The Fruit of Peace

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Galatians 5:22-23

“I will grow in peace as I allow the Spirit to guard my mind.”

INTRODUCTION: Our message series is on the fruit of the Spirit and growing more like Jesus. So far, we have looked the fruit of love and the fruit of joy. Today we come to the fruit of peace.

These first three fruit of the Spirit – love, joy and peace – form a sort of trilogy in the Bible, often appearing together in different combinations. Billy Graham in his book on the Holy Spirit likes to call them a fruit cluster. In fact, he takes all nine fruit of the Spirit and divides them into three different clusters: 1) love, joy and peace; 2) patience, kindness and goodness; and 3) faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit, p. 246) That’s a good way to memorize the fruit of the Spirit, too.

Christopher Wright in his book on the Holy Spirit likes to call these first three fruit of the Spirit triplets. He writes: “Love, joy, and peace … are like a triplet. They come together… And, to continue the picture, joy and peace are like twins. They come together as a pair even more often than love, joy, and peace come as a triplet.” (Christopher Wright, Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit, p. 35)

We have said that the fruit of the Spirit together form a picture or portrait of Jesus. I like to think of love, joy and peace as the three primary colors in that picture. Just as all the colors are contained in the three primary colors, so all the fruit are colored by this first cluster of love, joy and peace. If you’ve got the first three, the rest are not far behind. So, today we look at the third fruit in this opening trilogy of fruits – the fruit of peace. (Read Galatians 5:22-23 and pray.)


The Hebrew word for peace is “shalom.” We may be more familiar with “shalom” as a Hebrew word of greeting, but it is a particularly beautiful word in the Hebrew language signifying not only peace, but wholeness, soundness, wellness, completeness.

The world around us longs for peace. We have peace marches, peace demonstrations (which are not always peaceful), peace counselors and peace medications. But we will never find true peace apart from God, apart from Jesus, apart from the Holy Spirit through whom the fruit of peace comes.

Once again, I like what Billy Graham says here: “For the Christian, peace is not simply the absence of conflict, or any other artificial state the world has to offer. Rather it is the deep, abiding peace only Jesus Christ brings to the heart.” (Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit, p. 255)

Whereas love has to do with your attitude, and joy has to do with your emotions, peace has to do primarily with the mind. “I will grow in peace as I allow the Spirit to guard my mind.”
When you allow your mind to get distracted or disturbed, you miss out on the peace that God has for you. So, let’s look at the fruit of peace together.

I. Peace and God

First, we want to see what the Bible tells us about peace and God. There are three main expressions we find in the Bible that have to do with peace and God. These are the expressions God of peace, peace of God and peace with God. All three relate to each other, but each has a different emphasis.

   A. God of peace (the peace that God has in himself)
      – 1 Corinthians 14:33; John 5:19, 16:13

The first expression, “God of peace,” has to do with the peace that God has in himself. This has to do with God’s character, with who he is. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 14:33: “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” (1 Corinthians 14:33) We have already seen that God is the God of love and the God of joy. And he is also the God of peace. It’s who he is. It’s part of his character.

The Bible teaches us that God is one God in three persons. You know the saying, “Two’s a company; three’s a crowd.” Praise God it’s not that way with God! All three persons of the Godhead live in perfect peace and harmony with one another, and they have done so for all eternity. The Son lives in perfect harmony with the Father. Jesus said in John 5:19: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19) And the Spirit lives in perfect harmony with the Father and the Son. Jesus said in John 16:13: “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:13)

Jesus as the Son of God here on earth displayed God’s perfect peace in his life. He moved through life unhurried, unworried, completely focused on his Father’s plan. We see examples of Jesus’ peace when he slept on the boat in the midst of the storm (Mark 4:38), when he set his face towards Jerusalem and the cross (Luke 9:51), or when he stood silent before his accusers (Matthew 26:62-63). So that’s our first expression. “God of peace” has to do with the peace that God has in himself.

   B. Peace of God (the peace that God gives us)
      – Psalm 29:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:16

The second expression, “peace of God,” has to do with the peace that God gives us. God takes the peace that he has in himself, and he shares it with us. There are so many examples of this in Scripture but let me share with you two. Psalm 29:11 says: “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11) 2 Thessalonians 3:16 says: “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16) What a beautiful prayer! Paul prays that the Lord of peace would give you his peace at all times and in every way. Only the God of peace can give you the peace of God.

   C. Peace with God (relationship with God restored through Christ)
      – Romans 5:1; Colossians 1:20

And then, the third expression, “peace with God,” has to do with our relationship with God restored through Christ. For example we find this expression in Romans 5:1: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1) Or we read of God’s plan in Colossians 1:20: “… through him (through Jesus) to reconcile to himself all things … by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:20)

We are all created with a void in our lives that can only be filled by the Spirit of God. Our sins have kept us away from being at peace with God. It was not until our sins were cancelled and paid for through Christ that we finally gained access to this peace. But, as Paul writes, now that we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Peace with God comes only through the Prince of Peace, our Lord Jesus Christ himself.

II. Obstacles to peace

We have looked at God and peace. Next, we want to look at obstacles to peace. There are three main obstacles to peace in our lives – worry, fear and conflict. Worry has to do with potential troubles. Fear has to do with present troubles. Conflict has to do with interpersonal troubles. So, let’s see what the Bible says about each of these obstacles to peace.

   A. Worry (potential troubles)
      – Proverbs 12:25; Matthew 6:25,33-34

Worry or anxiety about potential troubles can rob us of our peace. Proverbs 12:25 says: “An anxious heart weighs a man down.” (Proverbs 12:25) Worry and anxiety can bring disastrous effects from constant stress to ulcers to nervous breakdowns. Worry is a weight in our life that drags us down and stands in the way of peace.

Jesus told us in Matthew 6 in the Sermon on the Mount: “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25,33-34)

Worry is caused by uncertainty about the future. The future is wide open to us. We don’t know what’s going to happen, so we worry about all sorts of things! But Jesus said don’t worry about the future. Don’t worry about potential troubles, which may never even happen anyways. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

   B. Fear (present troubles)
      – Psalm 3:5-6; John 14:27

A second obstacle to peace is fear. Fear has to do with the present troubles in our lives, things that are happening right now. Worry is about the future; fear is about the present.

I love David’s words in Psalm 3:5-6 where he shares about a very personal and present circumstance that he experienced: “I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. 6 I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side.” (Psalm 3:5-6) If you had ten thousand enemies surrounding you, drawn up against you, would you be able to sleep? David did! David knew what it was like to be in danger. He knew what it was like to be surrounded by the enemy. And yet he was able to lie down and sleep. He refused to let the obstacle of fear disturb his peace.

Jesus said in John 14:27, one of the most beautiful verses in Scripture: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) This Scripture relates to the giving of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was going away but he would send another, the Holy Spirit, to be with us forever. Jesus would leave his peace with us through the Holy Spirit.

And what a beautiful peace it is. It is not like anything that this world has to offer. It is his peace, the peace of Christ, the peace that Jesus has shared with God the Father and the Holy Spirit through all of eternity. The Prince of Peace gives you his peace. So, do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.

   C. Conflict (interpersonal troubles)
      – Matthew 5:23-24; Romans 12:18

The third obstacle to peace that we have to deal with in our lives is conflict. Conflict has to do with interpersonal troubles. God not only gives us peace. He calls us to peace. First, he makes peace with us through his Son, Jesus. Then he gives us his own personal peace. And then he calls us to live in peace. Conflict threatens to disrupt the peace that we have with each other.

Jesus spoke about this in Matthew 5:23-24: “If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24) Interpersonal peace is so important to God that if you are not at peace with another, God tells you to interrupt your worship, first go and be reconciled, and then come back and offer your gift.

Romans 12:18 tells us: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18) I like this verse because it is so realistic. First, it acknowledges that peace with other people is not always possible. Not everyone is willing to live in peace with you. Secondly, it tells you to do what you can. If you’re not at peace with someone, make sure that it’s not because of you. Do what you can to restore the relationship, and then leave it in God’s hands to do the rest. Finally, it tells us not to make any exceptions. God says if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. We don’t get to pick and choose; we are to seek peaceful relationships with everyone in our lives.

Worry, fear and conflict are the three big obstacles to peace, and they are three of the biggest stressors that people experience in life. But when you apply the antidote of God’s peace to all three, you will live a more peaceful and pleasant life, and you will be better equipped to live peacefully with those around us as well.

III. Growing in peace

So, we have looked at peace and God. We have looked at obstacles to peace. Finally, we want to learn how we can grow in peace. The Bible gives us a number of instructions in this area.

   A. Trust in the Lord
      – Isaiah 26:3; John 14:1

First of all, you need to trust in the Lord. Isaiah 26:3 says about God: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3) Notice the emphasis on the mind in this verse. Remember, peace has to do with the Spirit guarding your mind.

Jesus also connected peace with trusting God. Jesus said in John 14:1: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” (John 14:1) Is your heart troubled this morning? Then you’re forgetting to trust God! Trust in God and Jesus, and you will know God’s perfect peace in your life.

   B. Rest in Christ
      – Matthew 11:28; John 16:33

Secondly, rest in Christ. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Jesus is the good Shepherd who will lead you beside the quiet waters. He will calm your troubled heart; he will give you peace and rest for your soul.

Jesus said in John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus never promised that you wouldn’t have any troubles. But he did promise that you could have peace in him in the midst of all your troubles. That’s the second way to grow in peace. Rest in Christ.

   C. Love God’s word
      – Psalm 119:165; Proverbs 3:17

A third way to grow in peace is to love God’s word. Love God’s word; read it; study it; learn it; memorize it (memorize the fruit of the Spirit). Love God’s word! Psalm 119:165 says: “Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” (Psalm 119:167) Proverbs 3:17 says: “The ways of wisdom are pleasant, and all her paths are peace.” (Proverbs 3:17) When you love God’s word, you will gain wisdom, and with wisdom comes peace.

   D. Pray and give thanks
      – Philippians 4:6-7

And then a fourth way to grow in peace is to pray and give thanks. Philippians 4:6-7 is one of the most important verses in the Bible about peace: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

This is what I like to call the best trade in the world! You give God all your worries and cares, and he gives you his peace in return. As soon as you realize you are worrying about something, bring it to God in prayer. Take your worries, and turn them into prayer and thanksgiving. And God will give you a supernatural peace, a peace that surpasses all understanding.

Did you notice the emphasis on the mind once again? God not only gives you his peace, but this peace will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

   E. Live in unity with each other
      – Ephesians 4:3; Colossians 3:15

A fifth way to grow in peace is simply to live in unity with each other. Ephesians 4:3 tells us: “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3) Colossians 3:15 says: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15) There is that call to thankfulness again, but the main idea here is that we are called to peace, and we can only know that peace as we let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts.

   F. Ask God to develop the fruit of peace in your life
      – Romans 8:6

Finally, as with all the fruit of the Spirit, make this a matter of prayer. Ask God to develop the fruit of peace in your life. Romans 8:6 says: “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6) Remember peace has to do with your mind. When you ask God to develop the fruit of peace in your life, you are asking him to guard and control your mind by the Holy Spirit.

CONCLUSION: And so, we come now to the end of this beautiful trilogy of love, joy and peace. Can you imagine if your life was full of love, joy and peace every day? Not just full of love, but full of God’s love! Not just full of joy, but full of God’s joy! Not just full of peace, but full of God’s peace! Wouldn’t you like to be loving like Jesus? Joyful like Jesus? Peaceful like Jesus? Well, you can be! That’s what the fruit of the Spirit is all about. God gives you his Holy Spirit to help you grow more like Jesus.

How do we grow in all the fruit of the Spirit? Remember the three things we said at the beginning of this series: you need to weed the garden, water the garden and remain in the vine. 1) Weed the garden – be killing sin, or sin will be killing you. 2) Water the garden – spend time each day with God in his word. 3) Remain in the vine – abide in Christ. Walk closely with Jesus every day, leaning on him, depending on him, asking God to produce the fruit of his Spirit in your life.

Remember, the fruit of the Spirit is something God does in your life rather than you do. “I will grow in peace as I allow the Spirit to guard my mind.” Ask God to guard your mind through the power and the presence of his Holy Spirit in your life.

© Ray Fowler

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