Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Peace: A Fruit of the Spirit

Photo of the Hebrew word for Peace, 
Shalom taken from here

This article, Peace: A Fruit of the Spirit, was first published in its entirety in here

“But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” –Colossians 3:14-15

“Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” –Psalm 34:14

What is peace?  How can we have peace?  Peace is a misunderstood concept, which has often eluded our comprehension and has almost become a cliché.

In the 1960’s “peace” was everywhere.  In the late 1960’s, 1969, the single “Give Peace a Chance,” by John Lennon became an anthem of the American anti-war movement.  In “Give Peace a Chance,” Lennon pleaded, “All we are saying is give peace a chance.”  In his video performance for the song Lennon pleaded for peace and declared “You will only get it if you want it and we want it now!”  We all desire peace, but how do we get it?

The idea of peace is all over the place and is viewed as the answer to all the world’s problems.  Even in watching speeches at beauty pageants peace shows up as a major topic of discussion and solution to the world’s ails.  Here everyone seems to want world peace.  World peace is paraded and heralded as the greatest need and the highest virtue.  However, peace is more than just words or talk, is it not?

In the film Miss Congeniality, an American police comedy from the year 2000, Sandra Bullock played Gracie Hart who is an undercover FBI Agent.  While undercover in a beauty pageant, Gracie is participating in a question and answer session.  When Bullock does not mention “world peace,” the audience is silent and you can sense the awkwardness.  She then adds the words, “and world peace” to her answer and the audience erupts in applause, approval and praise.  The all important world peace had been stated, and only then was the audience satisfied.

The pursuit and the focus on peace seem to be everywhere.  In the world of NBA Basketball there is even a Lakers player who has changed his name from Ron Artest to Metta World Peace.  During one of his games, Metta World Peace elbowed another player from an opposing team, James Harden.  Late night talk show host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel, from Jimmy Kimmel Live, exclaimed, “World Peace with an elbow to the head.” and then stated that this act “ended World Peace.”  We have, indeed, reduced peace, and look what we have reduced peace to, a name or a label.

If we have a diluted understanding of peace, how do we begin to look differently at peace and begin to understand it rightly?  We can begin by defining our terms and by looking to the scriptures for clarity on what peace is and how we can have peace.  

According to the Tyndale Bible Dictionary, peace is the “Total well-being, prosperity, and security associated with God’s presence among his people.”  Peace is simply defined as the presence of God.  In the presence of God we have the promise of the fulfillment of total well being, prosperity and security of God’s redemption, which has come in His son Jesus Christ, and we have the promise of the restoration that is to come in eternity in the perfect presence of God.

The Tyndale Bible Dictionary goes on to support this idea of peace when it says, “Linked in the Old Testament with the covenant, the presence of peace was conditional, based on Israel’s obedience. In the prophetic writings, true peace is part of the end-time hope of God’s salvation. In the New Testament, this longed-for peace is understood as having come in Christ and can be experienced by the believers.”

According to the Holman treasury of key Bible words, the Hebrew word for peace, shalom, means: “’completeness,’ ‘wholeness,’ ‘well-being,’ or ‘welfare and peace.’ It is derived from a root that means ‘to be complete’ or ‘to be sound.’”  Peace is more than a feeling or something we try to achieve.  Peace is a state of being or condition.

As Paul stated in Colossians 1:19-20, God has made peace “[through Christ] to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”  God’s peace is a person.  God’s peace is His own son Jesus Christ.

Paul also states in Colossians 3:14-15, “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”  In putting on the love of Christ and abiding in this love we are bonded in perfection and the peace of God can and will rule our hearts.  This is the Christian’s calling; to abide in Christ’s Love, to find His Peace through the Peace of His cross, and to worship Him with thanksgiving.  

To read the rest of this article, Peace: A Fruit of the Spirit, you can read it by visiting here

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