SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY (November 13, 2013)
The FRUIT of the SPIRIT (Part 4) – Inner Peace (PEACE in CHRIST)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” Galatians 5:22-26.
“SINCE WE LIVE BY THE SPIRIT, LET US KEEP IN STEP WITH THE SPIRIT” Galatians 5:25 (NIV).
In the previous edition of Spiritual Nourishment for Today, we learnt about PEACE as an aspect of the FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. We intimated that peace can be divided into three parts, that is, peace with God, peace with one’s self (inner peace) and peace with other people. We focused on peace with God and established the fact that it is the most important treasure every one must seek after. This comes about through our relationship with Jesus Christ by which our broken relationship with God is restored. This peace, which we described as GOD’S SHALOM, comes with several blessings to those who reconcile to God by grace through Jesus Christ. In this edition, we want to focus on the inner peace. However, it should be understood that INNER PEACE also flows from PEACE WITH GOD. Without peace with God, there can be no peace in any area of our lives.
Peace with one’s self (inner peace) is something everyone seeks in this world. Everyone wants to live in a world without wars, a world of prosperity, joy and fulfillment of all desires. People work hard because they want to be able to have enough money to buy whatever they want or need and be able to take care of other family needs. But this peace has eluded many because they have failed to seek peace with God. Even those who claim to have peace because of their wealth are in real need of peace because they have lots and lots of insecurities. People who have acquired much wealth in this world still fear death, diseases, loss of wealth, and the rest. That is why many wealthy people have lots of security guards around their properties and their own bodies. Can that be described as peace? Real peace provides security not insecurity. Those who have real peace are those who are guarded by the angels of God who protect them from both spiritual and physical enemies. It is therefore obvious that inner peace cannot be acquired in this world except through Christ.
One of the greatest gifts Jesus gave to the Church before his ascension is PEACE. Jesus knows that there are two types of peace – one is divine peace and the other is the worldly peace. As already mentioned, the world claims to provide peace through the wealth we acquire and the ability to do whatever we want without any restrictions. This is the opposite of the divine peace that Christ gives us. Christ knew that even though the world provides a kind of peace, it is not our real need. OUR REAL NEED IS THE PEACE WHICH COMES FROM GOD. Jesus said:
“PEACE I LEAVE WITH YOU; MY PEACE I GIVE YOU. I DO NOT GIVE TO YOU AS THE WORLD AS THE WORLD GIVES. DO NOT LET YOUR HEARTS BE TROUBLED” (John 14:27).
THIS IS THE REAL PEACE – NOT AS THE WORLD GIVES AND ADDS SORROWS TO IT. IT IS THE PEACE THAT OVERCOMES ALL FEARS. It is not the kind of peace that depends on what you have or what you don’t have. It is not the kind of peace that depends NOT on any external circumstances. It is an amazing peace which flows from God into the minds and hearts of those who love and stick to Christ. This kind of peace is always calm even in times of great dangers and troubled times. It brings calmness to the heart even when the world around us seems to be falling on us. This is the kind of peace Paul prayed for believers in Philippians 4:7:
“AND THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH TRANSCENDS ALL UNDERSTANDING WILL GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS.”
It is unfathomable, inscrutable and incredible peace! It transcends all human understanding. This is the kind of peace that makes a person who lost everything to write the hymn: “IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL.” This peace cannot be bought with silver and gold; it is free of charge to those who believe in the SON OF GOD.
Many people in this world are going through very difficult times and are looking for antidotes to their problems. Some feel that education can bring them future peace so they spend all their lives perusing education only to come to the realization that the acquisition of the highest academic credentials cannot guarantee inner peace; there is more to that. Some have also thought that they can have peace of mind and enjoy life to the fullest when they develop good careers and make billions of money only to be attacked by some diseases they have to battle with for the rest of their lives or even lose everything to natural disasters etc. With all the wealth people acquire, they still cannot buy life. They can buy blood but not life with their money. Some also believe that as soon as they get married they will have peace of mind but you and I know that marriage does not guarantee peace. PEACE CANNOT BE ACQUIRED WITH CERTIFICATES OR MONEY. IT CANNOT BE ACQUIRED WITH HARD WORK, BEAUTY OR ANY OF THE THINGS OF THIS WORLD; IT CAN BE ACQUIRED THROUGH OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST. HE IS THE PRINCE OF PEACE AND THE CUSTODIAN OF PEACE. IT IS ONLY IN CHRIST CAN LASTING PEACE BE FOUND. WITHOUT HIM, WE CAN DO NOTHING.
Many are living under constant fear and insecurity throughout the world. Almost everyone is afraid of death but those who belong to Christ Jesus have peace in their hearts because we know that even IF WE DIE, WE DIE FOR CHRIST (Romans 14:8) who has gone TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR US to live with him eternally (John 14:1-2). This gives us peace in the midst of all the threats of death. Many are also worried about the economic situation of the world. People fear they may soon not be able to buy food to eat or pay their rents or their kids’ school fees. However, those of us in Christ Jesus have the assurance that OUR GOD SHALL SUPPLY ALL OUR NEEDS (Philippians 4:19). In times of sicknesses, we can still be assured that BY HIS STRIPES WE ARE HEALED (Isaiah 53:4-5). This removes the fear of sickness from our hearts and grants us hope even in the midst of severe pains. In times of difficult challenges or troubles from external enemies, we have peace because of the assurance that:
“NO WEAPONS FORMED AGAINST YOU WILL PREVAIL; AND YOU WILL REFUTE EVERY TONGUE THAT ACCUSES YOU. THIS IS THE HERITAGE OF THE SERVANTS OF THE LORD, AND THIS IS THE VINDICATION FROM ME, DECLARES THE LORD” (Isaiah 54:17).
In our troubled circumstances, we can rely on the promise of God which says:
“SO DO NOT FEAR, FOR I AM WITH YOU; DO NOT BE DISMAYED, FOR I AM YOUR GOD. I WILL STRENGTHEN YOU AND HELP YOU ; I WILL UPHOLD YOU WITH MY RIGHTEOUS RIGHT HAND” (Isaiah 41:10).
Need I say more? I guess this should be enough to bring peace in the hearts and minds of everyone who draws near to God. For those who do not know Jesus and are trying to seek peace in their hearts and minds, we should let them know that they will continue to search in vain until they seek Jesus, the PRINCE OF PEACE. THIS IS BECAUSE THERE CAN BE NO PEACE OUTSIDE OF Christ. The devil can give you a type of peace but it comes at a great cost and it is also temporal. But the peace which comes through Christ is free and everlasting. It is my prayer that as we seek to know Christ better and to make him better known, we shall enjoy the fullness of God’s Shalom in all areas of our lives.
In the next edition, we shall discuss PEACE WITH OTHERS. Until them, stay close to God and enjoy his peace which surpasses all human understanding.
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.