The Root of Peace
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. — John 15:16, ESV
What does that mean? Fruit that remains on my kitchen counter does not “abide” or “remain” — it rots. Fruit that remains on a tree or vine eventually falls to the ground and rots. Fruit at the grocery store gets bought and eaten. What is “fruit that abides/remains”?
It’s not just one piece of fruit. It’s a supply of fruit. It’s a tree or a vine or a life that continually produces good fruit. The key to that kind of fruit is in tending a good root.
Motivational speakers attempt to produce fruit in people’s lives by some external force. The Church should be helping people tend good roots, so the fruit of the Holy Spirit grows naturally.
One fruit of the spirit: peace.
Is Your Life Lacking Peace?
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. — Galatians 5:1-21, ESV
Most of the things listed as “works of the flesh” are directly opposed to peace.
And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. — James 3:18, NLT
The ways of the world lead us into anger and discord and rage. But peace isn’t automatic. We need to “plant seeds of peace.”
Where Does the Dischord Come From?
What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? — James 4:1a, NLT
Where do these enemies of peace come from? Where does the fighting and the anger and all of it come from? We usually come up with external answers: my spouse, my boss, my kids, my finances …
Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. — James 4:1b-2, NLT
The source of the fighting and the lack of peace isn’t anything external. It’s within you. And when the external things happen—the financial challenges, the rebellious children, etc.—they apply pressure. Pressure tends to cause whatever is on the inside of you, come out. It will reveal whether you are filled with peace or pride and selfishness.
When the anger starts to leak out, ask yourself two questions:
- What do I want that I’m not getting? It could be a good, holy thing or a not-so-good thing.
- What fight am I willing to wage because I’m not getting it? What cost am I willing to pay?
Conflict always reveals what is within you. Think about counseling and conflict resolution: it forces people to reveal and admit what’s going on inside of them.
Root of Conflict
You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. — James 4:2, NLT
People who don’t pray fight other people because they’re supposed to get respect, love, significance, belonging, etc. from God—but they’re trying to get it from people instead. People can’t give you what you can only get from God.
Yes, your spouse should love and respect you. Your boss should respect you. You children should honor you. But those things will only ever be imperfect, which will never be enough without first getting the real thing from your relationship with God.
How to Find Peace
We think—because the world often tells us—that it’s good to “get things off your chest,” but it’s not God’s wisdom.
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.—Ephesians 4:15, NLT
There is a time for healthy confrontation, in love, but there is also a time to cover.
And above all things, have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’—1 Peter 4:8, NKJV
There is wisdom and maturity in knowing that some things are not worth a fight. That wisdom only comes from spending time in the Word of God and in prayer.
“A Pharisee is hard on others and easy on himself; a spiritual man is hard on himself and easy on others.” – A.W. Tozer
If you have a spouse or a family, you need to be spending time in the Word so God can work on you. Ignoring that responsibility is selfish; it puts the responsibility on everyone else to make sure you are okay.
Have you been fighting lately? Have you been short tempered? The problem is you. Start by examining yourself first.
The Key to Creating Peace in Your Life
Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. — James 4:5-10, ESV
Pride says, “It’s his/her/their fault.” Humility says, “Let me examine myself.”