Fruit of the Spirit

(part 4)

 

Greetings precious people. In todayís article I would like for us to continue to look at the subject of the Fruit of the Spirit as revealed in Godís Word, the Bible. In Galatians 5:22-23, we read, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." This fruit of the Spirit is in contrast with the fruit of the flesh which is found in the preceding verses of Galatians 5:19-21, "Now the works (fruits) of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."

Last time we looked at the fruit of Joy. Now letís look at the next fruit mentioned Peace. Peace is defined as quietness, rest, to be set at one again. This Peace that the Bible speaks of is not like that which the world defines and seeks after. The peace that the world desires is the absence of war, the cessation of conflict. The desire for this kind of peace is good, but most people of the world do not realize that it is unattainable apart from the heart of man being changed by the Spirit of God. All the wars, unrest, and fightingís that we are witnessing today originate within the heart of man. Look at what the Bible says concerning this. In James 4:1-4, "Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."

As we look at the problems in the world today and in all times past, it can be traced back to the heart of man. The heart of every problem is the problem with every heart. When the Bible speaks of the heart of man it is not referring to the organ that pumps the blood through our veins and arteries. Rather it is referring to the nature of man, carnal nature, and his will, that part which makes up the real you. The heart of man is corrupted by sin, we all have a sinful nature that is in rebellion toward God and puts us at odds with Him.

This stubborn, rebellious nature is seen throughout the Bible and time. In Romans 8:6-8, "For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God." It is not until and individual humbles himself or herself before God, repents of sin, and receives Jesus Christ as ones Lord and Savior that one can have Peace with God. This is clearly depicted for us in Romans 5:1-2, "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

Ephesians 2:13-18, "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father."

Once the sin issue has been addressed in a personís life, the Spirit of God comes into a personís life and begins to do a number of things, one of which is to begin to bring the Peace of God into their life. This Peace of God is that Peace which Jesus often spoke of with His disciples. John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

John 16:33, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

From the context of the passages it is obvious that this peace that Jesus speaks is not the peace that the world proposes. For Jesus has told His disciples such things as "If the world has hated me and sought to kill me, it will do the same to you." And, "In this world you are going to have trouble and tribulation." So this Peace that Jesus promises to His children is not the absence of trial and difficulty, rather Peace in the midst of them.

It is the great blessing of being able to be at rest, peace and quiet in the midst of a raging storm. This is illustrated for us in the life of Jesus. Look at the following account. In Mark 4:35-41, "On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side." Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?" And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!"

At Jesusí Word, His disciples obeyed. And yet it appeared to them that they were about to lose their lives. We make the mistake of thinking that, if I am doing the Lordís will then everything should go smoothly. Jesus never promised any such thing. In fact, He promised just the opposite. What He does promise is that like Jesus, we too can have Peace and be at rest in the midst of any raging storm that may come into our lives.

Do you know the Peace of God that surpasses all human understanding? Do you have Peace with God? You can only have the Peace of God after you have Peace with God. Once the sin issue has been taken care of, God offers His peace to you. Listen to what God says in 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."

Precious people, God so wants His children to experience and be living in His Peace. He does not want us running around like a chicken with our head cut off. God is not honored when His children are anxious and full of worry. Jesus has promised to be with us always, to never leave us nor forsake us. Jesus is the Prince of Peace who gives us Peace. It is a matter of trusting Him, keeping our heart and mind set on Him, His Word, His Promises, His faithfulness. One final verse I would like for you to read. Isaiah 26:3-4, "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever."

If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail ccalpine@juno.com

Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine