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In Galatians 5:22-23 Paul lists the "fruit of the Spirit" -- the characteristics and qualities produced by the Holy Spirit within Christians who are steadfast in faith and obedient to God's commands.

That "fruit" is an entire garden of virtues: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. In previous devotionals we have looked at many of these fruits. Today we'll look at the fruit of peace.

The scripture that probably comes to mind for most of us is Philippians 4:6-7:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

How many sleepless nights, medications, and stressful days could be eliminated if we just took Paul's advice? How often do we forget God is waiting to hear from us and lift our burdens? How often do we forget to be thankful for our blessings?

What if we started each morning with a prayer of thanksgiving and a request to God to hear our problems and help out in the manner He sees fit?

And what if we ended each day with a bedtime prayer thanking God for another day, asking Him to relieve us of our anxieties, and give us His peace?

Think about it.

We would find our anxieties diminishing and an incredible sense of peace -- God's peace -- washing over us, knowing that God is in control, loves us, and will bless us and keep us according to His perfect will.

Wow! Let's try to make such a morning prayer and such a bedtime prayer a habit.

If we have the peace of God, we will discover we're less inclined to argue and more inclined to show grace and understanding. The impact on the other person (and on us) will be palpable.

We can have this fruit -- this peace -- if we remain strong in our faith and strive to be obedient to God's commands, and if we go to God in prayer with thankful hearts and minds and simply ask Him to be with us and watch over us and show us the path to take in the midst of pain, confusion, or anxiety.

In my book, Walking With God, I discuss how the Mississippi River, as it flows by the towering bluffs of Natchez, Mississippi, is a powerful metaphor for God's greatness and power and blessings. Yet it also evokes an incredible sense of peace as it slowly and silently rolls on. "Peace like a river."

"If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea."
- Isaiah 48:18

"Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble."
- Psalm 119:165

"Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it."
- Psalm 34:14

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
- Jesus, John 16:33




Copyright 2020 James Wallace

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