where people don’t have heated arguments.
  • Where differences are settled with patience rather than fists.
  • Where people show compassion to others even when they don’t deserve it.

Why, in Romans 12:18, does Paul say, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men”? He said this because God wants His entire creation to be at peace, and this must start one person at a time.

The coming Kingdom of God will be one of peace; and if we are to be a part of it, we must demonstrate this reality. Christ explicitly explained this in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). So why does God want us to demonstrate peace? God wants us to be a part of His family as sons and daughters, and His family must be peaceful. Eventually the whole world will be part of this peaceful family; but now, amidst the hatred and conflict, it must start with us.

An Example of Peace to Follow

A great example of making peace can be found in the story of Abram (whose name was later changed to Abraham) and his nephew Lot. The two were traveling together, but their possessions were too great and their herdsmen began bickering and fighting over grazing land.

Abram came to Lot and said: “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left” (Genesis 13:8-9).

Instead of letting anger build up and shouting accusations, Abram calmly assessed the situation and made a suggestion, giving Lot the preference. His example shows that making peace might involve sacrifice of comfort and preference. But God blessed the results of Abram’s efforts at peace and recorded it as an example for us.

Conclusion – Demonstration of Peace

We must practice the way of peace starting in the only area we can really affect: our sphere of influence. Remember, Paul urged us “if it is possible” and “as much as depends on you” to live peaceably with “all men.” This will be challenging. Here are a few ideas:

  • Drop conversations that are getting out of hand. This might involve saying something like: “Let’s agree to disagree.” Then be satisfied that you can’t change someone else’s mind about certain things. Peace is knowing that God’s intervention might be necessary to change someone’s thinking (including our own).
  • Make yourself stand out as the calm and collected one in whatever encounters you experience. Others may fight or say insulting, jealous or prideful things, but we should edify, build up and walk away from an encounter if necessary.
  • Respect other human beings as potential future members of the family of God. Remind yourself that God does not want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9), no matter how angry you are at the person at the moment.

Some parts of this study culled from https://www.compellingtruth.org; https://www.ucg.org; https://lifehopeandtruth.com

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 04:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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