the fruit of the Spirit is peace

1        PEACE DEFINED IN SCRIPTURE

The word peace in the Old Testament is shalom. Shalom is a sense of wholeness and well-being. Shalom is not the outcome of human endeavour; it is a blessing from God. It is a fruit of the Spirit. Psalm 29:11 says, “The Lord will bless his people with peace.” This peace does not come cheaply. It came through the sacrifice of Jesus. Isaiah 53:5 says, “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him.”

Peace is more than the absence of war. Peace is more than a peaceful afternoon at home. Peace is more than a weekend without the kids. Isaiah 26:3 says, “God will keep them in perfect peace, whose mind is fixed on him, because they trust in him.” This peace comes to us in Jesus. Romans 5:1 says, “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is peace with God in the settled court of heaven. When we have this peace, we can then experience the peace of God in the unsettled arena of human life.

Applying this, Philippians 4:6–7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And then the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.” Our response to a restless spirit is not to put on a brave face. It is not to grin and bear it. Our response to a restless spirit is to talk to God. When we do this, the peace of God will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. This peace prevails when the pressure is on at work or at home. This peace prevails when our support system lets us down—even those closest to us! This peace prevails because it is not dependent on circumstances—it is a gift from God. It is a fruit of the Spirit. It is an inner sense of well-being (the peace of God) that comes as we reflect on the peace with God that we have in Jesus. Having defined peace, we will now see…

2        PEACE DISPLAYED IN JESUS

In a Messianic prophecy, Isaiah 9:6 said Jesus would be called, “Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. As Prince of Peace, Jesus creates peace, he brings peace, and he maintains peace.

Ephesians 2:14-17 says, “Jesus is our peace. He has broken down the division between Jew and Gentile by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. He came and preached peace to those who were far away.” He then sent his Spirit so that we can experience his peace today. This comes as we read about him, as we listen to him, and as we talk to him. The more we spend time with him, the more we get to know him, appreciate him, and experience his peace.

To experience this peace, we need to accept God’s forgiveness, we need to live in the light of God’s forgiveness, and we need to walk confidently in God’s forgiveness. Today, we rush around so much that there is little time to experience God’s peace. Hebrews 4:3 says we should stop. We should stop to listen to God and to enter his rest. We should then experience God’s peace as we are led by the Spirit, as we walk in the Spirit, as we keep in step with the Spirit, and as we sow into the Spirit. This is…

3        PEACE DEPLOYED IN US

We are told that somewhere in the world, there is a war going on—even if it is in someone’s living room! Into this situation, we bring the fruit of the spirit called peace.

In Jesus, we are not peace-breakers. In Jesus, we are not just peace-keepers. In Jesus, we are peace-makers. As peacemakers, we deploy God’s peace at home, at work, and in our community. James 3:17-18 says, “The wisdom that comes from above is pure, peace-loving, full of mercy and good fruit. Peacemakers who sow in peace produce a harvest of righteousness.” This is why Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers; they will be called children of God (Matthew 5:9).” We are peacemakers when we deploy the fruit of the gospel today.

Galatians 5:19-22 says the works of the flesh are hatred, discord, fits of rage, dissensions, and factions, but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, and peace. This is why Colossians 3:15 says the peace of Christ should rule in our hearts, since as members of one body we were called to peace. To this end, 1 Thessalonians 5:23 says, “May the God of peace sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” When this happens, the Prince of Peace is with us and the Prince of Peace goes with us.