by Kevin Burton
Faith is not a force in and of itself, nor is it even a virtue until it is aligned with the perfect object of faith.
Faith is complete trust, but complete trustworthiness in the object of faith is the key to arriving at peace.
We’re in a series from Galatians on the fruit of the Spirit, those characteristics that are the evidence of a life surrendered to Christ.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” Gal 5:22-23 NASB.
This week we’re looking at peace. God’s peace is far more than a momentary break from chaos.
“The Spirit-filled Christian has a peace that is abundant, available in every situation, and unlike anything that the world has to offer,” reads a passage on www.gotquestions.org, citing John 14:27, “Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful.”
The best the world has to offer is poise, which is defined by Merriam-Webster as “A stably balanced state: equilibrium.”
The first time I heard of the word poise, it was used to describe Oakland Raiders quarterback Kenny Stabler. It meant he was steady and reliable under pressure.
But that kind of poise never gets to peace because it’s not grounded in anything solid even in the moment, let alone in an eternal sense.
Peace from God, like the joy that we talked about last week, endures even through troubling times.
“God’s peace is available. We do not go to the Bible to escape the realities of life but to be strengthened to face life and serve God effectively,” wrote the late theologian Dr. Warren Wiersbe.
“We may not be able to delight in what is going on in the world, but we can delight in what God says in His Word. The Word equips us to deal with the changes of life and the crises that come,” Wiersbe wrote. “Philosophies change, political expedients fail, promises and contracts are broken, but the Word of God still stands.”
“The alternative to being filled with the Spirit and His peace is to be filled with alarm, filled with doubt, filled with foreboding, or filled with dread,” reads the passage from gotquestion.org. “How much better to let the Spirit have control and perform His work of growing fruit to the glory of God!”
Ever hear newscasters talking about the Middle East “peace process?” Even as a child I knew that mess was obviously a war process.
The real peace process is in the life of a believer, growing closer to God, learning to surrender his own will, looking to God, trusting Him.
“We are to submit our wills to God’s leading and our actions to God’s Word, but the actual results are up to Him. Only God can create peace through the work of the Holy Spirit. Especially the peace mentioned in Galatians 5—the peace of a harmonious relationship with God,” reads the passage on the gotquestions website.
“We are born at war. At birth, our sinful nature has already declared war on God and His truth. Our heart’s desire is to be separated from Him, and if we persist in this desire until death, He will give us what we want,” the passage reads.
“But God’s methods of warfare are not what we expected. Instead of a battle, He sent us the Prince of Peace. Jesus’ goal in coming to earth was more than simply to cease hostilities; He came to bring about a full and abiding relationship of restoration and love. The cost of this peace was His life,” the passage reads.
“None of us can accept Jesus’ offer of peace through our own will and power. Our natural selves do not want it. Only God can lead us to want peace with Him; the Holy Spirit leads us to want Jesus and His message. Once the Spirit draws us, we believe in Jesus, and the peace comes.’
“However, the fruit of the Spirit includes a peace that goes beyond that of salvation. It is a sweet relationship. We are called to His presence (Eph. 2:11-18) and called to be confident in that presence (Heb. 4:16) because we are His friends (John 15:15). As Isaiah 26:3 says, “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.”
“God’s peace transcends earthly matters, as Philippians 4:4-7 illustrates. Believers are to be “anxious for nothing,” for God promises to “guard your hearts and minds.” It is a peace “which transcends all understanding”; that is, to the worldly mind, such peace is incomprehensible. Its source is the Holy Spirit of God, whom the world neither sees nor knows (John 14:17).”