Every chapter I’ve read so far has told me that the fruits of the Spirit have nothing to do with feelings or circumstances; they are completely manifested through the Holy Spirit. I suppose it’s better late than never to ask, if you consider yourself a Christian, have you been baptized and received the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus was baptized in water, it was after the water baptism, that the Spirit descended like a dove (Matthew 3:16). Later in Acts 8:14-17, it says, “Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost”.
So, I must ask the question again, have you been baptized in water AND received the Holy Spirit. If you have not, I encourage you to seek out your pastor, minister, priest, or bishop and ask them if they would pray that you would receive the Holy Spirit. Without this step, you won’t be able to benefit or manifest the fruits of the Spirit.
Chapter 4: Peace
Elizabeth George introduces the gift of peace by first talking about the circumstances that cause us to fear or have anxiety.
I know for me, anxiety comes when I’m with a group of people, but not able to communicate; it comes when I want to say something but can’t write fast enough; it comes when I think about losing our house and not knowing where we’re going to live; and it comes when I’m trying to focus and I’m distracted by intermittent noises. I have to be careful, because I’ve recognized anxiety causes tremors and sometimes seizures.
George tells us that even though we panic or we fear the unknown, we can still experience the peace that comes from the Holy Spirit. She explains this peace comes from knowing that God is all-sufficient and omnipresent. Therefore, peace does not mean I won’t experience those sources of anxiety, but I can choose to remember Heavenly Father is present when I experience that anxiety.
Again, it’s a choice to be still before the Lord, daily or hourly and ask him for the Holy Spirit to fill you with His peace.
- Personal Peace: What instruction for peace does God offer you in Philippians 4:6 and John 14:1? How do the truths of Romans 8:28 and 1 Corinthians 10:13 encourage you to rest in God’s peace?
Philippians 4:6 says,”Be careful for nothing; but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God”. John 14:1 says, “Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me”. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose”. And, 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it”. All of these verses promise me peace, and if I abide in God’s peace, he will ensure whatever is causing me fear will pass.
- What clues for how to know God’s peace do you find in the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42)? How can the four Scriptures you just looked at help you experience God’s peace in that situation.
I really liked George’s explanation that we are all called to serve the Lord, but it is the perspective we take of that service that will give us peace or panic.
- Relational Peace: Read Colossians 3:12-15. What aspect of your life should the peace of God permeate? According to Romans 14:19, Hebrews 12:14, and 1 Peter 3:11, how does this peace happen? What is your personal responsibility when it comes to ensuring peace in your relationships?
Colossians 3:12-15 says, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved , bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful”. Romans 14:19 says, “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another”. Hebrews 12:14 says, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord”. And, 1 Peter 3:11 says, “Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it”. Having peace in our lives is both a choice and a request. And, allowing the Holy Spirit manifest peace in our lives will help others.
Plan of Action
Consider what areas of your life that cause fear, panic, worry, and anxiety. Choose how you will act in those situations. Will you trust God to give you peace and calm in those situations? Remember God can also give you peace in troublesome relationships.