I have had friends over the years that have had their own sign-offs for random conversations. Some said the standard, “later.” Others tried to be cool and would announce to everyone that, “I’m out” whenever they left the room. I have had one friend, however, that has ended every conversation for the last ten years with the same word: “peace.”
While I have taken his sign-off for granted over the years, I have never once doubted the fact that he has been 100% sincere every time he has said it. I always felt like he truly wanted me to experience peace. But the more I think and pray about what that actually means, the more I realize how little I have experienced in my lifetime.
As with many of the previously discussed fruit of the Spirit, peace is often defined by the lack of other things. Peace can be thought of as a lack of war, a lack of adversity, or even a lack of inner turmoil. The Bible teaches that the peacemakers are blessed and that, as much as we are able, we should be at peace with everyone. Avoid unnecessary turmoil, avoid unrighteous conflict, and avoid volatile disagreements.
In case you did not pick up on my overuse of adjectives, I want to be perfectly clear that peace does not involve avoiding turmoil, conflict, or disagreements. In fact, the Bible encourages us to make peace, which is not a very peaceful process. Peace only comes through achieving justice and purification, neither of which are pleasant ventures.
Sometimes we must confront people or situations, eliminate baggage that have become a part of who we are, or even do away with relationships that are keeping us from being more like Christ. These things are painful. They are difficult. But if we want to find peace, we must go through the peacemaking process.
Peace is the first fruit on the list that is the fruit in and of itself. The process of finding and achieving peace is very difficult, and incredible fruit can come from the love, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control that it takes to get there. But when you achieve real peace, peace within your soul to know that you are seeking purity and justice with all that you are, you will realize that no fruit is sweeter.
With each situation that is resolved, we allow a little more peace to enter our lives and refuel our souls. When we are at peace, we have fewer things to prevent us from producing all the fruit we can carry.