THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT – PEACE (4)

Bible Reading: Romans 12:1-21

“Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty (snobbish, high-minded, exclusive), but readily adjust yourself to [people, things] and give yourselves to humble tasks. Never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits…. If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” [Romans 12:16,18 Amplified Bible]

Through Jesus we have peace with God and are able to be at peace with men. Although we have peace it seems to me that because it is a fruit of the Spirit that it must also be something that is growing. Fruit grows and ripens. The more we spend time in the presence of God and the more we are conformed to the image of Jesus, then the deeper that sense of peace with God grows and the more our relationship with others will be right and peaceful. The Bible commands us that as far as possible we are to be at peace with all men [Romans 12:18]

Many years ago. I stayed in a hotel that was owned and run by two friends of mine, but these two men were always at loggerheads with each other. One Monday, the personnel manager at the hotel asked me if we could have lunch together at the hotel coffee shop. She spoilt my lunch by speaking in a very harsh and critical way about her two bosses. The same thing happened on the Tuesday and the Wednesday, and it started annoying me intensely. On the Wednesday evening, I was so frustrated that I asked the Lord to give me a word for her if she came the next day to sit with me for lunch. Sure enough, she turned up again at lunchtime on Thursday, and once again began to criticise her two bosses. I stopped her and told that I had been praying for her and had a word from the Lord for. She was excited until I read it to her. It was some words written by Paul, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: you should mind your own business and work with your hands” [1 Thess. 4:11]. I said that in simple language it says shut up, mind your own business and get back to work! The woman erupted like a volcano. She stood up, stamped her foot on the floor and stormed out of the coffee shop, shouting, “That is not a word from God!”

Three days passed and I neither saw nor heard from the lady, and then she called me, and made such a profound statement that I wrote it in my journal. She said, “Thank you so much Michael, that was a word from God.” Puzzled at her change of attitude I asked her what the Lord had said to her, and she responded by saying, “When I mind other people’s business, I lose my peace”.

Questions:

What does the Biblical command, “As far as is possible be at peace with all men” mean to you in practical terms?

Why is learning to live a quiet life [1 Thessalonians 4:11] such an important aspect of living peaceably?

What are components of living in harmony with others that are found in Romans chapter 12?