If you should ever journey to Israel, the first greeting you will hear is “Shalom”—peace be with you.
We occasionally sing the little chorus,
I’ve got peace like a river,
I’ve got peace like a river,
I’ve got peace like a river in my soul.
As is often said for the Christ follower, peace is not just the absence of war; it is the presence of peace in your soul. Having the “peace fruit” means you have a sense of harmony and tranquility, a rest in your soul in spite of chaos in your life. While it is always available, our awareness and benefit is once again dependent on staying connected to the “vine” (Jesus.)
At times, we become overwhelmed with work loads, responsibilities, activities, and expectations which crowd out peace. Unresolved issues and worry, fretfulness and bitterness also serve as enemies to our peace.
As we allow the Spirit to grow that inner peace, it provides us a place to go when the storms and heavy winds of life try to overpower and bring defeat. I heard a beautiful illustration of this very thing.
Once there was a king who offered a prize to the artist who could paint the best picture of peace. Many artists submitted their masterpieces, but the king narrowed it down to two paintings.
One picture had a calm lake that mirrored beautiful mountains complete with fluffy white clouds in a pale blue sky. Many thought this a perfect picture of peace.
The second picture had rugged, bare mountains with an angry, dark sky full of torrential rain and lightning. A foaming waterfall rushed down the mountain. This did not look peaceful at all, but then the king noticed behind the waterfall a bush growing. In the bush, a mother bird had built a nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry waters, the mother bird sat on her nest—a picture of perfect peace.
The king chose the second picture, because, he said, “Peace does not mean a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.
A tip—when you feel overwhelmed, stop, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Inhale the Spirit, exhale anxiety. Try that right now. Close your eyes and as you breath deeply, say in your mind, “Inhale the Spirit, exhale anxiety. Inhale the Spirit, exhale anxiety.” Memorize it, practice it.
Peace is not a place, it is a person—Jesus Christ. While Jesus was at a dinner, a sinful woman wept and washed the feet of Jesus with her tears. He said to her,
“Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50
Jesus explained things to His disciples before He was crucified.
“The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave you; my peace I give you.” John 14:26-27
When Jesus appeared to His disciples after the crucifixion, the first thing He said was,
“Peace be with you.” John 20;19
Inhale the Spirit (of peace), exhale anxiety.
~ Joyce ~