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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Peace, a fruit of the Spirit / Matisyahu- One Day

Think of this as an opportunity to broaden your horizons...

Yes, he is an Orthodox Jew, using reggae-style music to spread the message of love and peace. A message that is the property no single religion or denomination. We have to look beyond the things that divide us, and look to that which unifies us. We have but two commands, "love God and love each other".

Are we not ALL looking forward to that "One Day," when peace will reign over our lives and our world?

Peace, a fruit of the Spirit:

The apostle Paul cautioned Christians to "walk in the Spirit" and if we do, then we will "not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16.) So how do we walk in the Spirit? Paul goes on in the next five verses to tell us what the "works of the flesh" are and then he answers the question of how we go about walking in the Spirit when he says: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV.)

Let’s take a look at ‘peace’ which is the third in the list of the fruits of the Spirit.

The Greek word for ‘peace’ in this verse is ‘eirene’ [i-ray'-nay] which means peace, harmony, tranquility, concord, unity, contentment. This Greek word corresponds to the Old Testament Hebrew word ‘shalom’ which means basically the same thing. The words ‘shalom’ and ‘eirene’ were commonly used as greetings. But, peace as a fruit of the Spirit is much more than a greeting. It is a supernatural state of inner tranquility.

But, there are things that can rob us of peace.

When Jesus was talking to the Pharisees, He said: "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it" [John 8:44]. The Tormentor, Satan, is the wicked one [Matthew 13:19, 38], the ruler of this world [John 12:31], the god of this age [2 Corinthians 4:4] and he has deceived the whole world [Revelation 12:9]. We have been influenced by him to hate, compete, war against and to kill one another.

Sin is one of the things that can rob us of our peace. Isaiah the prophet said: "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy. That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear [Isaiah 59:1-2]. Isaiah also records, "There is no peace," says my God, "for the wicked" [Isaiah 57:21].

When we sin and do something wrong, it produces guilt, which works on multiple levels of our consciousness and can cause mental and physical distress and disease. The road back to peace is to confess our sins with the purpose of abandoning it. The apostle John affirmed: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" [1 John 1:9].

If we sin, our fellowship with God is affected, causing us inner turmoil. We must repent and confess to God in order to get back to a condition of inner peace.

The apostle Paul quoted Isaiah in saying, "The way of peace they have not known" [Romans 3:17]. The writer of the Book of Hebrews says that we are to "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord" [Hebrews 12:14]. This is a word of warning: if we don’t strive for peace, then we will not see Jesus when He returns, and we will not rule and reign with Him in the Kingdom of God.

Isaiah recorded a prophecy declaring Jesus would be the Prince of Peace: "For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace [Isaiah 9:6]. Jesus talked about peace to His disciples on the night of His last Passover before He was crucified saying, "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 [John 14:27]. "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" [John 16:33].

The apostle Paul told the brethren in Philippi: "The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus [Philippians 4:7].

When I think of ‘peace’, I think of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in which He said: "Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God [Matthew 5:9]. We can see from this verse that if we want to be a child of God, to be a part of the God Family, then we must be peacemakers. One of the ways that we can be a peacemaker is to keep God’s Commandments. David wrote, "Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble" [Psalms 119:165].

Another way to be a peacemaker is to watch what our tongues, watch what we say. Words can wound and damage people. Arguments and disagreements can spiral into envy, strife, hatred and murder. We need to think of one of Solomon’s proverbs, "A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger [Proverbs 15:1].

To be a peacemaker we need to be humble and meek. Notice that there is a reward for doing this: "But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace" [Psalms 37:11]. This is a reference to the coming Kingdom Age in which peace will prevail and they will beat their swords into plowshares and nations will not learn war any more. [Isaiah 2:4].

God’s purpose for mankind is that we enjoy eternal life in peace with Him. God is the author of peace [1 Corinthians 14:33], He has called us to peace [1 Corinthians 7:15] and we are to live in peace [2 Corinthians 13:11]. We need to be peacemakers with our families, fellow churchgoers / members, co-workers and neighbors. We need to go in prayer and ask for the fruit of His Spirit: peace.

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