“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…” Galatians 5:22a
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25
Peace is something we all strive for in our lives. The slogan from the 60s of “give peace a chance” was sung, put on posters, and became graffiti art on walls in downtown areas. When we think of peace, what are we really looking for? In the world’s view, it would be no wars. At the end of a long day at work, it would be alone time with perfect quiet. As a young mom, it may be the crying to stop from a child’s bedroom. We think of a lot of different things when it comes to peace. Because we desire it, we can easily fall for a false peace in our lives.
What is false peace?
- If we feel superior because of our knowledge of God, then we become dependent on our own knowledge. This does not bring about peace with God or the peace of God. This is arrogant.
- If we reject God’s Word and embrace our own standard and understanding, it brings about a false peace. This is arrogant.
- We treat sin as trivial by making excuses for sin, whether it be our own or someone else’s. Sin always brings about separation from God. To trivialize sin is to live in a false peace with God. This is arrogant.
- If we allow our hearts to be hardened concerning our sin, then we will feel no shame or guilt for it. No shame for sin can bring about a false peace. This false peace is pride. This is arrogant.
There is a connection here between false peace and arrogance. We can deceive ourselves into believing that we are at peace out of our own pride and arrogance.
We need to know the God of peace.
“For he himself is our peace…” Ephesians 2:14a
Jesus is our peace; therefore, without him, we can have no peace. The peace we seek to bring about ourselves is not real peace. We can’t produce the peace we need in our lives. We can seek it however. We do this by bringing God into the circumstances of our lives rather than trying to do it all in our own will.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
The peace of God has to do with our inner being. It’s a tranquility that results in a close walk with Jesus. This peace of God is beyond man’s understanding. We don’t get it because, once again, we can’t produce it ourselves. We can sit in a quiet closet for hours and not have peace. Our reach needs to go beyond ourselves to the Word of God, prayer, and counsel from a wise believer. This is how we experience God’s peace in our circumstances and decisions. The peace of God is a guard that protects our emotions and our thoughts.
“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9
We are called to practice the Word of God by walking in the Spirit. This is practicing practical ways of living out the Word. We don’t have a God-life and a Me-life. It is all a God-life which means that everything we do or say is a reflection of our Savior. When we practice walking in truth, we enjoy the peace of God. Even as we practice our faith, God is giving us the ability to do it. He wants us to enjoy peace with him and gives us the strength to practice.
We need to offer peace to others.
“…Be at peace among yourselves.” 1 Thessalonians 5:13b
As followers of Christ we are to live at peace. We are NOT to be divisive or combative. Our heart’s desire should be to put others before ourselves. The tendency we have to want our own way goes against peace. Selfishness usually results in broken relationships. We have to remember who we are in Christ at all times in order to live at peace.
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceable with all.” Romans 12:18
There will be times in relationships where someone doesn’t want to live at peace. They may insist on their way, be unforgiving, or desirous of vengeance. The two words in this verse, “if possible” tell us that there are times when peace in a relationship is not going to happen. However, we can have peace with God by doing what we know to do is right in the relationship. Sometimes we need to trust God to take care of the other person’s heart, always remembering to guard our own heart from bitterness.
Let’s keep in step with the Spirit by not settling for a false peace, which is contrary to the real peace of God. Our hearts need to be checked often for this. May we seek to enjoy God’s peace as we yield to his leading.