By Brock Bondurant
Galatians 5:22 – But the fruit of the Spirit is peace…
There’s an intersection in town that is pretty busy, and frequented by someone, or a group of someone’s, waving a flag or holding a sign for all passer-by’s to see. As I was driving by the other day, I was invited to not just see, but to honk.
“HONK FOR PEACE”, the main sign read. Another implored drivers to “STOP MAKING WAR.”
Flags with peace symbols flew and an old man chucked up the “deuces” for all to see.
At first glance, I had to giggle. Seriously, will my honk really accomplish peace? Is it that simple?
While I didn’t honk (I guess you can blame me if world peace isn’t attained), I smiled as I thought of the prospect of peace and of the passion of the peace-pursuing people committed to standing at a busy intersection. But it also made me wonder: Where do they find peace? Where do I find peace?
As I thought about it, I realized that I’ve lived two lives: one without peace, and one with peace in abundance. The life with lack of peace was really just the by-product of a life without Jesus. In that life, whatever peace I did experience was short-lived. It didn’t last. It wasn’t inner, lasting peace come what may. It was peace based upon circumstance. But as my soul returned to its maker and the second life begun, I now (over time, not all at once) experience inner peace, what the Bible calls “Shalom” – peace with God in the way things were meant to be. It’s peace that isn’t based on circumstance; isn’t based on what I do, but upon what he has done. Jesus brought me back into what was meant to be: in relationship with God.
Now, I don’t always feel at peace. In fact, when I feel anxious, it helps me remember to draw near to the Lord. When I'm anxious, I’ve either miss-aligned my focus, or tried to attain peace by my own strength and will. This is when I find Jesus’ teaching in John 15 to be true: Apart from me you can do nothing. True peace – personal or corporate – is unattainable apart from Jesus.
The fruit of the Spirit is peace, but “a branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine” (John 15:4). Peace is not the thing to pursue then, it is just a by-product of pursuing a relationship with the vine, Jesus. We only bear the fruit of the Spirit as we walk in the Spirit of Jesus. Whenever we get off on our own way, we bear anxiety. I know this too well.
But personal peace really is possible when we come to know and walk with Christ; when we abide. Come to think of it, the peace sought by those strangers at the intersection is possible too – world peace – as we all come to experience a relationship with Jesus! A global revival! Perhaps that’s what happens when Jesus returns. Heaven comes down to bring Shalom to all who trust in him. Peace, found not by a ‘honk’, but by an “Amen.”
“Behold, I am making all things new. I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 21:5, 22:20)
Are you feeling peace today – lasting peace? Perhaps it’s time to begin a relationship (we all have to begin somewhere). Or maybe just return to where we’ve wandered from (we all are prone to wander). But as we all begin to or return to abide, Lord knows the depths of the peace we can experience, come what may.