One of the things I learned about in Sunday school, all those years ago, was something called the “fruit of the Spirit”. The fruit of the Spirit is found in Galatians and is basically a litmus test for whether the Spirit is living and present in your life. It is an extensive list, and it was so thoroughly drilled into me, that I have no trouble remembering it (as long as I can say the list in order).
One of the fruits of the Spirit is Peace. So we could choose to focus on it tonight.
Or is it really that simple?
There is an interesting bit of grammatical trivia relating to the word fruit that I think can help us see more deeply into the what the fruit of the Spirit might really mean.
When one uses “fruit“, it means a single fruit like mango, orange, and so on. But when we use “fruits” it refers to different kinds of fruit; for example “there are fruits in the basket” means that there is more than one type of fruit in the basket. Fruit is an uncountable noun, so it has no plural form. (Source here)
The Bible says that the fruit of the Spirit is…
It doesn’t say the fruits of the spirit are.
Each item on the list isn’t just one type of spiritual fruit, the equivalent of an apple for love, or a kiwi for joy. Each item in the list is one thing. It is fruit of the spirit. One thing.
So, the fruit of the spirit isn’t just love, or just joy, or just peace, but love, joy, AND peace!
The fruit of the spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. All of those things are the fruit of the spirit.
Peace could be summarized as the result of the work of love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. If I love someone, I will seek peace with them. Joy is only found in the presence of peace, Without patience, there is no peace. Without kindness, peace is meaningless. Without goodness, peace is irrelevant. Faithfulness is a foundation of peace. Without gentleness, peace can not exist. Without self-control, peace can not be maintained.
In fact, if we look closely at the list, I think you’ll find that each concept listed, can be constructed using the other concepts listed. No single concept is complete without the support of each other concept.
It’s pretty circular, but I think it works.
So perhaps if you have been seeking peace, and unable to find it in your life, you should look to the other fruit in the basket. Seek peace in love. Seek peace through joy. Patiently allow peace to work in your life. Bring peace to another by an act of kindness. Peace can be found where goodness (fairness or justice) prevails. Faithfully pursue peace. Gently lead others down the path of peace. Keep the peace in your life by exercising self-control.
To know peace more fully, seek love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against these things there is no law.
It has come to my attention that my original post left out faithfulness. I apologize for my error, and have corrected the text to include it. A huge thank you to my darling fiance for pointing it out to me.
Be sure to check out the other people on the journey with me at 254peace.org, or on our Facebook page. There are some awesome people participating this year, and they all have something important to say.