Peace

Jessica Bratt Carle

READ : Galatians 5:16-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . peace. (v. 22)

Paul lists “strife,” “rivalries,” and “dissension” among the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:20), but peace blossoms from the work of the Spirit. We cherish peace at many levels—a peaceful moment free from noise, a break in the fighting between siblings or nations, a ceasing of the same old arguments, a breakthrough that finally puts a stop to deeply entrenched conflict. The peace that the Spirit brings forth is unmistakable—it is wholeness, shalom as the Hebrew language names it. It is a peace that not only stops the discord but heals, restores, and lives up to a new vision of unity. The scattered parts—of ourselves, our relationships with others, our relationship with God—are put back together.

Peace brings reconciliation between us and God, and us and our neighbors. This is certainly not a peace we can create on our own—our natural inclinations tend to lead us back into conflict at some point. The peace comes when, by the Spirit’s power, we yield to the ways of the Spirit. The old self yields, and yields again and again, to the new self that the Spirit brings forth in and through us. The Spirit of the one who reconciled us to God, while we were still running rampant in our sinfulness (Rom. 5:8), is able to grant us perfect peace. Let us in turn share the peace of Christ with a warring world.

PRAYER

Center us in the knowledge of your perfect peace.