The fruit of the Spirit peace is a wonderful thing to have. Galatians 5:22 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…” Once we make peace with God, He gives us the peace of God. As we develop the display of the working of God in our life known as peace it will effect our relationships.
One of the more modern versions states Proverbs 29:8 LB “Fools start fights everywhere while wise men try to keep peace.” At one point in our life we lived in an apartment where the newly married couple had horrible fights. We could hear crying through the walls and often prayed for the wife. I have often wondered what happened to the family. This article is about the the third element for successful relationships. It doesn’t matter if it’s your friends or family, or on the ballfield, or on your job, the formula for peace is basically the same. If you produce the fruit of the Spirit of peace it will impact your relationships.
Here are four reasons why I think it is so important that the church succeed in relationships!
- It is not good to be alone
If there is not peace in relationships for long enough, people end up alone. The bible says. “It is not good for a person to live alone.” And even though we are in the crowds and we are hanging around people all the time, there are a lot of people in our culture who are so lonely. The Bible says that the first dilemma for mankind was not his fallen-ness. It was not his sinfulness but rather his aloneness. It is not good for man to live alone.
- The evidence of authentic Christianity is love.
The Bible says, they are going to know us by our love. There has to be peace among those who are in the church. It is time for the world to have a witness that is persuasive so that when we say something about Jesus, there is a lifestyle to back it up. How terrible if someone says, “Oh yeah, Jesus can do anything, but I hate my sister, and my kids won’t talk to me and I’ve been divorced six times.” We need a lifestyle to back up the credibility of what we say.
- The core need of our society is comfort.
People are longing for comfort. We need somebody to come alongside us. We are wired for community. We are wired for connectedness. Society needs someone who can come alongside and help. If we are people of peace we are ready to meet the need of a hurting world and simply be there to assist the Spirit in bringing comfort.
- It is a whole lot more fun to get along than it is to fight all the time.
There is nothing more miserable to spend a weekend fighting one another, or to go to a church where there is not love and unity.
We Need the fruit of the Spirit peace!
They are called fruit of the Spirit because it is the display or the evidence of spiritual development in a person’s life. This is the proof that God is growing something in your life. The proof that God is doing something in your life is not that you cry a few tears or know a lot of bible verses. The evidence that God is working in your life is that there is an increase in love, joy peace, patience, kindness, and goodness.
I haven’t had a vegetable garden for a number of years. But one year I did have a garden. I broke up the soil, I mixed in the manure, I planted seed, I planted some plants from Home Depot, and I prayed for rain. But the delight, the fun part of doing a garden is not the renting of the tiller or the buying of the manure, the fun part of doing a garden is watching it grow! The fun part is watching it display the fruit. And I want to say to you that the delight of Christian life is growing some fruit. The fun part of being a Christian is saying, “I used to be like this, but NOW I am like this.”
And I want to say to you that you can only develop the fruit of the Spirit if you are willing to work the spiritual soil of your soul so that you can create an environment where the Holy Spirit can thrive. But you have to prepare. You have to prepare the soil so that the Holy Spirit can grow in you.
THERE ARE SOME MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT PEACE.
- Peace is not merely avoiding conflict.
Someone thinks, “Well, If I just run from this problem, I will live in peace.” No. You will not. Someone else says, “Well, I am not willing to make waves. I will just stuff it down. I will bury it. I will never talk about it and there will be peace in the valley.” You are wrong my friend. If you ignore a problem, you are never going to reach peace.
- Peace is not is appeasing the other person.
Peace is not just saying, “I will be the doormat. I will let them run all over me. Just go ahead, do it your way. I’ll give in. And then we will have peace.” I want to tell you that will not bring peace because appeasement always brings resentment. I honor Jesus the Prince of Peace who would never back down from a fight with the Pharisees. How can he be the prince of peace and still stand right up to those guys? I don’t know! But he did it. Peace then, is not avoidance. Peace is not appeasement. Peace is the supply source from God from which you can live life to its fullest.
So how do you get this peace? How do you create an environment where the Holy Spirit can create peace in your relationships? I want to give you four or five soil preparers.
FIVE SOIL PREPARERS:
If you want to grow peace in your life here is the first thing you do…
- Initiate the peace process.
You start. Don’t wait for the other person to make the first move. Jesus taught that reconciling with someone is even more important than your giving to God. Matthew 5:24 NLV says, “leave your gift on the altar. Go and make right what is wrong between you and him. Then come back and give your gift.” If you are the offender or if you are the one who has been offended, the ball is still in your court. It doesn’t matter if you are the one who has been violated or you are the one who has done the violating. It doesn’t matter. As a Christian who wants peace and the supply of God in your life, The responsibility is yours to initiate peace.
2. Learn the grace of listening.
So many things could be resolved by simple listening to one another. 1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.” When we listen we should have sympathy. Sympathy is when you say, I am sorry that you’re hurt. I am aware that there is pain in your life and I regret it. But do you realize that there is a step beyond sympathy and that is what we call empathy. Empathy says, Not only am I aware that you are hurt, and not only am I regretful that you hurt, but I hurt with you. I hurt because you hurt.
Here is the point, you can never provide sympathy or empathy unless you are willing to listen to the other person. Sympathy and Empathy are the bridges to peace in relationships. There is nothing that moves us toward peace as much as a willingness to listen and see where the other person is coming from. Most of the time when we are in a relationship and someone is talking to us. We are waiting for them to finish so that we can do what? Make OUR point. That’s right! How crazy is it that God gave us two ears and one mouth! Most of us are too eager to get our point across. If you will listen you may discover that peace isn’t so far off. If you will listen, you will grow peace in your life, because listening meets the fundamental needs of another person.
When you are listening you are saying, Do you know what, I value you. I am willing to take the time to respect and understand where you are coming from. When you listen to someone, you say, I affirm your feelings. You might be making the worst decision of your life. You might be absolutely wrong, but I understand the way you feel. Peace never grows without understanding.
That is why the Bible says in 1 Peter 3:7 NKJV “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them (wives) with understanding….” Now I personally have found that to be the most challenging command of the whole scripture. (Insert smile) The problem is we always underestimate the degree to which people are different. Men and women are different in so many ways. She feels things. He sees things through logic. That is just the tip of the iceberg. Someone said, Opposites attract until they get together and then they attack. How many of you have found that the little cute thing they did while you were dating is the very thing that just gets on your nerves after you get married?
I don’t think I have ever quoted Sigmund Freud. I have never quoted him before but when I saw this I had to quote him. “Despite my 30 years of research into the feminine soul, I have not yet been able to answer the great question, What does a woman want?” http://freudquotes.blogspot.com/2016/03/what-does-woman-want.html
We are different. And we have to learn to listen in order that we understand. You have to make the effort to understand the other person’s perspective. James 1:19 says that the evidence of Spiritual maturity and the key to avoiding anger in your life is to use your ears more than your mouth. “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” And then very naturally if you are swift to hear and slow to speak, you are going to be slow to wrath.
The three areas of focused listening if we are going to build our relationships. Three areas of focused listening:
1.) You need to know what your friend or partner is afraid of.
2.) You need to know what your friend or partner is doubting.
3.) You need to know where your friend or partner has interests.
What are the interests?
Once I know those things, their fears, doubts, and interests, then I am able by the anointing of the Holy Spirt to come alongside my friend and my partner and with the comfort of Jesus
and with the comfort of the Holy Ghost, I can pour peace on the fears and I can cover over the doubts, and I can participate in the other persons interests and when I do that I’m growing a relationship.
Philippians 2 :4 says “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” That phrase “look to” is the Greek word scope out or scopos and it is the same word from which we get phrases like microscope or telescope. It literally means to focus on, or to zero in on, or to pay attention to. And basically, the Word of the Lord is that if you are going to grow peace in your relationships then you have to learn how to scope in on more than your own needs and your own hurt and your own appetites. You are going to learn how to scope in on the appetites of other people. It will change your life.
People hurt people because they are themselves hurt. Nobody wakes up in the morning and says, Let me see here, I have a list of ten people, and I am going to see how many people I can hurt and how bad. Nobody does that. People hurt people because they are acting out of their own pain and hurt. But the person that is committed to growing peace in their life begins to scope in and say, “What is it that is hurting that person so badly that they are always hurting me?” I want to understand what is making them hurt people. You may read that and think that is pretty unnatural. It is not an easy thing to do. That is so unnatural, especially when you are the one that they are hurting. When you are hurt and you are angry and all you can see is your own stuff, it is pretty hard to scope in on someone else.
That is why we need Jesus. Jesus has to be a part of our relationship, because we need someone who can hang from a cross and say, “Father would you see it from their perspective, Father, they don’t understand. Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.” Think of it. Jesus is dying on a cross and he saw it not from his own perspective but from the perspective of those who were crucifying him on the cross. That is the same Jesus that you serve. If you don’t that Jesus wants to live in your heart and in your marriage and in your friendships.
The key to having the power of the Holy Spirit in our relationships is that we would develop intimacy with Jesus. Otherwise we find ourselves walking in just rules and regulations of religion. And that is not what it is all about. Jesus wants to be friends with us. As we develop intimacy with him do you know what inevitably is going to happen. You are going to get closer with your marriage partner. You are going to get closer with your friends. You are going to have that you never knew was imaginable. The closer you come to Jesus, the closer you come to those who are in your life.
3. Walk in the light
If you will walk in the light you will grow peace in your life. 1 John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another…” We have friendship with each other. What is walking in the light?
Let’s regress for just a moment. The greatest negative energy in most relationships has to do with the secrets you’re holding out on. It has to do with the imaginations that are incubating in your brain. And sooner or later they are going to grow something in that relationship that you don’t want. To walk in the light means, I am not going to hide anything from you anymore.
You see the immediate consequence of Adam and Eves sin was what? They wanted to hide from God. They wanted to find a place, a bush that they could get behind. To walk in the light says, I am not going to keep secrets. I am not going to develop habits that you don’t know about. I am not going to harm my children with these things by living in these secret places.
Even in marriages there are secret places. He looks at things on the internet that she would not be happy with. She spends money that he doesn’t know about. But what inevitably happens is that eventually things come out. In churches it is the same way, someone gets offended because someone didn’t shake their hand. Someone else feels slighted in some way and so people start acting in untoward manners against each other. Wouldn’t it just be better to bring it out in the light. Isn’t it better to talk about things. That is what walking in the light is all about. I am going to tell you that I personally hate those communion service when you go up to someone after the Lord cleanses your soul and you say. “Oh, please forgive me, I have hated you for the last 45 years. But the Lord has set things right now.” Don’t you dare walk with something for 45 years! Don’t you dare walk with something for a day! You have to stay in the light with one another so that we can have fellowship.
4. Develop a cooperative Spirit
Do you want to have peace in your life? Develop a cooperative spirit! Romans 12 :18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” That means cooperate with people. That little prefix “co” has a definition all its own, it means “together as equal.” The other half of the word is “operate.” So, we are to “operate together as equals.” If we are going to live in peace, we are going to have to learn to be cooperative with one another.
Did you know that most marriages break up from inflexibility, more than adultery or infidelity or alcohol abuse? More marriages break up because there is a partner who is just unwilling to budge. They say, “I have just planted myself. I am not going to give any ground. We are just incompatible!” Someone said, Well I found out what that means. It means he does not have the income and she isn’t pat-able.” There should not be such a thing as incompatability among Christians. Anyone can be compatible if you choose. If you make up your mind, you can get along with people. If you make up your mind, you can scope in on what the pain is in someone else’s life and you can be a comfort to them in the name of Jesus.
After dealing with marriages for a number of years as a pastor, II have found out that there are five areas of major conflict you need to deal with:
- In laws
I am telling you. All five areas demand cooperation! You cannot get your way in each of those all the time. You have to flex. You have to recognize the equality of the situation. You have to be willing to yield. The Bible says that yielding or submitting to one another is the characteristic of wisdom. James 3:17 “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere,” James goes on to talk about a wisdom that comes from the world. It is selfish, and full of envy, and prideful, and it creates confusion, and it lets demons into the relationship. Some of you have let demons into your household because you have not been willing to scope in on the other person..
5. Prefer Reconciliation over Resolution.
Reconciliation makes the relationship the priority, while resolution means I have to solve every problem before I have peace. I have news for you. You are not going to solve every problem. It’s not going to happen. You are too different. We all have different histories, and abilities, and personalities. No two people have ever had the exact same experiences. 2 Corinthians 5:18 “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:”
The fundamental thing that God has done for us is that he has chosen to look beyond how different we are from him. He says, “Look, there is a whole lot to resolve.” In my case, as in yours, He said, “There is a whole lot of problems we have to work out. There are shortcomings
and inadequacies, I see in your life.” But God has decided that He is going to make the relationship the priority, and so by the blood of my son Jesus, Go reconciles with us! And then He says, “I will work on the problems, as we stay together.” That’s what God did for you!
Aren’t you glad that God didn’t insist on you resolving all your problems before he accepted you. Some of you would never make it! I know I wouldn’t have. That is not what he does. He says, I will take you as you are. and we will cooperate. We will live together, we will walk together and I will give you my Holy Spirit to comfort and come alongside you! And what God has done for us, we are to do for others.
We know that when we prioritize the relationships in your life, reconciling with each other, We are doing the work of God. What does it mean to reconcile? It means that the power of God that is in you is enough to make the relationship a priority. And a reconciled relationship always brings honor to Jesus.
I am not saying to stop trying to resolve problems. Of course, we continue to work lovingly toward that, but we should prioritize the relationships in our lives to bring peace.
May the fruit of the Spirit peace be in your life.