Fruit of the Spirit: Peace (The Fruit Series 22)

jn1427A great benefit of singing certain songs is that there is within them fundamental truths that can resonate in a way that reading them may not impact.

There’s a line in one song that in particular is appropriate for the reflection on peace. That lyric simply states: the world didn’t give it, the world can’t take it away. The truth in that is massive as we contemplate that when it comes to the peace of God.

Jesus makes it quite clear that this aspect of the fruit of the Spirit is something that the world has its own copy of. But it is that – just a copy. Not a quality one either. On initial glance it might appear desirable, but over time it becomes more than apparent that it is at best a sticking plaster that seeks to heal and broken heart. Good though sticking plasters are for small scratches and minor cuts, their track record on a shattered heart does not endear itself as the right thing that’s needed for the problem.

It is certainly fitting that when Jesus was having His final dialogue with His disciples before heading to the Christ He instructed them to love each other as He loved them and in doing so He would give them His joy so that theirs would be complete and He gave them His peace. That hattrick of heavenly helps is invaluable to those who follow Jesus. Love as a propelling active force, joy as a beaming benevolent force and peace.

Peace as the ultimate stabiliser, peace as the ultimate grounding and basis of solidity. This peace that Jesus leaves to His disciples is the ultimate expression of the shalom that had been the premise of the people of Israel since their inception as a hark back to the sort of whole arrangement perceived in Eden. Here is a state of being in which everything was in its rightful place, functioning as it should, harmonising with everything around it, contributing to a wholeness of life that is invigorating, fruitful, fulfilling, refreshing with no sign of dissension or deterioration, disease or death. This peace can be guaranteed by Jesus because He was in on the act in the beginning – He is the author of such peace. His very presence meant that death, sickness, loneliness and despair had to replaced with life, health, family and joy.

The peace Jesus offers is not just to relieve the troubled mind, it is centre that mind back on the reality of His mandate in the first place. That mandate was a redemptive one for humanity and all of creation. Looking at life in this perspective makes a radical difference to how we are within and what we exude without.

This is a great tonic for a broken heart, it’s an even greater balm for a broken humanity. This is nothing that the world can give you – it’s just not within their scope and capacity, it is beyond the world. Neither is this something that the world can take away, they don’t have the power to extract it. If anything, those who have this peace can choose to give it up, can choose to revert to anxiety-ridden, fearful, suspicious, distrustful and a worryingly unsettled state. That’s the trap that is set when troubling circumstances arise. It is not for the world to take it away, it is for us to give it up.

Thank God, however, that the same source that gives us this peace supports us in retaining this peace and invites us to keep our focus on Him who is the Prince of Peace. Dwelling on the reality of this truth can make all the difference as we face the various challenges and distractions of the day.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

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