The fruit of the Holy Spirit is.. Peace
This morning I want to speak to you about an enormously important word, PEACE, and what that can mean to us as human beings, nations and Christians.
It isn’t enough to talk about peace, one must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.’ This is a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt who is the longest serving First Lady in American history, married to Franklin D Roosevelt ‘’What kind of peace is she referring to?......’’
There are different types of peace-freedom from war; what a person feels like when the sun is out and they have little to do. A third type is the peace God promises-Shalom-which is not dependent on freedom from war, pain and other life issues. God promises us peace, even when the world appears to be falling down around us. The Disciples knew about that peace, even though their Master was about to disappear from their sight. Paul knew that peace, even though he faced death many times in his life and was often sick, homeless and worried for his life.
John 14 v 27 Jesus said: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Jesus was emphatic that the peace He gave for His believers to experience was far greater than anything the world could offer. He could encourage His followers not to be fearful and worried and in 2021 when so many people young and old struggle with anxiety and suicidal tendencies, His words can bring life and hope. He doesn’t say to focus on the positives and ignore the negatives. He doesn’t say to get rid of those friends who are struggling. He tells us that we don’t need to fear anymore, because He, Almighty God, is by our side and He will bring victory. I stand here today to proclaim God’s peace not because it’s a nice concept, a great ideal, but it is real and by the grace of God, I have experienced it!
Lots of lives are destroyed before the person dies, because every waking moment is fraught with anxiety. I told you about my Nan who was sacred to leave the house and scared to stay at home. The opposite of peace in your heart is worry, anxiety and fear. How do you overcome and discover peace?
Jesus said, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’ We have a choice whether we will let ourselves be overwhelmed by fear. With Jesus Christ, we have a choice! Yes, we can remain paralysed by fear for the rest of our lives or we can embrace this words of Jesus and know His reassurance and healing.
Paul sent a letter to his young protégé, a shy reserved man called Timothy. He saw such amazing God-given gifts in that man, but he observed too that Timothy struggled to assert himself. ‘God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind.’ It is not our natural state to fear. If we trust in God, then what have we to be fearful about? If Creator God is on our side, who can stand against us?
John 16 v 33 Jesus said: “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.” No matter where we have come from and no matter what obstacles are strewn across your path, we can trust Him.
As a blessing to end…2 Thessalonians 3 v 16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.