Hey fam, welcome to part five of the Fruit of the Spirit series and part two of the Peace chapter! Just to quickly recap, the Fruit of the Spirit are the physical manifestations of our walks with Christ. When we depend on and grow in Him, He produces the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in our lives (Galatians 5:22). Last week we began talking about peace. This chapter was actually really hard for me to write because finding peace in my life has always been a huge struggle for me. Finally, the lovely Aaron Fan (editing master) suggested splitting this chapter into two parts. So while the last post was about finding peace with God, this week we'll be talking about how to find peace with each other.
1) Why do we need peace with each other?
a) We were made to have relationships with each other.
This was a point I made back in the Accountability post, but when life becomes too chaotic and overwhelming for me to handle, I usually take it out on my friends and family. I shut them out or lash out at them for absolutely no reason. However, God didn't intend for us to live our lives this way. When we shut ourselves out from others, we get so wrapped up in our own thinking that it becomes harder to rely on God's plan, rather than our own.
"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).
b) We are united as one body under Christ.
Christ's sacrifice didn't only bring us closer to God, but also to each other. As Christians, He united us into "one people when, in his own body on the cross, He broke down the wall of hostility that separated us" (Ephesians 2:14). Now of course, this doesn't mean that because Jesus died, we are all automatically best friends. But because we all seek peace through God, we are united in a common cause, and we have the responsibility to love one other.
2) How do we have peace with each other?
a) Root our identities in Him.
Every issue we have as Christians goes back to our need to surrender to God and to constantly pursue lives that glorify Him. When we put God first rather than our fears and worries, we allow ourselves to strengthen our relationships with Him, as well as with each other. Isaiah 26:3 tells us that when our thoughts are fixed on God, "[we] will keep in perfect peace."
b) Humble ourselves.
One of the most important aspects of surrender, and the one I struggle with the most, is humility. When I get into an argument or have a cold heart towards someone, it's almost always because I think I am right and they are wrong. Moreover, it's often because I look down on that person or think I have better judgment than they do. But here's the way I've learned to look at it... We are all so far beneath God that there is no point in comparing ourselves to each other. I remember Howard once used the analogythat we all "fight for scraps" because we forget what's really out there for us-- eternal life with God. Proverbs 11:2 explains this concept concisely when it says "pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." When we humble ourselves at God's feet and realize that God is in constant pursuit of all of us, it becomes easier to be in constant pursuit of peace with each other, regardless of the gravity of our sins or the pettiness of our arguments.
c) Encourage each other.
As Christians, we are all united as one body in Christ. Therefore we all have a responsibility to God and to one another to love and to constantly pursue peace with each other. "Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing" (1 Peter 3:8-12).
Of course, it is often hard to remember our call from God when we don't see Him. That's why it is so important that we constantly remind each other of His presence and encourage each other to grow closer to Him. One of my favorite verses of all-time is 1 John 4:12 because it recognizes that God isn't always easy to find in our lives. I find it so amazing that we can hold that kind of responsibility to each other to be God's representatives on Earth to each other as well as the rest of our communities.
"No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us" (1 John 4:12).
As this chapter comes to a close, I really hope that these words and God's Word were able to reach out to you guys. I feel like I've grown a lot from studying peace and delving into the Word to find out more about it, and I encourage you guys this week to find a good place in your relationships with God. Call out to Him, humble yourselves at His feet, and I can tell you from experience that He will come through. With that being said, share your experiences with others. Love on them and be in constant pursuit of peace with them just like God is with us. Sleep easy, fam.
SUMMING IT ALL UP:
- Why do we need to find peace with each other?
- We were made to have relationships.
- We are united as one body in Christ.
- How do we find peace with each other?
- Root our identities in Him.
- Humble ourselves.
- Encourage each other.