28 Feb 2019

Growing Whole In Peace and Joy

We are continuing in our series of “Growing Whole . . .” In our last blog we discussed the subject of growing whole in love. The Word of God defines the fruit of the Spirit in nine distinct characteristics. In order of progression we find joy followed by peace. Intentionally I would like to look at how the two of them uniquely coincide.

I have found that it is easy to think of joy and happiness as the same. They are most assuredly related but not the same. It is possible for someone to be happy but not have real joy. Joy is not predicated by people, places, or things. Real joy comes from a source that is not tangible, but yet it touches every fiber of our lives. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the indisputable source of real joy. When we find joy in Him everything does not have to be perfect (which it never will be), but we know that as Romans 8: 28 is paraphrased, God is causing everything to work together for the good of those who love Him. He is literally putting the pieces and details of our lives together so that it will be good for us. And since His ways are not always understood by our human intellect, we may not readily understand that even the negative things that transpire in our lives are only to the degree that He allows. It is not uncommon for the meters that measure the levels of our happiness to fluctuate drastically because it is gauged by what our flesh sees and feels rather than what the Spirit offers as an alternative. The cause and effect of happiness is temporary at best, but the joy of the Spirit is everlasting.

When we lean toward the chance experience of happiness rather than the assurance of joy that is the fruit of the Spirit, we will find that real peace is less likely to be prevalent. When peace is present in our lives, we can live in comfort and rest knowing that the Spirit is in total control. The fruit of the Spirit we know as peace is jeopardized when we take matters into our own hands. We experience God’s peace when our trust in Him transcends earthly circumstances. This trust can only be found in the One who has a track record of success and no failure.

The fruit of the Spirit of peace involves a place of solitude that blankets our lives with contentment while it replaces worry and strife. If a person is not at peace with themselves, they are unable to see past all the confusion and turmoil in the world that is in constant conflict. We must strive to practice peace within our own lives and it inevitably will spill over to those around us. The acceptance of the fruit of the Spirit from the “peace giver” will make us change agents and “peace makers”. The world needs to see real life examples which demonstrate the harvest that grows out of a relationship with God. Peace with God, peace within, and peace with one another will contribute to a life that permeates with joy.

Source: First Lady Denise