Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)
Peace. We often talk about it but don’t always understand it. Sometimes we think of it as calm circumstances, a time when there aren’t external difficulties or stresses. Thus peace is the absence of trouble. Perhaps that is why we so often try to control our environment and pray for God to remove anything that stretches us. But there is a big difference between everything going OK in life and real peace deep within. We seldom live with circumstances perfect, but we can always have peace within, no matter what storms rage without.
The Hebrew word for peace is shalom. Shalom’s basic meaning is wholeness and well-being in all areas of life. Real shalom isn’t something that we can produce ourselves any more than we can whip up unconditional love or deep joy. It has to come from God’s Spirit. It is His fruit. It is an inner contentment, an attitude of faith in God despite what we face in life.
Jesus is called the Prince of Peace because He alone brings peace. He isn’t called the Prince of Love or Hope, although He could have been. God blesses His people with peace (Psalm 29:11) because Jesus provided it on the cross (Ephesians 2:13-14).
The fruit of the Spirit is peace. Remember first, it’s FRUIT not fruits. Love is the blossom; peace is love trusting. God has placed His Spirit, His love within our lives. Therefore, while we may still live within a world in desperate need of peace, we trust God with absolute confidence for He is our peace.
Second, don’t forget it is the fruit of the SPIRIT, not the fruit of the saints. We cannot produce the fruit. This is spiritual fruit, and peace is only produced in our lives as we are connected to Jesus. He is the life giving vine by which we receive His Spirit in our lives. Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing,” but when we are connected to Him we will “bear much fruit.” (See: John 15:5).
The first step to having peace in your life is to be connected to Jesus. Jesus went to the cross and died in your place. Jesus suffered torture and the most brutal of deaths to restore peace in your life. Therefore first we have peace WITH God (Romans 5:1), for the enmity is removed by the cross and He accepts us because Jesus paid for our sins. Then we have peace FROM God (Phil 4:7).
Ephesians 2:13-14, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…”
John 14:27, “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.”
Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”
Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how much peace do you have in your life now? What is keeping it from being a 10? What do you need to do to make it a 10?
- Is your first response to trouble to try and control circumstances or ask God for His peace?
- Are your expectations for yourself or your ministry too high? Are you putting stress on yourself because you are evaluating your effectiveness by human standards?
- Where do you need peace in your life right now? Ask Him for it now.
Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!
Posted on March 15, 2009