Is There a Law Against Love?

While Paul wrote that there is no law against love, Tolstoy wrote there is a law of love. He believed that no law prohibits choosing to do what is loving. The Christian is not threatened by external things when he is liberated within to love.

“The divine law of love, which is implanted in the soul of every man and is brought into consciousness by Christ.” –

The Kingdom of God Is Within You by Leo Tolstoy

Three hundred burka-clad women stood at the gate imploring to get in to give their last respects to their beloved doctor. Security forces had warned hospital staff to let only Christians in for the funeral. But these Muslim women would have none of that, they would bring down the gate if they couldn’t say good-bye to the German doctor who had loved them and delivered their babies for over 20 years. Hospital staff decided to open the doors, but under one condition. To ensure identity and that no militants entered disguised as women, every woman went against strict conservative norms to lift her veil, exposing her face to a male, as she walked through the gate.

The lady doctor had served the people in a tribal part of Pakistan, in an area that even police officials dared not trod. Everyone received special care at the hospital whether they were Muslim, Christian, military or Taliban. All experienced the doctor’s loving care, especially the women. She was so well-loved and respected that the Government of Pakistan awarded her a prestigious national award for her dedicated humanitarian work in that region.

The women poured into the church and wept for the one who had loved them so much. Her love, kindness, and gentleness turned potential hostility into friendliness.

Is There a Law Against the Fruit of the Spirit?

Paul says there is no law against the fruit of the Spirit. But that was centuries ago, what about today? A quick search of Google says it is still true. There is no law against the kind of love Paul writes to us about. Rather, the fruit often breaks down barriers and binds enemies into friends.

I live in a restricted country where we must be careful what we say and who we associate with. We must be mindful not to loudly declare our displeasure with anything or anyone in the establishment. That is if we value our lives. My husband and I laughingly say, “We have no rights, only responsibilities. And ours is the bigger word.” No one can object to love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Some have bad-mouthed us in the face of kindness, but we will never be charged for having and demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit. Others have seen the fruit and it has softened the heart and bound us together.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23

No Water for Ablution

To illustrate I will share one more story.

Adil’s employee approached him, “The water pump at the mosque is broken and no one can wash before prayers.” Adil picked up his toolbox and with his employee in tow, went to the neighbourhood mosque to repair the pump. Fortunately, it was an easy fix he could do with a little help from his employee. A gaunt old man, leaning against his cane, watched. When the repairs were finished, he turned to the religious leader and asked, “Where are all your rich cronies? Could they not do this task? Look, here is the one you call a kafar (infidel) doing it for us. He didn’t have to do it, but out of the kindness of his heart he came.” An act of kindness is noticed and usually well-received.

And that, folks, brings my posts on the fruit of the Spirit to a conclusion.

The next time you see that prostitute, that gay person, that transgender, that Muslim, Hindu, atheist, whoever it might be; how can you demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit with that person? How can we love our neighbour as ourselves? In what ways can we be a Good Samaritan to those who are outside our comfort zone?

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The Fruit of Self-Control: Something I Need

The Fruit of Self-Control: Something I Need

When we think of someone with a lack of self-control, perhaps we turn to a historical figure like Henry VIII. Henry is known for his enormous appetite, six wives and multiple executions during his reign. One could say that he overindulged and had no self-control. But we don’t have to go back into history, most of us overindulge at the dinner table at Christmas, New Years’ Day, Thanksgiving or on other festive times. You might be wondering what controlling our appetites has to do with the fruit of self-control. Surely, Paul is talking about a different kind of control. Isn’t he? The self-control Paul talks about is sensual appetites and desires that requires not only mental but also physical self-control, something we all need more of.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23

I Could Do with More Self-Control

Couldn’t we all! So how do we get more self-control over our bodies and minds? Where do we get that power? It is the Holy Spirit that gives us the ability to exercise self-control. So, there you have it folks, try as you might, on your own, the amount of self-control we need to be fruitful isn’t from within, it’s from the Holy Spirit. That is a relief and takes the pressure off us as we turn to God and ask him for another measure of self-control. We don’t have to do it by ourselves. Let’s run to our Abba Father and ask him for the self-control we need.

Okay, it can help us control our appetite and maybe lose a pound or two, but what else can it do? Besides keeping us from sensual sins, what benefits does self-control have?

Creates Harmony, Not Discord

A gentle response, rather than words spoken hastily in anger, creates harmony. Controlling our tempers doesn’t mean that we can’t be upset, but maybe it is that proverbial counting to ten before speaking that creates peace in the family or the workplace. Disciplining a child should be a controlled event, not a cuff over the head with curses angrily spoken. Relationships flourish rather than diminish when the fruit of self-control is exercised.

Strengthens our Relationship with God

This is a rich one. With a strengthened relationship in God, often our other relationships are strengthened too. The graphic illustration of a vertical relationship with God means a horizontal relationship with people. While this is often true, it isn’t always so. New believers from other religions embrace Christ, often at great costs. What is most precious is Jesus Christ and him alone. Paul understood that when he said, “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things” (Philippians 3: 8). We don’t know how Paul’s family took his conversion to Jesus Christ, but being Pharisees, I imagine some members were not happy with him. Yet, he held himself in control to follow Christ. Furthermore, he often likened the Christian life to that of an athlete in training. Athletes require lots of self-control. Self-control encourages perseverance which means the prize at the end of the race will be won.

What area of your life requires more self-control? How will you acquire that added measure of self-control?

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Shrouds Over Eden: A Voice For The Broken-Hearted by Helen Khan

Shrouds Over Eden
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Shrouds Over Eden: A Voice For The Broken-Hearted

Helen Khan weaves an allegorical narrative through societal traditions that sanction domestic abuse and inequality towards women, but the garden gives a welcomed response of unconditional love, respect and dignity.

Sonu, the narrator, takes the reader on a journey through her neighbourhood, Baraka Colony, that explains the societal mindset where violence towards women is expected and accepted behaviour.

Sonu sees her mother abused and as the terror in their home intensifies, escapes to a magical garden where the shrouds are lifted to reveal a world she has never known. It is here she meets Lamb who teaches her that women deserve respect and kindness. Never having seen real love before, she meets unconditional love.

In contrast to the tragedy of her world, her repeated escapes into the garden are a triumphal chorus of hope, encouragement and strength. Now she has a story of hope and redemption to tell, and even in death she continues her journey throughout the earth sharing that women are worthy of love and respect.

If you have ever felt disrespected or have been abused, a journey with Sonu to her garden will give you the same encouragement and strength that she received there, especially from Lamb.

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The Compelling Tug of the Fruit of Gentleness

Fruit Of Gentleness

When you meet someone gentle in spirit, how does it make you feel? There is something compelling about that gentle person that draws us in. Their gentleness tugs at our hearts and minds. The fruit of gentleness doesn’t hurt, rather it is a soothing balm that caresses our souls, minds and hearts. There is also humility to the person that says, I am equal to you, we are no different. A gentle person draws us, includes us in his or her circle of “family”.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23

Is it Meekness or Gentleness?

The Greek word prautes means tame.

We have an 8-month Black Labrador Retriever. He can be mischievous, rebellious, naughty, abounding in energy and excitable. If he had his way, he would chew on everything and jump all over people while excitedly greeting people. Over the months we have had him, we are teaching him good manners; that chewing shoes and jumping on people is not acceptable behaviour. He hasn’t got it all figured out, but he is much calmer and has learned to control his excitable nature. Our pooch knows the pigeons are off-limit and doesn’t go after them. Now for a retriever that is remarkable. But the stray kittens are another matter! His calm and gentle disposition doesn’t mean he isn’t strong. When he races across an open field, his strength is evident. But that energy is now harnessed.

We too are like that animal that needs to be tamed. When we open ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit, He controls our temperament to live in harmony with others, but more than that, to extend the gift of friendship, love and mercy even to those we think are unlovable. We are no longer “roaring lions” but “purring kittens”.

Where Do We Go to Learn Gentleness?

Jesus was the ultimate Gentleman. He harnessed all the energy and power of heaven to come and live among us as a man. He put it on hold for those 30 some years he lived on earth. The “Great I Am” stood before his slaughters and didn’t retaliate and he taught his followers to “turn the other cheek”, “to love our enemies and pray for those that persecute us.” (Matthew 5:44). We have the perfect example of meekness in Christ Jesus.

Jesus described himself as gentle, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.”- Matthew 11:29.

The Holy Spirit works in our lives. Without control of the Holy Spirit, we have the potential to be uncontrolled, destructive, obnoxious human beings. It is the Holy Spirit that produces the fruit of gentleness in our lives.

What does Gentleness Look Like?

Gentleness is calmness, holding our affections and passions in check, in an even balance. It is the external evidence of a mild disposition. Peter had much to learn about gentleness. It was impetuous Peter who drew his sword in the Garden of Gethsemane. Cutting off someone’s ear was not outside his realm. But what did Jesus say? “Put your sword back in its place.” “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26: 52-53) He tells Peter that a milder, meeker disposition is required and to follow his example. Eventually, Peter did learn that meekness was better than the sword for after Christ’s death he shepherded the flock. That takes strength, but also a gentle hand.

What does gentleness look like? It looks like Jesus. Let’s follow in his footsteps and ask the Holy Spirit to mould us into what we ought to be.

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Faithfulness’ Dependency on the Holy Spirit

Good fruit on a tree isn’t produced independently of the tree, nor of the nutrients flowing up the roots towards the branches. Good fruit isn’t produced just because the branch wants it so. So where do we go when we are commanded to bear the fruit of faithfulness? 

The apostles had it right when they cried, “Increase our faith.” They knew apart from Jesus, their faith was weak, perhaps even not apparent. We are no different than the apostles, our faithfulness is dependent on the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23

What Does Faithfulness Look Like?

The beginning of faith is a belief in God, the conviction that Jesus is the Messiah, and it is him that gives us eternal life. That is the evidence of the fruit faithfulness.

We Trust God

We trust God because he is faithful. He has already shown us what faithfulness looks like. We have learned through time and experience that God is faithful, we are confident in his faithfulness towards us.

“All the promises of God are yes, in Christ Jesus.” (2 Corinthians 1:20)

God is a promise keeper. When we pray and God answers, we learn he is faithful. Over time, when we realize God protects us and provides for us all the time, our confidence in his faithfulness increases.

His Faithfulness Increases our Dependability

Because of God’s fidelity, we become faithful not only to God but to our word and promises. Soon people find that they can trust us or even confide in us about their deepest secrets.

Christian women who work with South Asian women quickly become the sole confidant for these Asian women because they know that their secrets go nowhere but to God. They have confidence that their Christian friend will not gossip.

This is a reflection on the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers who say we must produce fruit worthy of a faithful and trustworthy God. God says we are not to gossip; therefore, we will keep his word. It’s all about him.

The Fruit of Faithfulness Is Not a Feeling

Faithfulness is not a feeling we have towards God, but rather is a demonstration of the influences of the Holy Spirit who directs and controls our feelings towards people. The Christian is a faithful wife, husband, child, neighbour, employee. A Christian is someone others can depend on. We are reliable in our words and actions.

Even in difficulties and opposition, we are to be found faithful to those around us and to God. Only the work of the Holy Spirit can produce that kind of faithfulness. Even if others are not faithful to us, God calls us to exercise the fruit of faithfulness.

What are some examples of bearing the fruit of faithfulness when others are not faithful towards us, or when we are going through difficulties? Maybe you have a compelling story to tell about faithfulness.

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How Good is the Fruit of Goodness?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “good” as having a “favourable character”. That would be Charlie Brown. “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” allows us to love Charlie who is friendly and polite and strives to triumph over difficulties. He is a good man, but is this the kind of goodness Paul is talking about? How good is the fruit of goodness? And can we be that good?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23

What Does Goodness Mean in the Bible?

Goodness has to do with uprightness of heart and life. Are we an upright character? That means a moral correctness that is expressed in action. It means that we must have a morally good heart that does good things. So yes, Charlie Brown is good, but as believers we need to go further and look to Him who is holy. That is the true measure of goodness. Furthermore, we cannot achieve that degree of goodness on our own, we need Him who transforms lives.

“We pray for God’s power to help you do all the good things you hope to do, and your faith makes you want to do.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11.

Lest We Get Too Proud

A ruler came to Jesus and said, “Good teacher, what must I do to have eternal life?” Then Jesus questioned him and said that only God is good. On our own we are terribly flawed. Even our righteous acts are as filthy rags. We are all sinners and none of us does good. Oh, God help us to be good like Jesus, like you. We need God’s help desperately.

We are called to bear the fruit of goodness. Unless we are grafted into the good tree, the good branch we can bear no fruit. It may appear as good, but it is flawed. Terribly flawed.

Self-righteousness, conceit, false motivations, all these “hidden agenda’s creep into any goodness we attempt on our own. May the cleansing blood of Jesus produce in us good fruit worthy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town probably expresses goodness better, “He knows if you’ve been bad or good. So be good for goodness sake!” What if we wrote instead, “Jesus knows if you have been bad or good. So be good for goodness sake! Jesus is coming to town tonight.”

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The Fruit of Kindness by Helen Khan

“Kind words of a friend when your outlook is gloom, how it brightens your day like the dawn” are two lines from one of my mother’s favourite hymns, The Best Things in Life are Free. We all need kind words and we all like to think that we are kind. Maybe we are kind some of the time, but can we say that we are overflowing with the fruit of kindness? Do we need to always bear fruit? Do we bear fruit in season only and when is that season?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5: 22-23 (NIV)

I don’t find a Bible verse that says I can pick the season when I bear fruit. When I read passages that say, “always be ready”, that means I need to always be fruitful. But the truth is I am incapable of bearing fruit all the time. I am not always kind. I need help, I need to be filled. Where can I get a good outpouring of kindness to fill my cup?

Jesus is Kindness Personified

Jesus is the ultimate example and outpouring of kindness. God, in his great lovingkindness towards us, laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all so that we might be saved from destruction and have LIFE with him, now and forever more. He bore our transgressions while we were yet sinners so that we would be saved from death. This is called unconditional love, a condition of kindness

God calls us to be imitators of him, as beloved children to walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But this too is impossible without God’s help. It is through Jesus our minds are renewed when we “put on the new self that has been created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4: 24 NIV). It is only in Jesus we bear the fruit of kindness in and out of season.

Kindness is Love in ACTION.

Kindness has many synonyms: generousness, consideration, mercifulness, charitableness and many more. It is only kindness if there is no expectation of praise or reward. (I think most of us fail this test.) I know of only one who passed it. His name is Jesus.

Every act and every word that Jesus did while on earth was an expression of pure lovingkindness. His kindness was of the radical variety for he befriended prostitutes, tax-collectors, the poor, the ragged and even a thief on a cross. Oh, what a liberal he was!

Liberal you say! This is not a political statement – that is a whole different discussion. I am playing with words because Jesus was liberal with the sinner but never liberal with sin.

Jesus bent down and told the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more. He had compassion for her but not for her sin. Jesus showed mercy, compassion, sorrow for the downtrodden sinner and righteous indignation with the religious bigots. He touched the leper, the blind, the repentant sinner and wept for the self-righteous who didn’t recognise their disease and need for the Physician.

This was LOVE in ACTION.

This is what kindness is, an outpouring of love that is active and touches lives. In Aesop’s fable The Lion and the Mouse, “the moral of the story is no act of kindness is ever wasted.” God’s kindness towards us is not wasted. Let us pour out the fruit of kindness unto EVERYONE because God has so generously poured out lovingkindness for us.

I would love to hear back from you about stories of kindness. Has someone shown kindness to you? Have you shown kindness to someone who needed “kind words when their outlook was gloom”? Please leave a comment about kindness.

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What is the Fruit of Forbearance?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5: 22-23 (NIV)

We have so much to learn about forbearance from our Heavenly Father. As much as the verse reminds us that there is no law against the fruit of the Spirit (aka practice them), it is really all about the Father. It is his nature of patience and longsuffering that we ought to bear.

A dictionary definition of forbearance is “refraining from the enforcement of something.” Synonyms include patience, longsuffering, tolerance, restraint, and self-control, among others. Depending on your version of the Bible, the verse may read patience or longsuffering, but I have used forbearance because it comes closer to what it means. The Cambridge Bible commentary states it is an “attribute of God, which means patience sustained under injuries and provocation.”

Forbearance, God’s Style

Love Covers Sin

This doesn’t mean that he turns a blind eye to what we have done. God is so holy that his eye cannot even look at sin. What it does mean that God in his divine forbearance passed over former sins until the time of Christ on earth. It means that God in his mercy provided the way out for our sins. Jesus, His Son bore the penalty so we wouldn’t have to. Jesus paid the price. “God demonstrated his love to us, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. God has every right to punish us to the full for our sinful lives, but he has chosen to show mercy and love by sending us his Son to be our substitute. That is forbearance.

Forgiveness

Forbearance is a legal term where a lender refrains from exercising a legal right. It is used often with mortgages and other loans whereby enforced payment of a debt is either delayed or waived. An example of this is found in Matthew 18 when the king wanted his borrowers to pay back what they owed. One servant owed a considerable sum, so large he, his wife and children would have had to be sold into slavery to pay the debt. The servant begged for mercy and the king, “took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.” That is forbearance, forgiveness of a debt.

Desires That None Should Perish

Forbearance doesn’t mean slowness or weakness. But it does mean patience and longsuffering. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” God’s love, his mercy, his kindness, his goodness, his forbearance means that he holds back from that final day of judgement so that we might have every opportunity to repent.

How Do We Forbear?

As followers of Christ, we are to “walk in the Light, as he is in the Light”. We are to imitate Christ, to have the nature of our Father. But what does that look like?

To finish the story on the servant who owed much, he was also an unmerciful and unforgiving servant for, even though he had been forgiven much, he did not forgive his fellow servants who owed him little. The king, when he heard the news, threw the unmerciful servant in prison. It was at this point he got what he deserved. We ought not to be like the unforgiving, unmerciful servant.

We are to exhibit mercy, forgiveness, long-suffering, forbearance, looking to our Heavenly Father and to the Lord Jesus Christ to follow their example. Forbearance also includes humility for we recognise our own sins and failures before God so we are not the first to judge and “cast stones” at those who wrong us. A humble person forgives easily. We exercise self-control and turn the other cheek rather than striking back. We love, for “love covers a multitude of sins”.

As I reflect on what is happening around us today, where everyone has rights and demands their rights at the expense of others, forbearance is a word we need to bring back into our vocabulary and use it in our everyday lives. We need to exercise it. We need to forgo some of our rights and take on our responsibilities as trustworthy children of God.

On a personal digression:

In Pakistan, where I live, might is right. That Toyota Hilux on the road has more might and rights than we do in our little Suzuki WagonR (aka cheap & small). We get cut off a lot! When it happens, we have learned to say, “They have rights, we have responsibilities, and our word is bigger than theirs.” Some might call that choosing forbearance as we forgo our rights and let others exercise their power and prestige. Whatever you might call it, it’s laughter and sanity in an insane world.

Do you have a forbearance story to tell?

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Where Peace Eludes

Keeping on the theme of peace, here is one of my poems on peace.

War Eludes Peace
Peace! What catalyst begets its demise?
What besets man and nation where peace dies?
We, proud and selfish; hate brings our discord,
We abhor our neighbours, draw the sword,
We use religion to pit man against others,
We in self-righteous piety have no brothers.
We’re conduits that thwart peaceful creation,
Man, the bullish Gurzil wars to his damnation!
Peace! Where are the peace-loving Mandelas?
Replaced with warlords, the latest Mangalas;
Strive for eternity, zeal outweighs faith,
Empires on heaven and earth; peace we scathe
Forget love one another, carry our brothers,
Envy and selfish ambition, it smothers.
With scowling fervor and blood lusting cries,
Slaughter God’s creation watch as he dies.
We obliterate man made in God’s image,
Heralding the Almighty’s righteous rage.

Peace Answers
Where Peace Eludes
WISDOM calls, “Listen, I speak of noble things,
Peace I bring to you, not as the earth brings.
Come Prince of Peace, a millennium reign,
Unity, reunion with God and man now gain.
Children laughing, playing in quiet streets
Where lamb and lion, in harmony meets,
Where weapons fashioned to plough shares,
Selfish desires gone; each brother now cares.
Fear vanquished, wars relentless onslaught stilled,
Hearts with love for one another now filled.
Come, thou eternal kingly Word Supreme,
Peace, that elusive dream is the King’s regime.
 
Consider the Prince of Peace, evil He stills,
Peace, incomprehensible, He instills.

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The Spirit’s Fruit of Peace

And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another.
This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. (Ecclesiastes 4:4)

The common mantra is peace is found within us. Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.” Peace is a state of being word, but is it something we can actualize within ourselves through meditation, positive thinking, philanthropy, or any other self- produced action or thought we may engage in? What is the source of the fruit of peace and how do we develop it?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5: 22-23

What is Peace?

Peace, we all want it.

There is no peace in some homes. A wife, subject to domestic violence, longs for peace in her home, peace where her husband doesn’t beat her anymore. A child aches for peace where mother and father don’t fight. A mother wishes her toddlers would give her some peace and quiet. Could she just have the house to herself for a day, or go out with girlfriends for coffee? All of us want peace.

Humankind clamours for world peace. We yearn for “peace on earth and goodwill towards men.” The UN is our biggest global peace agency. Organizations and committees are formed to develop peace talks and strategies so hopefully, someday we will have peace. Recently, world leaders brokered a peaceful economic normalization agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, but is that peace?

Peace begins at home, in the heart. The Hebrew word “Shalom” means peace. Derivatives of “Shalom” are “Salaam”, used by Christians in East Asia and “As salaam u-alaikum” used by Muslims throughout the world. Paul started his letters with words of “Grace and Peace”. What did Paul’s greetings of peace mean?

Reconciliation between man and God is the ultimate peace we can have. Without reconciliation with God, there can be no peace. We might have a peaceful world, a peaceful family, a peaceful life, but whether we have peace, or no peace, is determined by the relationship we have with God through Jesus Christ who is the Prince of Peace.

Where Does Peace Come From?

Jesus said, 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. (John 14:27) So, not only is Jesus the real Joy-giver, he is also our Peace-giver. Without the Prince of Peace, there is no peace.  Jesus made peace for us between God and mankind through his blood. “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:19-20)

First, we need to be reconciled to God, then we will have inner peace. That folks is the beginning place for peace.

What Peace Isn’t

Some of us try to work out our salvation through good deeds. We bypass Jesus and believe our good works are going to get us to heaven. I live in a country where this belief is dominate in the religion. And all I see is strife. When we strive for a foot into heaven, we open the door to competitiveness, comparison, to jealousy, to strife, contention, and religious self-righteousness. Better that we simply rest in the finished work of Christ. It puts all men on equal ground, therefore, there is no striving because he completed it for us. In Christ we don’t have to fight anymore because we rest in him for our salvation.

What Does Peace Look Like?

At Peace with Troubles: People who have inner peace because of the finished work of Christ, are not troubled or afraid. That doesn’t mean we don’t have troubles, or we don’t ever worry or are afraid. We are human, but the general direction of our heart is at peace because we trust God for his protection and provisions for now and all eternity. Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the word. (John 16:23)

All Are Respected and Equal: There is no enmity since Jesus “has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” So we don’t have to divide ourselves into male vs. female, blacks vs. whites, Catholics vs. Protestants, etc. We are all equal in Christ Jesus. That doesn’t say we don’t recognize difference, but those differences do not divide us. We are united in Christ.

Live Peacefully With All Men: Because we have inner peace, we “love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us and pray for those who mistreat us” (Luke 6: 27-28). We stand as peacemakers, seeking justice for those who are oppressed, downtrodden and rejected in society.

Inner peace doesn’t say that wars will end, in fact they will increase as we near the end of the age. But we can remain calm amid the storm. That is the peace that passes all understanding, a peace that the world doesn’t have.

What does peace look to you?

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