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The Fruit of Peace

The Fruit of Peace

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Published by glennpease
Here is a topic of universal interest, for everyone longs for peace.
Here is a topic of universal interest, for everyone longs for peace.

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 08, 2009
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08/05/2010

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 THE FRUIT OF PEACEBy Pastor Glenn PeaseI have a good number of books by Norman Vincent Peale, and almost every oneof them has a chapter on peace. The reason is, Peale appeals to the masses and peaceis a topic that has universal interest. Dante, centuries ago said, "I am seeking forthat which every man seeks-Peace." Peace of mind drugs are the most popular, forthat is one way man can generate his own peace. For many, their only hope to copeis dope.Much, if not most, of the social turmoil of our culture is due to a hunger forpeace, which is sought for in all the wrong places. According to Ronald Hutchcraft,the Director of Youth for Christ in New York and New Jersey, in the next thirtyminutes-57 kids will run away from home.29 children will attempt suicide.22 girls under 19 years of age will receive an abortion.14 teenage girls will give birth to an illegitimate baby.685 teens will use some form of narcotic.These tragic statistics reveal that we are a nation in perpetual war. The spiritualbattle between light and darkness is everywhere and one of Satan's greatestweapons is to get people to think they can find peace in tranquilizers. The problemis he has a point. False and fake peace does have an element of reality. Tranquilizerswork because they reduce or eliminate the inner reaction to stressful stimuli. Theydo not change the environment in which you have to live. They change yourresponse to it and this makes a world of difference. If you do not respond to what isnegative and disturbing with panic, fear, or anxiety you can have some measure of peace in spite of these negatives. This is an imitation of what the Holy Spirit does inour lives when we let him produce the fruit of peace in us. He does not change theenvironment and rid it of stress and conflict. The Christian has to live in the samefallen world with everyone else.Ronald Hutchraft in his book on peace, Peaceful Living in a Stressfull World,tells of the testing of his peace as he wrote that book. He wrote,"No sooner had I made a commitment to insist on peace than stressbrought out the heavy artillery.My wife has had three dangerous illnesses in the last nine monthsThe staff for whom I am responsible went through a major upheaval.Our daughter started high school.Our son started junior high school with a badly broken arm.
 
We faced a decisive deadline in the legal tangle due to an accident.Paychecks for our staff were delayed.The kitchen floor and the back stairs fell apart."All these surprises came in right on top of my already relentlessschedule full of speaking, counseling, managing, radio, nonstopmeetings, and daddying. The peace has stood the test. To be sure,my old high-pressure, high-pitched responses still surface, but Iretreat quickly to the new peace I have chased and found. Thistranquility is anything but theoretical or passive. It is the productof a daily insistence that we choose the peace alternative."His testimony is typical of many. The Christian does not escape the externalturmoil of life in a fallen world. But he can escape the internal reaction that robshim of peace. The world's imitations do work for awhile, and they are a temptation.That is why we are told, "Be not drunk with wine but be filled with the Spirit."Wine can help you relax and not feel as full of anxiety, but you have to deal with theafter effects which can be worse than the problem you sought to escape. Peacepurchased in this way is not worth the cost for in the end peace will be lost. Thepeace of God does not come with the risks of negative after effects.What the Bible makes clear is that we can cooperate with the Holy Spirit is thegrowing of this fruit. David says in Psalm 34:14 "seek peace and pursue it." You donot sit on your couch and hope it will fall into your lap. Peace is a matter of activity.You go in search of it. It is like game. You have to go hunt to find it and possess itfor your own. When David wrote this he was being pursued by Saul, and was theno.1 most wanted man in the nation. He was a fugitive running for his life undergreat stress. Yet he says seek peace and pursue it. The Apostle Peter writing toChristians going through tough times remembers these words of David. He quotesthem for Christians under stress in IPet.3:10-11, "Whoever would love life and seegood days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. Hemust turn from evil and do good, he must seek peace and pursue it."Seeking peace and actively pursuing it is one of the major obligations of theChristian life. It is a sin to let the world be in control of your emotional system. TheChristian is to make the pursuit of inner peace one of the major goals of life.Without this fruit of peace the Christian cannot be truly Christlike and obey thelaws of love. In IPet.3:8-9 we read, "Finally, all of you, live in harmony with oneanother; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do notrepay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing...." This passage comes just before his urging them to seek peace and pursue it. Without inner peace theChristian cannot do these things so essential to the true Christian life. The Christianwill respond just like the natural man without the fruit of the Spirit. His peace willkeep them in control so they do not react to evil and insult with the same. Internalpeace is the key to external peace. Where men are filled with war within there willbe war without. Only the fruit of peace can produce peace in a world of war.
 
 Blessed are the peacemakers said Jesus, for they will be called the sons of God.Why? Because they are obviously of a different blood line than mere men who areever war-like. Only God's kids can achieve peace in a war zone like this fallenworld. If you want people to know you are a child of God, one of the mostconspicuous ways of doing so is to be a peacemaker.It is not natural not to want to live in peace with all men. It is unnatural to wantto forgive offenses and not seek revenge. You seem like some sort of a freak if youdon't hate your enemies, but pray for them instead. A peacemaker is not aconformist to what is natural and normal. They are as conspicuous as a probasketball player at a midget festival. They stand out as unique, for they are likethe man found beaten by the Good Samaritan, going to the priest and Levite wholeft him to die, and contributing to their ministry. That is the kind of thing thepeacemaker can do, because he has the fruit of the Spirit-peace. Peace is the abilityto respond to evil with good. This is the peace of God which passes understanding.Let's face reality, there is not a lot of this going around, and the reason is veryfew Christians are surrendered to the Holy Spirit. Most all Christians arequenching the Spirit to some degree. That is why we need to back up the fruit of theSpirit with natural techniques. It is a matter of damage control. When we fell to beSpirit filled we need to have a net of safety to fall into. Christian leaders who falland bring disgrace to the Christian faith do so because they depend to much ontheir Spiritual life alone. They do not develop natural methods for backup. Thenwhen they quench the Spirit and have to depend on their own resources they fall.The whole idea of pursuing peace is to get Christians to realize they have to playan active role in their own success. They have to learn to balance themselves like achild on a bike, so when dad let's go they can continue to move forward and not fall.God sometimes lets go because we grieve the Holy Spirit, and if we have not learnedto go on our own we will fall. This means it is possible to be too spiritual. That is,we can so depend on spirituality that we do not develop any natural gifts, and thenwhen we fell spiritually we are in deep trouble.Paul is the one who tells us of the fruit of the Spirit, but he is also the one whourges us to labor like mad and put forth all the natural effort possible. InRom.14:19 he writes, "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peaceand to mutual edification." Won't the Holy Spirit just do this for us? No more sothan He will grow fruit in your garden if you never plow it, cultivate it, or water it.Fruit is a joint adventure of God and man. If man does not cooperate the fruit isnot grown at all, or is very inferior. In Eph.4:3 Paul writes, "Make every effort tokeep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." Does Paul mean that iChristians do not make every effort the unity of the body can fall apart, and peacebe lost? That is what precisely what Paul is saying, for he has seen it often, and ithas been recorded all through history. Christians who do not put forth efforts to bepeacemakers do not contribute to the peace of the world, or the body of Christ.

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