The Fruit of Peace
The Beginning, Part 2
Galatians 5:22 NKJV
Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV
PROVERBS 3:5-6 NKJV
John 14:27 NKJV
Romans 5:1 NKJV
Isaiah 53:5 NKJV
2 Thessalonians 3:16 NKJV
I think growing older is like aged cheese. I’ve only tasted a really good aged cheese a few times in my life but when I did taste it I was surprised that I could tell the difference between that cheese and the inexpensive cheese I usually buy. Somehow, aging gave it breadth and depth. The aged cheese was rich and satisfying.
As we age we develop breadth and depth, but I find the American culture doesn’t understand or revere aging. We tend to revere youth and young beauty. It seems like the older I get I notice that this culture of mine is fascinated with younger models, younger bodies, and the way the young think. Today’s fascination seems to be with young technology geniuses. For sure, the young are not hindered by what makes sense. Boomers are. Most of the time boomers seem to need life that makes sense.
However, in the same way that free thinking about technology often alludes boomers, there are elements of life that the young do not understand. Peace is one of those elements.
As I age, I begin to understand the blessing of experiencing peace. I’m not talking about the lack of noise or activity. I am referring to God’s peace...perfect peace. So while a perfectly peaceful day for me often includes silence...no television or even music, that is not the case with everyone. Many people I know who practice mindful meditation with music or the sounds of nature, experience peace.
Peace at any level clears and relaxes our thoughts and slows down our heart rate. All manner of peace is good, however God’s peace has benefits that surpass understanding. We learn from Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi in Philippians 4:6-7, “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.”
We are reminded to take our requests and burdens to God. When we place our requests in God’s capable hands we will have His peace that passes all understanding.
Often, I need to remind myself what Solomon wrote in Proverbs 3:5-6:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.”
We ask God, receive peace, trust in the Lord, and acknowledge He is holding our requests in His hands.
Before leaving His disciples Jesus taught multiple lessons prior to the crucifixion. John 12-20 includes lessons Jesus taught during His last week before His crucifixion. In John 14:27 Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Jesus knew His disciples would need to know peace was a gift. They didn’t need to work to obtain it. WE do not need to work to obtain it. We need to give God space to give us peace. Open your heart. Let God IN.
In Romans 5:1, the Apostle Paul writes to the church in Rome, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” He tells them because of their faith in Jesus, they are made right with Him and they have peace. That peace is a gift. God offered Himself and we received His love. As a result of our receiving, we are also given peace.
The prophet Isaiah was born in the 8th Century B.C. He wrote about what the coming Messiah Jesus would do for us in Isaiah 53:5:
“But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.”
Whenever I need help with receiving God’s peace, I visualize Jesus taking my angst and anxiety into Himself and giving me peace in return. He died so I (we) can have peace. I practice that when I need to allow myself to receive the peace God has for me.
Sometimes when I struggle with my surroundings, I go to one of my Sacred Spaces where I have prayed a lot. In those holy places where I spend time with God I have memories of words we have shared. Because I’ve lived in many places in my life and I am a bit of a nomad who moves around, one of my sacred spaces is in my mind. I think of it as my traveling sacred space. I know it’s a little funny, but I think it’s God’s way of helping me feel “at home in Him” wherever I go. If you have a space where you sit to pray, that could be YOUR sacred space.
You will most likely recognize your sacred space because you have a sense of peace that surrounds you when you are there. You have a history of God receiving your prayers there and you have received peace in return.
In 2 Thessalonians Paul wrote to encourage the believers in that new church. Paul concludes his letter with a benediction in 2 Thessalonians 3:16 that says, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.”
It’s important to note that Paul was not well received in Thessaloniki, Greece. When Paul and Silas preached in the Jewish Synagogue, some Jews incited a riot because of their message. Paul found refuge with one of the believers, but eventually they had to secretly escape from Thessalonica at night (https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney1/10-pauls-journey-to-phrygia-macedonia/paul-in-thessalonica/).
Paul’s final words to the church were a blessing of peace. Today, we too experience moments filled with chaos and confusion. When we do, a great practice is to memorize Paul’s benediction and repeat it to ourselves.
God’s peace is near when we believe and we turn to him.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Memorize
Memorize Paul’s benediction found in 2 Thessalonians 3:16 that says, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.”
In God, Deborah