The fruit of peace and rest of soul are a gift of Christ to His followers. The Holy Spirit gives the Christian several distinct advantages in bearing the fruit of peace.
Galatians 5:22–23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
1. We have the fruit of peace with God.
- Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The world does not have peace with God, but Christ reconciled us to the Father. We are His sons and daughters and will dwell in His house forever. Our sins are forgiven, and there is no condemnation to us who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1) We have the fruit of peace in our hearts because Christ brought us into a right relationship with God.
2. Our fruit of peace increases as the Holy Spirit helps us become inwardly whole.
The Holy Spirit comes inside at salvation and begins to make us whole. Each step toward wholeness increases our inner peace. Prior to salvation, our mind and heart were not on the same page nor at rest. Further, our emotions were not purified, our will was not submitted to God, and our flesh was not in subjection to our spirit. All these internal conflicts were (and maybe still are) stealing our fruit of peace.
But Jesus promised rest for our souls, for our mind, will, and emotions.
- Matthew 11:28–30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
A. The Holy Spirit helps us get mind and heart on the same page.
- Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The Word of God is sharp enough to divide soul from spirit. For example, our born-again heart (spirit) tells us to do what the Word says, but if our head chooses to do something else, we are inwardly divided and our heart condemns the poor choice our "logical" mind made. (1 John 3:20-22) We no longer have peace because our mind and heart are fighting each other.
The Lord re-created our spirit (or heart) when we were born again, but He did not re-create our mind. Our born-again spirit is in contact with the Holy Spirit, who is our guide in life. (John 16:13) This means our heart is in tune with God, but our mind is still in tune with the world and its ways.
For this reason the Apostle Paul instructed the church,
- Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
We can't do the "good and acceptable and perfect will of God" until we get our minds renewed and begin to think like Jesus thinks. In order to harmonize heart and head, we must meditate daily in God’s Word. The more our mind understands the Lord and His ways of guiding us, the more easily we obey the godly promptings of our heart. When our mind and heart no longer fight each other, we are able to bear the fruit of peace.
B. The Holy Spirit purifies our emotions.
We are to forgive others even as Christ has forgiven us. Jesus taught that unforgiveness was the greatest hindrance to answered prayer.
- Mark 11:25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”
Forgiveness is the greatest cleansing we can give our emotions. If we do not forgive, then we live with inner torment that does not go away until we forgive those who hurt us. (Matthew 18:21-35, 1 Peter 1:22, 1 Timothy 1:5) We can't bear the fruit of deep and abiding peace until we have forgiven unconditionally.
C. The Holy Spirit helps us submit our will to the will of God.
Two wills cannot live in one body, anymore than two people could drive one car even if there were two steering wheels, gas pedals, and brakes. Either God is in the driver's seat or you are. Jesus did not seek His own will but the will of the Father who sent Him. (Luke 22:42, John 4:34, 6:38) Only by dying to our will do we come alive to God’s will and find out who we really are and discover the gifts He placed in us. When we use the gifts He gave, we experience joy and fulfillment, and bear the fruit of peace because we have discovered who we are in Him and our place in the church. Submitting your will to God means you can say with Jesus, "Not my will, but Yours, be done." (Luke 22:42) When you are yielded to the will of God for your life, you have the fruit of peace within.
D. The Holy Spirit empowers our spirit to bring our flesh under control.
God created your spirit to be in charge of your flesh. Your flesh is like a child, and your spirit is the parent. As a child-ruled home is out of order, so a body-ruled Christian is out of order. When your spirit rules your flesh, the Bible calls you a spiritual person. But if your flesh rules your spirit, the Bible calls you a carnal (or fleshly) Christian. You have to tell your flesh, No, and mean it. Your spirit is to rule your flesh with a rod of iron. Unlike steel, iron is unyielding and unbendable. Your flesh may whine and whimper, but your spirit has power in Christ to keep telling it, No. You produce the fruit of peace when your flesh is disciplined to God's Word.
- Romans 8:5–7 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.
3. The Holy Spirit helps us improve our relationship skills, so we can bear the fruit of peace with others.
- This means we must control our tongues. James 3:1-12
- We must be patient and kind. 1 Corinthians 13:4
- We must give up strife, which is a sign of carnality. 1 Corinthians 3:3, 2 Timothy 2:23-24, Ephesians 4:31-32
- We must live peaceably with all men. Romans 12:18, Hebrews 12:14
4. We have peace when our mind is focused on God and His Word.
God keeps us in perfect peace when our mind is stayed on Him.
- Isaiah 26:3
You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Those who are spiritually minded enjoy life and peace. Romans 8:6
5. Peace acts like an umpire in our hearts.
The peace or lack of peace in your heart is a guide for living.
- Colossians 3:15 (AMP) And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].
When you have heart-peace with the decision you’re about to make, then prayerfully move forward. If you are unsettled on the inside, then wait and keep praying. This verse not only applies to individuals, but peace is to rule in the body of Christ to settle strife and preserve the unity.
6. To have peace that surpasses understanding, pray about everything with thanksgiving.
The Apostle Paul tells us that we are to be anxious for nothing.
- Philippians 4:6–7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Be anxious for nothing?! Some of us are professional worriers. If we didn’t worry, we wouldn’t have anything to talk about. But the secret to peace that surpasses understanding is praying about everything with an attitude of thanksgiving to God. We not only are to pray about the big things but to pray about the little things as well. Sometimes it's the "little foxes that spoil the vines." (Song of Solomon 2:15) Only then can the peace of God mount a guard over our hearts and minds.
7. Peace is a gift, purchased for us on the cross.
The first words Jesus spoke to His assembled disciples in the upper room after his resurrection were these, “Peace be with you.”
- John 20:19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
The word peace, or shalom in Hebrew, has a full wheel of meaning. Some of the spokes are completeness, soundness, wholeness, safety, prosperity, well-being, satisfaction, health, and peace. It sounds like good news for the whole man—spirit, soul, and body—and that’s exactly what Jesus obtained for us through His cross and resurrection. Peace is our heritage in Christ. It is the gift He gave that is produced in us by the Holy Spirit.
- John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
You can get instant access to my free ebook, "6 Simple Keys to the Peace that Surpasses Understanding" by clicking below. The book goes into more detail on living in peace of mind and heart.