Monday, September 7, 2015

My Peace I Give Unto You…. (Revisit)

That’s Saturna Island, British Columbia, Canada, taken by Hamel Tailor. Taken with his Blackberry.  The scene looks so very peaceful.  It made me think about how peaceful our lives can be when we’re one with God.  Even in the midst of turmoil.  What the Word says about peace is worth considering.

Colossians 1:2 (KJV)  To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

That greeting to the Colossians is repeated in almost all the epistles, to all those the letters are written to.  Several include mercy in the greeting.  And I wondered why mercy was mentioned so few times.  Here’s what I concluded.  There’s an old saying that God delivers us in our circumstances, not necessarily out of them.  Mercy would take us out of our circumstances, grace gives us the peace to wade through them.  So, Paul and other New Testament writers mention grace and peace most often, knowing we need them more often than mercy would be necessary.  We don’t quit our circumstances, but we can always use grace and peace.  And where do we get it?

Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV)  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Those verses say that peace is one of the fruits of the Spirit.  When we go back to the original language, the word for Spirit means “breath”.  So, peace is one of the results of the production (fruit) of our allowing God to breathe His life into our life.  No huge effort on our part, just let God do it and we receive the benefits.  Which, again, makes it grace.  But there’s more. 

I don’t recall ever seeing a doctrinal statement that it’s true, but my own experience has been that, as we experience the fruits of the Spirit, they enhance the others.  So, as our love grows, so does our joy, which increases our peace, etc.  There’s no particular order.  But each of the fruits seems to positively affect the others.  Like so many other things in the kingdom of God, if we let His blessings take over our lives, we get more.

Matthew 6:33 (KJV)  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Romans 14:17 (KJV)  For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Live God’s way, and peace is an automatic benefit.  When we aim our spiritual compass in the right direction, peace is one of the benefits we gain.  Not the only benefit, but part of the package.  And it’s a promised package for God’s people.

John 14:27 (KJV)  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.

This is the place where it gets really good.  This passage, starting several verses earlier, occurs when Jesus is getting ready to go to the cross.  Before this, Jesus had not only been a mentor, teacher, and guide, but His presence was also a spiritual protective covering.  That would directly end with the crucifixion.  So, Jesus was calming His followers (including us in the future) by letting the disciples know that His presence would be replaced by the Holy Spirit.  God’s life breathed into our life.  And the Spirit was specifically referred to as the Comforter.  The Spirit comforts and brings God’s peace.

We’ve all heard the phrase that someone “has the grace” for a particular situation.  And that’s exactly it.  Remember, we mentioned toward the beginning of this thought that God delivers us in our circumstances.  God gives us what we need.  If I’m not in the midst of combat, the grace and peace to deal with that would be wasted on me.  God doesn’t waste anything.  But He does have a specific plan and set of situations for my life.  For those, He has an abundance of grace and peace, so that I can get through them with ease.  And there’s always more for future circumstances.  God never runs out of grace and peace.

Think about being in the surroundings of that scene that illustrates this post.  We feel calm, relaxed, peaceful, meditative.  That feeling is available from God.  No matter what the circumstances.  If that’s something you’d like to experience, it just takes having a personal relationship with Him.  Ask Him into your life.  Allow Him to be an active part of your life. That’s it.  Of course, like anything else important, there are things you’ll need to learn.  So, the immediate next steps are to get a Bible and find a good church where you can learn and experience life in Christ with other believers.  That’s when you also get to experience that “the joy is in the journey”.  Because, till we leave this earth, we’re just getting closer to the final destination.  We haven’t yet reached it.

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