Total Pageviews

Friday, 9 October 2015

Fruit of the Spirit: Peace

Peace, something so much of our world isn't experiencing right now. Peace is so much more than just the absence of conflict, though for many in places like Syria, that would be a wonderful beginning, peace is often about what's going on, or not going on inside us. I believe that much of the violence and war in our world is due to a lack of peace within those who embrace or engage in violence in order to gain what they hope will bring them peace inside.
I am often surprised at how many followers of Jesus lack inner peace and struggle with so many things inside and the ways it comes out in addictions, bitterness, anger, despair and lack of self love. I have found that many of those who cannot find peace find it difficult to trust God completely, find it hard to forgive others or themselves because they feel God is not fair and hasn't punished those who've hurt them sufficiently. Many struggle with worry about what lies ahead, others with selfishness because they want life to go their way instead of trusting in God when things don't turn out the way they want. I will confess that many of my times of inner struggle and unrest come when my trust in God's wisdom and work in my life becomes weak because they're not going the way I've wanted and planned for.
Some allow anger at others or at life in general to simmer inside because it gives them a feeling of righteousness, while others nurture bitterness as a way of affirming the injustice in life and are unable to forgive because they find it hard to confess their own sin and experience God's forgiveness. When stuff like this sits inside your heart, it poisons your spirit and soul, making it hard to seek peace or pursue because ultimately you've decided that God and Jesus is not enough for you and so you cannot find peace.
In Isaiah, there's a reference to a coming Prince of Peace whom we believe is Jesus Christ. I read a quote that says, "Peace does not come without sacrifice" and it struck me how true that is. Much of our lack of peace comes from our dysfunctional relationship with God that comes out in our lack of trust and refusal to allow Jesus to really shape our lives through his teaching, life and his sacrifice so that we might have peace with God. It took Jesus' sacrifice on the cross for our sin to bring that peace with God and bring about the events that culminated with the gift of the Holy Spirit.
I've come to realize that at some point you need to choose to trust God, to trust that the Prince of Peace can and will give you his peace. You have to become so tired of your own stuff and come to a realization that by not submitting yourself completely to God you have only hurt yourself, prevented yourself from experiencing God's peace and have likely negatively impacted the peace of others too. The reality is that you live in community with others and who you are impacts others. Yet Jesus continues to offer you his peace; peace with God, peace within your own soul, peace with others as Jesus' peace soaks deep into your heart, soul and mind. God is faithful and wants nothing more than to have you experience his love, joy and peace.