As Christians we are called to show forth the glory of
God in our
lives. We may want this and strive for this, but continually find ourselves
so severely lacking. The hardest area seems to be in our attitudes. Even if
we do what is right, so often we do it with the wrong attitude. The attitudes
clearly manifest themselves and the attitudes quickly grab a hold of us. We
are not to murmur yet how quickly we do. Php 2:14 Do all things without
murmurings and disputings: We are called upon to go out of our way to help
someone and we grudgingly give our help with a smile thinking we're doing
this for Jesus. 1Pe 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging. How
do we overcome this fatal flaw? Abiding in the peace of God we have all the
answers, all the victory and all the directions. Let's lay some ground work
for a clearer understanding of this.
WALKING IN THE SPIRIT
Well, actually the answer given in the scriptures is fairly easy to
find, it's carrying it out that proves difficult. First, lets look at the answer.
Mt 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit
indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Mr 14:38)
Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the
words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
Ro 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we
were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness
of the letter.
Ro 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the
Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
Ga 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust
of the flesh.
Eph 3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be
strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
Looking at these verses, we first see that the spirit has the right
desire. The wrong attitudes follow the flesh. We can also see that the
overcoming of the fleshly tilt is accomplished via battling. Prayer and
carefulness. Jesus would not have enjoined them to watch and pray to be
overcomers, if the watching and praying would not have accomplished this.
Next, we see that the spirit does that which is needed in our life. So
here we have the direction that the spirit is the answer to our failing
In Romans, we are told that the life we are called to live is done in the
spirit, not the letter, which is a fancy way of saying, trying by our own
effort. Romans continues in 8:13 to press the point. The Spirit has to do it.
If He does, it will mean victory and life.
The lust of the flesh in this Galatians passage would include the
attitudes of the flesh. To walk in the Spirit means to have the attitudes of the
The capper to this little section, is the passage found in Ephesians.
Strength, might, Spirit, inner man, a lot of powerful words with a lot of
direction hidden here. Strength means the ability to overcome and might
shows it is more than sufficient to meet the need. Spirit shows us where the
power comes from, and inner man is referring to our own spirit. In the
spirit of a Christian, the Holy Spirit abides. If we let the spirit lead us
instead of our soul or body, we will overcome.
Now we need to go on to the actuality of this. We have quickly covered
the technical information, doctrine in other words.
SPENDING TIME WITH GOD
An Old Testament passage says is so clearly: Isa 40:29-31 He giveth
power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly
fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall
mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they
shall walk, and not faint.
When we are down and burnt out, we have the marching orders for
regaining our foothold of victory. In the natural strength of man, we see
that even the best, the youth, will eventually grow weary. The strength that
comes from abiding with God is invincible. In "The Hiding Place", a story
about two Christian sisters who hid Jews in WWII. They were caught and
sent to a work camp. The Nazi's were cruel and the conditions were hideous.
The one sister grew with bitterness and anger. The other sister, who died in
the prison, had perfect peace. She was worked to death yet rejoiced in the
glory of God in the sky above. She preached the gospel to the other women
with her and was glad of such an opportunity. She knew the strength that no
one else knew, she did not grow weary and she did not faint. Another verse
from the Psalms says:
Ps 46:10a Be still, and know that I am God:
When we spend time with God, we are not merely doing some
exercise. We are approaching the living God, and He will accomplish
Eph 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
This renewing takes place in our spirits. Our spirits are revived and
lifted back up. We abide in the Spirit and we walk victoriously with right
attitudes. So, now we have talked about walking in the Spirit and how we
reestablish ourselves in that position. What does this have to do with peace,
you may ask?
1Co 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit
which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of
Ga 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith,
Understanding that the desired attitudes and state of mind is a free
gift, is crucial. We don't work it up, we don't create it. It is freely given to
us. If we try to create it, we will totally miss it. It is fruit. Love for others
is freely ours, joy in service is freely ours, peace is always there, freely,
no biorhythm manipulating or special music to attain this peace. Having
patience with a good attitude flows out naturally. Goodness, in any form that
it manifests itself, is a normal fruit of abiding in the Spirit. Finally, it
lists faith. We tend to think of faith as our part, but here we are told that it,
too, is that which comes from the Spirit. Every good thing that comes from
us has to come from God. There is no room for pride, no room for self-
confidence, and no room for self-reliance.
1Th 1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the
word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
Joy and peace go hand in hand. Joy and peace and comfort, however, do
not necessarily. We see in this first verse, that the people written to knew
the joy of the Spirit, while suffering in physical ways. They were
persecuted. Joy is not dependent on outside circumstances. People think of
the joy of Christmas. Holiday feasting, gift giving, and family get togethers.
This joy revolves around circumstance. If the Christmas season is in the
midst of loneliness and poverty, there will be no joy. In fact, it will cast us
into despair or desolation. The joy of the Spirit is rich in the midst of
Ps 2:11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Ps 5:11 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever
shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name
be joyful in thee.
Ps 9:2 I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O
thou most High.
Ps 35:9 And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his
Ps 70:4 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such
as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified.
Ps 97:12 Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the
remembrance of his holiness.
Php 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
1Th 5:16 Rejoice evermore.
Rejoicing comes as a natural expression of the attitude of joy. The
first verse in this section has some unusual elements in it. Proper
rejoicing and hence, joy, comes in the midst of the fear of God. We fear God
because we truly see what we are like, have an inkling of what He is like,
and realize that He does extend mercy. If He never extended mercy, we would
see ourselves already condemned with no hope or reason for living, other
than for ourselves. Because we can enter God's grace, we can rejoice.
Those who love God can rejoice because they are taken care of by God.
We see again and again the rejoicing nature of those who seek God.
Christians should be a marked rejoicing people.
Let God be magnified, this should be heard continually from the
redeemed! In the Spirit, a Christian should be a perpetually praising person
Ah, in Ps. 97:12 we see the virtue of God's holiness. One of the things
we praise God for is His holiness. What's more, the rejoicers are
themselves called righteous. Those who can find God's peace, joy, and
rejoicing, find it in approaching God on His grounds. Those who do not fear
and tremble before Him, those who delight in living for themselves, and
hence oppress others and despise God, will not be able to know the benefits
of the fruit of the Spirit, which include joy and a rejoicing heart.
The two verses we have from the New Testament, tell us to
continually rejoice. This attitude is one we are to seek. It is so very
different from the world, that it may seem alien to us at first, but it is both
healthy and right.
This takes us at long last to the goal for which so many seem to
strive, but never find.
As you look at these verses on peace, read them realizing they aren't
just pithy sayings of hope, but meat of reality.
Ps 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall
Isa 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee:
because he trusteth in thee.
Joh 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world
giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be
Ro 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is
life and peace.
Ro 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness,
and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Php 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep
your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Col 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye
are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
2Th 3:16 Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means.
The Lord be with you all.
2Ti 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of
love, and of a sound mind.
There is a quality of life that God intends for us to have. He has a goal
for us that is absolutely possible. He wouldn't tell us about a state of peace
and joy that was only for a select few. He has made the way possible, and
provides all that is needed to get there. All that is called for, is that we
approach Him on His terms.
Looking now at the first verse. Psalm 119 is about those who love
God's Word. A verse from that Psalm promises peace to those who love God's
standards. If we do not really love what God's Word says, then we can not
expect to find His peace, or any real peace for that matter.
In Isaiah we find an excellent verse on peace. First, we can see that it
is God Himself who keeps us in peace. No self-effort at attaining a state of
mind. We also see that which we looked at at the beginning of this study. As
we wait upon the Lord and be still before God, we will come into this peace.
We can have peace because we know God is faithful. We have nothing to
become disturbed about with Him watching over us.
We see in John, that the peace we have in Christ is beyond the type of
peace the world can ever know.
In Romans, we are told in the Spirit we will abide in peace. Worry
comes from the flesh and brings only destruction.
In the remaining verses, I want us to look at the quality of this peace.
Out of these five verses we can pull out the following:
* Peace, joy, and righteousness go together. You cannot expect to find
peace and joy without righteousness. Like Jesus said to the woman at the
well, John 4:23 "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true
worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father
seeketh such to worship him." In the Spirit, we will find peace and joy. He
will not countenance error. All vain and profane babbling will increase to
more ungodliness (2 Timothy 2:16). In Isaiah we find a verse that relates
truth and righteousness as almost synonymous. Isaiah 48:1 Hear ye this, O
house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth
out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the LORD, and make
mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness.
* The peace that overcomes everything in this world. We can have peace
when all our circumstances would demand sorrow and distress. The world
cannot understand such peace. Our hearts and minds show stability. Christ
will keep us in this peace, in our spirits, as we abide in Him. This peace
will then maintain our emotions and our sanity. The world will wonder how
we endure the suffering they see in our lives, and yet, we live on in both
sanity and peace.
* To have this peace is up to us. We must choose it and allow it.
Thanksgiving will also be present with this peace. Here is that praising,
* Jesus will sustain this peace and no matter what situation we fall
into, He will give that peace to us.
* In the Spirit, we find the outline of power, love, and a sound mind..
These spell out peace. The state of mind maintained is one of rest and
The spirit is a part of us that has a full-range capacity of emotions.
We can see just a few of them in the following verses:
Mr 8:12a And he sighed deeply in his spirit,
Joh 11:33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also
weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,
Joh 13:21 When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and
testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall
From this, we can see that there are times when joy and peace may
not be the prevailing characteristics we find, when abiding in the Spirit.
An example of this can be noticeable around Halloween. I want you to
look at the following verse again:
Col 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which
also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. (I Cor. ch. 12)
I found a survey conducted by Focus on the Family and answered by
those that visit their web-site, which would be predominantly Christians.
The survey said:
How will your household celebrate Halloween this year?
Enjoy costumes and candy 28.89%
Turn it into a fall festival 29.05%
Observe it as Reformation Day 3.75%
Ignore it for lack of interest 8.51%
Avoid it because it is evil 29.80%
Total Entries as of 10/31/99: 13589
The verse in Colossians ties peace back to the body. If the majority of
the body is celebrating Halloween in one form or another, as this survey
indicates, then there would be a grieving of the Holy Spirit. (For further
discussion of Halloween see my article entitled, "Halloween.") This sense of
the consciousness of the body would be picked up in the Spirit. On Halloween
there would then be a prevailing sense of burden instead of peace.
As I said earlier, while abiding in the peace of God we have all the
answers, all the victory and all the directions. Many things in our daily
lives will pull at us to take us away from this stabilizing peace. With all
that is in our society today, there is much pulling us to become too broad,
when we so desperately need to seek to grow deep. In this deeper
relationship with God, the tap root will hit an ever flowing stream of living
water that will meet all our needs. Also, we must learn that in growing deep
we will not need to extend so broadly. We will be content without having to
have many toys and many things to constantly occupy us. God will Himself
satisfy us. The waiting upon God itself, called for in the Psalms, means to
stop what we are doing (playing games, watching TV, fishing, playing in a
hundred and one ways) and be still before Him. If you don't know how to
commune with God, you will not be able to secure the peace and joy He wants
for you. If you lack this knowledge, then isn't it worth it to invest some time
growing deeper for once? If you truly hunger, you will be filled (Matthew
Copy right November 1999 Darrell Farkas
Free to Copy under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND3.0 License by Darrell Farkas
All quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible