Messages from Young Adults

Lesson 4: The Fruit of the Spirit is Peace

Let’s start with the irony.

We have to fight for peace. Eleanor Roosevelt put it well when she said,

“It isn’t enough to talk about peace; one must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it; one must work at it.”

To deny the peace of Christ is to fall into a spirit of passiveness that allows bickering, backbiting, angst, and general malaise to enter our lives and relationships. We all seek peace as though it’s an elusive creature. Could it be, however, that it’s something that can only be grown and cultivated through the working of the Holy Spirit?

Christ, as He was preparing His disciples for His impending departure, could sense their stress and discomfort. Through all the symbols and parables, He had tried to make clear what was soon to happen to Him, and subsequently, to them. Their hearts were heavy, He knew, and so He sought to cheer them up with a glimpse into the eventual future.

“Let not your heart be troubled…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.” John 14:1, 27

Think about the world we live in today. It’s vastly different from the one in which the disciples were living. They had to face persecution from the Jews and Romans, but we have wars and catastrophe every where we turn. As the world becomes more and more ravaged by sin and its effects, we could easily (and justifiably) panic. Look around you – people are trying to find peace, serenity, or “one-ness” in so many places. Relationships, wilderness retreats, yoga classes, zen spas… Relaxation is one thing, but true peace, peace that won’t shatter when the bombs fall or when all those that are familiar turn their backs on you, comes only from God. This is why we can’t just sit around and wait for peace to cover us in the time of need. There are so many things out there that are vying for our peace of mind. As Christians, we must rely on the Holy Spirit to develop this fruit in our lives so that we won’t allow our circumstances to dictate our peace.  Christ has offered to help us by taking our load, but we must put on His yoke and follow His leading. (Matt. 11:28-29) When we surrender our lives to Him and we are confident of our justification through faith, we are reconciled to God. We are at peace with Him by virtue of Jesus’ sacrifice. (Rom. 5:1)

What does a life that reflects peace look like? I saw it last week on the cover of the New York Times online. As part of its coverage of the disaster in Haiti, it flashed photos of the people and the wreckage in an updating slideshow. I flipped through the photos, increasingly horrified as the sequence advanced. Finally, I landed on a photo of an old man walking past a blue-green wall. He was carrying several long loaves of bread. There was no rubble in the frame and for all intents and purposes, it looked like a normal day in an island nation. The caption simply read that a man walked on the road in Port-au-Prince carrying bread. All of a sudden, it hit me – the man was my great uncle, or someone who looked uncannily like him. His profile, his short white hair, his long fingers… In awe, I realized that I was looking at peace personified. I know my uncle is a man of great faith, and I just imagined that the photographer had captured him as he walked from a market, having bought all the loaves they had left. He probably was on his way to bring much needed food to his family or some grieving church members. Or maybe, I thought, he was just going to break up the bread and hand it out to children, or anyone else, he passed on the street. His features were calm and quiet, fiercely confident yet composed amidst the chaos. He knew that despite the upheaval his city was experiencing, his God was watching out for him and was enabling him to be an angel to others.

Comments

  • Suranjeen said:

    Peace

    The ultimate search for the eastern philosopher was peace.
    I am sure that atleast one of the three wise men was looking for a way to attain peace.
    No wonder they called Jesus the Prince of Peace

    Paul looked at Faith, Love and Hope and called Love the greatest. Love is to reach out to people, but peace is to be reconciled with yourself so that you can value others. Unless you are at peace with yourself genuine love to others cannot overflow. Isn’t that true. If I have not reconciled the fact that the islamic world is my brother, how will i be at peace with them and how will i proceed to love them.

    When we think Love we visualise the heart – the life support of our body, love makes your heart tick they say, it is actually the anxiety of love that makes your heart go pitter patter.
    When we think Joy we visualise the face, our expressions never betray us.
    When we think of Peace we visalise the mind- calm and serene. Like the Zen master who has nothing to loose because he is equipped internally.

    Chaos rules the day. Chaos rules the universe. Where is Peace. How does one attain it?
    Peace in our every day lives is lost to anxiety. Is lost to mistrust with our neighbours, is lost to not understanding our purpose in this world.

    The eastern philosopher searched for ways to control his mind, he invented meditation, he underwent suffering, he gave up wealth, and gave up all wordly things including clothes (Jains) to be a master of his own mind. He knew if he wanted, he would get. He knew that all powers lied within himself and all he had to do was search for it, untangle it, suffer for it and it will then just pop out, giving him a halo, making him a sadhu, saint, zen master. A man who conquered the world by conquering himself. No ego would hurt him, because he is himself, No task would be difficult, because it is the fear of the task that makes it difficult. He would have no enemies because he was himself and would not dare anybody else. Om Shanti Om (Shanti-Peace, OM is the soothing sound that brings us peace, the word first uttered by God)

    This idea of peace is still popular in our pop literature, the book stores on our railway staions and airports abound with them. They call them self help books. This my friends was the biggest deception track the devil led the people.

    Shalom – is another word for peace. It has the same root as Shanti.

    Shalom- The Lord is the author of peace. We cannot find it in ourselves
    Peace, I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 
    (John 14:27)
    The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.  
    –Psalm 29:11

    1.Peace flowed from through us and through us to the rest of the world.

    Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

    Peace comes out of following the Law. The law is and was the antidote to Chaos. The Law ensured peace.

    Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
    –Psalm 119:165
     Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. 
    –Isaiah 26:3
     Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:  
    –Romans 5:1

    Just as the Shepherd leads the Sheep to the still waters, Jesus would lead us down the paths of peace. A place where anxieties are put to rest, where they sleep for ever. The peace Paul enjoyed after changing from Saul is conversion. The peace in him which allowed him to stand before crowds and kings was unnerving. The kings said there is something about this man. He was at peace, he was at ease.

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