But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)
There are three important facts about God’s peace.
Peace Is A Gift We Are Given.
People try to find peace in a lot of different ways. Some seek to find peace through escapism. Some seek to escape this world and its problems through drugs, sex, or alcohol. Others seek to escape the problems of this world through books, television or movies. Others seek to escape the problems of this world by simply not facing up to the reality around them. Of course this ultimately fails because at some point you always have to come back to the real world.
No matter how people seek to find peace in the world if they leave God out of the equation their peace will always fail. There is nothing that is of this world that can give a real and lasting peace. This kind of peace only comes from God and the Bible tells us He gives it to us as a gift (see Romans 15:33, Romans 15:13, Psalm 29:11).
Jesus Is Our Source Of Peace.
The world seeks to offer us a lot of different sources for peace. Things like a stable economy, a good job, a big bank account, nice things, politics, peaceful world etc. Many people try and use the sources of peace that the world offers only to find in the end that they are unstable and inconsistent sources of peace. The source of the peace that we can have is very different from this because the source of our peace is Jesus Himself (see John 14:27, Isaiah 9:6).
God’s Peace Is Greater Than Our Circumstances.
There is an idea that serving God and having His peace means we won’t ever have any problems in our lives that is so pervasive in our culture and yet so wrong. We must be grounded in the truth realizing that God’s peace isn’t a life free from trouble. Instead it’s a peace of mind and heart that sustains us through troubles (see John 16:33).
So what can we do to develop joy if we don’t have it?
Surrender Control Of Our Lives.
One of the things we see in Galatians 5:16-25 is the contrast between the life that is controlled by the Holy Spirit and the life that is controlled by the sinful nature. As Christians it is important for us to recognize that we determine which one controls us. What we surrender to is what controls us. If we want the peace the God offers we must intentionally and willingly choose to surrender to the Holy Spirit.
At all times we all the choice of who or what we let control our lives. When we surrender control of our lives to our sinful nature, there is no real peace. On the other hand when we choose to surrender control of our lives to the Holy Spirit peace naturally overflows into our lives. When the Holy Spirit is in control of my life He will produce the peace of God in our lives.
Fix our thoughts on Jesus.
You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength. For He brings down those who dwell on high, The lofty city; He lays it low, He lays it low to the ground, He brings it down to the dust. Isaiah 26:3-5 (NKJV)
Have you ever noticed how that the strife and turmoil in our lives can cause us to take our focus off of Jesus and put it on the troubles? Have you ever noticed that the more you do this the worse the problem gets until it seems as if it will swallow you up? Have you noticed that when you allow this to happen is when you find yourself the most depressed and despair the most over the problem? I have. We can never avoid strife in the world around us, but when we fix our thoughts on Jesus, we can know perfect peace even in turmoil.
As we focus our mind on God and his Word, we become steady and stable. To fix your thoughts on Jesus means to think about Him often. How will that give us peace? When we remember that Jesus is in control, we won’t despair over the turn of world events. When we remember that Jesus is all-powerful, we will know that He can handle any problem we may encounter. When we remember that Jesus all-knowing, we won’t be worried about the future. When we remember that Jesus loves us, we will live confidently, knowing that He wants only what is best for us.
Pray About Our Problems.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)
Faith filled prayer is the path to peace. As I look at Scripture I don’t see any way we can have the peace of God that passes all understanding without spending regular time in prayer. In my Gospel readings this week I’ve been reminded of how much time Jesus spent in prayer. If it was important for Jesus to spend time in prayer then it will be even more important for us to spend time in prayer. This has to be something that we make a priority in our lives.