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Fruit of the Spirit: Peace

Fruit of the Spirit: Peace

By Pastor Ben Hill (reproduced with permission)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

I know it is painfully cliché, but what is the beauty pageant contestant’s answer to the question: “What do you wish for most?” Inevitably, she says, “World peace!”

“Peace” is defined in the dictionary as:
1. freedom from disturbance; a state of quiet and tranquility.
2. freedom from or the cessation of war or violence.
3. harmony in personal relations

While those are fine definitions for “peace,” is that what the Bible means that we are to have as a “fruit of the Spirit?” While it is clear that God desires for the Believer to know peace in this life, rarely is this life characterized by “a state of quiet and tranquility!” What is the Holy Spirit revealing to us about the “fruit of peace” that He desires to produce in us?

The Greek word used in the text is: ‘eirēnē’. It comes from the root word, ‘eiro’ which means “to join”. The idea is to “bring together” or to “tie together as a whole.” Therefore, as a child of God, it is possible for my life, even in the midst of the chaos of this world, to be settled, to be at one with Him and to NOT be coming apart or melting down. The key is at one with Him…God. Once again, we see that for someone to truly be at or to have peace, they must have peace with God, they must belong to Him!

Think of it this way: There has been much in the news the past year about hurricanes. The devastation and destruction, the utter chaos and horror that they bring. Well, I am reminded of a story about my daddy. While serving as a missionary in Bermuda, the island was directly in the path of a hurricane. The winds raged, the rain beat down. But then as the eye of the storm passed over, there was calm. Dad went outside to fix a broken shutter on the church building (much to mom’s chagrin, I assure you) taking advantage of the few minutes of a lull before the effects of the storm resumed with a vengeance as the eye wall of the other side of the storm came roaring in. The Spirit fruit of peace is like the eye of the hurricane: though the winds, rain and destruction of this life rage all around, if we walk with the Lord, fully leaning on and trusting Him even in the middle of turmoil, like walking with Him in the eye of the storm…there will be peace. Remember, Paul was in prison as he was inspired to write these words: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.” John 14:27

Take the time to stop…breathe…look to the Captain of your soul…and experience the sweet fruit of His peace!

Fruit of the Spirit: Joy

Fruit of the Spirit: Joy

By Pastor Ben Hill (reproduced with permission)

Galatians 5:22 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness”

The word “Joy” in the Bible is a unique and special word, in that it transcends mere happiness or pleasure, ignores temporary circumstances, and stays anchored to the solid reality of The Divine Joy giver! Again, as we look at the “fruit of the Spirit” we must understand that these life ‘fruits’ only come as a direct result of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

“Joy” in Galatians 5:22 is the Greek word ‘chara’ and it is derived from both the words ‘charis’ meaning “grace” or “gift” as well as the word ‘charos’ which means “rejoice” or “to express joy”. So, what that means is that Biblical “joy” is defined as the “natural response to a grace gift!”

Put simply, it means that there can never be true “joy” without the presence of Grace. And the only source of pure, untainted, and complete “grace” is The One and Only True and Living God! That is why in modern society and culture there is a desperate need to redefine the word “joy” and ascribe to it a false and shallow definition; because to acknowledge the true definition of joy is to acknowledge the need for Saving Grace, and therefore a Savior. Salvation is a “joyful” experience precisely because it is a “grace gift.” The arrival of Messiah was obviously a “joy gift” occasion. (“And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.” Luke 1:14) As was His resurrection, His ascension, and will be His return!!

The world teaches a false joy that comes from possessions, prestige, power, popularity, or even a perceived great purpose. BUT joy comes ONLY from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (John 15:11). Try this exercise today: rather than focus on the circumstance of life (whether deemed good or bad), focus on the many evidences of the Grace of God in your life. Ask Him to fill you with recognition of Him and Who He is in your life. When we do that, I believe we will truly have, enjoy and minister through the fruit of the Spirit – JOY.