This morning, we continued our conversation on the fruit of the Spirit with thoughts on godly peace and godly patience.
Jesus says in John 14.27, ???Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let your hearts be afraid.??? Godly peace is different than worldly peace. God???s peace in Jesus is a lasting peace, showing the frailties of a worldly peace that continues to let us down. God???s peace isn???t fake or manufactured. It is the real thing, authentic and pure.
In the story of Jesus walking on the water, we find Peter standing there, too, with Christ. As long as he fixes his eyes on Jesus, he stands firm upon the waves. But what happens when he looks to the wind and the current? He falls. The scripture says that he was afraid. At that moment, Peter began to focus on his fear and he was robbed of the peace of Christ. Jesus??? words from our John text encourages, ???Do not let your hearts be afraid.??? It doesn???t say that we will not struggle. It does not say we will not suffer. We will struggle and suffer, but we are not to be afraid. Christ gives us peace, but we must remain in him to receive it.
On patience, we were reminded that godly patience is confidence in the power of God. God will provide, therefore we can have assurance that all will be well in the end. Jesus was patient with the process of his suffering. He submitted to that process, as horrible as it was, and he was given the power to endure. The Psalmist said in Psalm 40, ???I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined and heard my cry.??? The Psalmist knew that God would hear, therefore he waited patiently for him. Our encouragement is to cry out, in both pain and need, believing in our hearts that God will, in fact, hear us. Patience, though, isn???t something that can be manufactured. We all have limits and a worldly patience is conditional, running out when we reach our threshold. But the patience of God, which is given by the Spirit, is one that waits for the will of God. Patience leaves room for grace; for it to be both given and received. Godly patience is an opportunity for grace.
Know that you don???t have to create true peace and patience, but that these things are given by God to us if we will abide in Jesus. If we remain with God, drawing closer to him as he draws closer to us, we will indeed have the fruit of His Holy Spirit dwelling richly in our lives.
Pastor, New Liberty United Methodist Church