Tam - posted on 06/03/2009 ( 12 moms have responded )
WEEKLY THEMES ~ Each week we will study a theme, aside from actual Bible verse study we have going on. We are all here to share what God has laid on our hearts or how He has used these themes in our lives.
As we are all currently trying to seek after a closer walk with God and want to be able to share Him with others, it makes sense to me to study the Fruits of the Spirit so we can know that how we live, how we act, what we do and say will be shown in our fruit and that we should pursue Godly fruit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Each week we will study a new fruit and learn together how we can use these to God's glory, or how to overcome stumbling blocks to growing these fruits in our lives. I hope you all will participate as you can so we can share and grow in Christ together. One minister (sorry, can't remember who) said they thought of love and self-control being bookends which hold and support the other fruits. To me they are more like dominoes that when they are lined up and you press on love, it knocks into the next and so on until finally they are all there, working together to make a chain and as the dominoes fall they reach out and touch each other at the same time.
Isaiah 37:12 (NIV) The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.
The headlines today just shout of the chaos around us...one look at the newspaper or a quick glance at the evening news and it's enough to give anyone a case of anxiety.
Which brings us to this week's theme - PEACE.
The third fruit listed in the Fruit of the Spirit is peace. One many people, even Christians, find difficult to cultivate and grow with the ever darkening horizon of the world today.
The key though is trust in God.
But I trust God, you say. And you're most likely right. You trust Him to never leave you and to always be there, but do you well and truly believe that He will never forsake you? I struggle with this on some of the day-to-day stuff and have to stop to remind myself that He is in control and He knows the number of hairs on my head, so He knows what I'm going through and what the world will throw at me. He is bigger than all of that. He can certainly take care of me. Knowing that gives me peace to continue.
I'm not talking about a temporary peace that comes from my own understanding or even the world's version of temporary peace that comes more from numbing the symptoms of unrest than actual peace. Alcohol won't drown out unrest, drugs can only make you forget temporarily, and sex, wealth and entertainment are merely distractions. No, the peace I'm talking about is of divine nature, a gift from our Father rooted so deep inside that it can calm your fears in midst of any storm. This peace comes from knowing that I am His (that we are justified by faith).
Romans 5:1 (KJV) states, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:"
And peace was important enough that a good portion of the Bible is dedicated to peace. I believe I read in my studies on peace that almost all of the NT books either start with or end with peace (all but two books, I believe).
And the divine-inspired Word should instruct us on peace. Our precious Lord is our PEACE.
Judges 6:24 (KJV) says, "Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it Jehovahshalom; unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of Abiezrites."
Jehovahshalom translated means "The Lord Our Peace."
Interestingly, most often in the Bible, peace is tied to Jesus. Isaiah 9:6 calls Jesus the Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. In Luke, the angels tell the shepherds that the baby in the manger would bring peace to the men on whom His favor rests. In I John 14:27 Jesus tells us about the Comforter, saying, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
Strong's concordance describes peace as "quietness and rest." It does not mean in the absence of trial or tribulation, but rather that the Peace of God will be with us to help us during those times. It is often through the storms of life that we find the true meaning of that peace. Just like with Joy, God's peace is so much a fact if we just surrender our hearts to Him and hand Him our cares. In fact, Romans 8:6 admonishes us to keep our eyes on HIm, stating "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."
When we are spiritually minded, we seek after God and His law, not the world's. It gives us peace to withstand. Remember, the recent verse we read in Proverbs 3? I believe it was verse 17, but it talks about Godly wisdom and says "her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths lead are peace." It doesn't say lead to peace, but are peace. That says a great deal about our God. He knows when we need it the most, while we are on the path, and He grants it, He doesn't wait until we reach the destination or as we struggle through the storm. That peace is right there, ours for the comfort, as long as we seek after Him
There have been many scientific studies done that will prove this. The most recent I found was conducted by the University of Toronto and showed that believing in God can reduce stress and block anxiety. When you look at the dismal fruit of stress and anxiety (just the physical body signs) we see hypertension, ulcers, anxiety attacks, heart problems/attacks, breathing problems, etc. Each take their toll on the body. Other effects of unrest can cause divorce, substance abuse, suicide, etc. No wonder our God wanted to make sure we knew He was there with peace for us. The fruit of unrest is not good on our bodies (His temples) or to those around us.
When we long for and desire that deep relationship with our Savior, we cultivate that peace and it grow and bears fruit that others see. We can remain calm in midst of crisis. We can keep a cool head when the world around us is falling apart. This doesn't mean that we are perfect or have all the answers, only that we know the One who is and does! When we have His peace, we can cope with the situations thrown at us.
And it seems that as the world grows darker, we are mocked on all fronts--not just daily trials, but in this "one nation under God" we have been increasingly mocked, even attacked and singled-out for our beliefs.
The other day I was reading about a document put out by the government that stated the groups to watch as "domestic terrorists". My soul started to become troubled, wondering at the future.
Then the Lord reminded me that this world is not my home and nothing anyone can do can take away what He has given me. Only I can forfeit it. That as long as I keep faith in Him and His promises, I am marked as His and nothing they can do to me will harm my soul. This life is fleeting, temporary, and while there will be those who mock and persecute, we are blessed in His eyes because of it. I think part of that blessing is His peace.
Just look at Christ when they took him before Pilot. He maintained calm even though He knew what was coming, though the crowd shouted "crucify him" He personified God's peace. He knew that though there would be pain, His sacrifice would take Him back to the Father as well as open the door for us to be with Him to praise and love Him for eternity.
And just as I was preparing for this topic, I found this verse again...
Psalms 119:163-165 (NIV) states: I hate and abhor falsehood but I love Your law. Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws. Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.
Nothing they do to me can make me stumble as long as I keep my eyes on Him and follow HIS law.
So, what about you? What has the Lord laid on your heart about peace?