Christian Character Development

The Fruit of Peace

In this world of anxiety and stress one of our most valuable assets as Christians to have GOD'S PEACE. In fact you can have everything, but if you don't have peace in your heart and mind you can't enjoy it.

God's will for you is PEACE: 'Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you REST. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find REST for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light' (Matt 11:28-30).

(1) The first essential thing is to have PEACE WITH GOD:
'Having been justified by faith, you have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ' (Rom 5:1). Before salvation you were God's enemy, but when you submitted to Jesus as Lord, He forgave and justified you and now you are in a state (a relationship) OF PEACE WITH GOD. You are now His child.

(2) As well as PEACE WITH GOD, God gives us the PEACE OF GOD. That's what we all want, but we can't have it until we first have peace with God.

Peace is a fruit of the spirit, that grows and develops as we let the Holy Spirit control us: 'The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, PEACE...' (Galatians 5:22). It is a dynamic spiritual force, one aspect of the Christ-life that was planted in our spirit in the new-birth.

Peace is meant to issue forth out of our inner being: 'Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life' (Prov 4: 23).

It is up to us to let that peace flow forth and cover our hearts, minds and surroundings. Jesus says to his disciples that wherever we go, we are to: 'let your peace rest on that house' (Matt 10:13, Luke 10:5). This shows that the peace (Shalom) of God is the believer's possession and that he is able to bring it forth. God's presence (peace) is to be so manifest that it affects the atmosphere around us.

Just before He died Jesus told us what He would leave us in His will:
'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 (by letting His peace rule)' (John 14:27).

Jesus said, that it is up to us to let God's peace dominate: 'Use my peace to protect your heart and mind from fear and anxiety.'
'Let the Peace of God rule in your hearts' (Colossians 3:15).

The PEACE of God protected His soul in all the attacks He faced and now He gives it to us, paid for by His Blood (Isaiah 53:5). It is not the world's idea of peace (absence of outward pressure) but something strong that protects your heart, even in the face of trouble. It is 'the PEACE OF GOD that passes understanding', for with God's peace dominating, you are at rest while your reason might say - 'I should be afraid'!.

He went on to say: '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' (John 16:33).
We can have peace in the midst of trouble - this shows it is a force of the spirit. By His peace we overcome the pressures of the world. In His peace is victory. Jesus has already overcome every problem through the Peace of God and now He gives us His Peace, which is strong enough to overcome anything we may face, as it protects our hearts and minds.

HOW CAN I CULTIVATE THE PEACE OF GOD IN MY LIFE?

1. MEDITATE ON THE WORD OF GOD:
The Peace of God does not grow in us or flow through us automatically.
We have to lay hold of God's Peace on purpose: 'Seek peace and pursue it' (Psalm34:14).

Jesus gave us the key: 'These things I have spoken to you that you may have PEACE' (John 16:33).
The Peace of God operates by FAITH - therefore we need God's Word to produce faith in our heart so that we hook up with this Peace and draw upon it.

Psalm 85:8: 'I will hear what God the LORD will speak, for He will speak PEACE to His people and to His saints.'

Isaiah 48:18: 'Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your PEACE would have been like a river.'

God wants a river of peace flowing through us (John 7:37-39).

Psa 119:165: 'Great PEACE have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.'

Here are some more PEACE promises to meditate upon, so that your faith in God's Peace grows and so you can let it dominate in your life. Let them soak in:

'You will keep him in PERFECT PEACE, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You' (Isa 26:3).

'The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with PEACE' (Psalm 29:11).

'I will both lie down in PEACE, and sleep; for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in SAFETY' (Psalm 4:8).

2. CAST your cares on the Lord with PRAYER and THANKSGIVING.
'Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that in due time, He may exalt you. Casting the whole of your care - all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all - on Him; for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully' (AMP -1 Peter 5:6,7).

A great secret of life is: 'Cast (roll) your burden on the LORD and He will sustain you' (Psalm 55:22). Don't try and carry it yourself.

In facing needs and problems we have a choice of worrying or praying:
'Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything by prayer and petition (definite requests) with thanksgiving make your requests known to God' (Phil.4:6). When we pray, we give thanks that He has heard our request and is working on the answer. This eliminates any need to worry. Only when prayer turns into thanksgiving have you truly given it to the Lord.

PEACE is always the result of a completed transaction. When Jesus declared: 'IT IS FINISHED', peace was released to us. Likewise when we have completed our prayer with the giving of THANKS: '(then) THE PEACE OF GOD, which surpasses all understanding, will guard (mount a military garrison) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus' (Phil.4:7). When you give a problem to God, the first thing He will do is release peace into your heart, because you are trusting Him. (But for any prayer to work, you must forgive - Mark 11:25).

This Peace functions as a protective force over your heart and mind, holding you firm, keeping you from mental torment and from being bent out of shape. The problem may continue but your heart and mind are protected from it.

To stay in peace don't meditate on the problem but on the Word of God,
on Jesus - the Prince of Peace and on the good things in your life and what God is doing: 'Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy- meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do (Paul says to follow his example of how to handle trouble from when he was first in Philippi - see Acts 16) and the God of PEACE will be with you' (Philippians 4:8). Peace is the nature of God - He is called Jehovah SHALOM and He is the Source of all true Peace, but this Peace will only be manifest with you if you put the Word first.

3. DEVELOP A LIFESTYLE OF PRAISE and THANKSGIVING.
'I create the fruit of the lips: PEACE, PEACE to him who is far off and to him who is near, says the LORD, and I will heal him' (Isaiah 57:19). What is the fruit of our lips through which God brings PEACE and HEALING? 'By Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name' (Heb 13:15).

As we thank and praise God our MIND is off the problem and on the Lord and this allows His Peace to flood into your soul. The angels revealed the principle in Luke 2:14: 'Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace to men'. When we give the glory to God in the highest, we will experience peace on earth, in our hearts, minds and relationships.

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