Monday, November 21, 2011

Fruit of the Spirit: Peace - Lawrence


Over the last few months I have been thinking, in my monthly blog on this site, about the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, spoken of by St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians 5:22, 23. This month, we will consider the fruit of peace.
As we go along in our spiritual life, sometimes we feel that the growth in our spiritual gardens is not corresponding well with the time we have been working on cultivation. But, as in the calendar year, we find that the reality of our flower gardens does not always correspond to our thoughts of what the season should be like, so too within the spiritual life we may see little progress in a fruit of the spirit that we have given a lot of time to cultivate; then suddenly we realize that another fruit of the spirit has had a growth spurt. Hope is given to us that the fruit of the spirit is manifesting and maturing itself within our souls as the Holy Spirit intends.
What about peace the third fruit of the spirit named by St. Paul? We see so much unrest in the world—violence and fighting, wars and uprisings—that it becomes difficult to think of peace being a possibility. Peace in the outside world is something that is beyond our control; peace within ourselves—the peace that passes understanding—the peace that we can have in our hearts and souls even though there may be a lot of difficulty in our lives, in the lives of our loved ones, and in the lives of people half way across the world, this peace that is a fruit of the spirit is a possibility because it is a gift from God.
When we get into bed at night, we often lie awake worrying about all that has happened during the day, or what we have to face tomorrow. We need to find a place for the Lord at the centre of our being. Instead of fretting, we need to put each anxiety into God’s hands. This puts all into perspective and allows the fruit of the spirit, the fruit of peace, to grow.
We ask God to forgive the mistakes we made, and show us how we can make things right. If our worries about someone’s difficulty keep us awake, we need to ask God to strengthen that person and show us what we can do to help. If we are overwhelmed by some project that we have taken on, we ask God to help us discern the amount we can do and give us the courage to say “no” to the rest.
Putting our concerns in God’s hands gives us a sense of God resting within us. We can think of Christ asleep in the boat, his head on a pillow, while the storm rages around. We allow Christ to rest within us and quiet the tempest. Finding that space where Christ dwells within allows us to sleep in God’s peace and power.
If your anxieties keep you awake find the calm place within you where Christ dwells.
Allow Christ to quiet the storm around and within and say, I lie down in peace; at once I fall asleep; for only you, Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8
© Judith Lawrence, first published in April 2008 in  www.judithlawrence.ca/meditations

5 comments:

Peter Black said...

Judith, thank you for this insightful installment of your Fruit of the Spirit series. You present at once practical as well as spiritual insights. I am reminded of the duality of the believer in Christ's relationship: Christ in us (Colossians 1:27), and we in Him (Col. 2:6-7; Eph. 2:6-10ff). And I'm reminded too, that both aspects are illustrated in Jesus' discourse on the True Vine and the branches (John 15).

c van gorkom said...

The God of love my Shepherd is
who makes me down to lie,
in pastures green He leadeth me,
the quiet waters by..."

a song singing in my heart this morning as I go about my work...a song of peace. Thank you for this post!

Judith Lawrence said...

Thank you Peter and C. for your comments on my blog for today. I appreciate them both. I was speaking to someone the other day who said she couldn't watch the news anymore because of all the terrible things that are happening. We need God's peace in ourselves and in the world.

violet said...

I love these lines:

"Putting our concerns in God’s hands gives us a sense of God resting within us. We can think of Christ asleep in the boat, his head on a pillow, while the storm rages around. We allow Christ to rest within us and quiet the tempest. Finding that space where Christ dwells within allows us to sleep in God’s peace and power."


I have to remind myself often to not only put my concerns in God's hands, but to leave them there.

Judith Lawrence said...

Thank you Violet for your kind words. It's always good to hear that someone is attuned to the words one has written.
Ah, yes, there's the rub, to leave our concerns in God's hands!

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