But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23, ESV)
For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:6, ESV)
As a teenager in the late 60s and early 70s, the word “peace” was something I often heard. Young people wore peace symbols around their necks and gave each other the peace sign (two fingers forming the letter “V”). Peace meant an end to war, living together in harmony. Songs from that era, such as “Get Together,” “Give Peace a Chance,” and “Peace Train” promoted the idea of peace in the world. Peace is something that, even now, so many people strive for.
God’s Word speaks often about peace. In fact, in the King James Version of the Bible, the word “peace” appears 429 times! In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word most often translated as “peace” is shalom. Shalom can mean peace, prosperity, success, friendliness, and may even be used as a greeting. It may be applied to the state of one particular person or to the relationships between people, nations, and even between God and man. In the New Testament, the Greek word most often translated as peace is eirēnē. As with the Hebrew word shalom, this word can have various connotations, such as a greeting, the end of hostilities between people or nations, or the presence of tranquility.
Scripture makes it clear that peace is important to all, but especially to those who follow Christ. It is through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for us that we have peace with God (Ephesians 2:13-16). Peace is so important to the life of a follower of Christ that Paul has listed it as the third fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul also stressed the importance of peace to the life of the believer, pointing out that while setting one’s mind on things of the flesh is death, setting one’s mind on the Spirit is life and peace (Romans 8:6).
The peace that we receive through Christ is a gift. That gift is reconciliation with God, which is made available to us through Christ. And this is why peace is so important to the life of a believer. It is why we must seek to cultivate this fruit of the Spirit in our lives. As a fruit of the Spirit, peace should be our goal as we relate to those around us. Romans 12:18 tells us that, as far as it depends on each one of us, we should seek to live peaceably with others. Hebrews 12:14 tells us that we should strive for peace not just with some people, but with everyone. As a fruit of the Spirit, peace should also be what identifies us as children of God. Jesus said that those who are peacemakers are blessed because they will be called sons of God (Matthew 5:9).
Our fallen human nature does not lend itself to the peace that we should seek to produce in our lives. But, God has given us His Holy Spirit to help us to develop this fruit in our lives. As we allow Him to work in us, as we set our minds not on the flesh but on the Spirit, He will help us to cultivate peace in our lives.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.