Friday, March 4, 2011

Peace, Part V...Peace with Others

I've said before that in studying this fruit of the Spirit, we could call it Peace-The Prickly Fruit. Kind of like that cactus looking fruit you see at the grocery store, on display but I've never seen anyone actually pick it up and buy it. Well, we're picking ours up. Better put on some gloves before you cut into it, because it's gonna prick you.

You may be thinking I'm just saying that. So far, our talks have been mostly about our nobility through Christ and the niceties that come from our relationship in Him. That's not prickly, it's praiseworthy! The prickly part comes when we put that into practice. And here we are.

We'll begin by first digging into the truths found in James 3:17-18. "But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."

First, we see that wisdom itself is peaceable. Notice that it didn't say intelligence is peaceable. Intelligence and wisdom are two different things. Many who are intelligent have no peace. You can be highly intelligent and not the least bit wise. (Oh, don't let me get up on that soapbox today. Hoppin' down.)

Next, righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. What in the world does that mean? Well, let's put our overalls on and think like a farmer. Would we, as farmers, just throw our seed on any old patch of dirt and call it a day? No!

I was outside yesterday planting some early things. Before I could put the onions and potatoes in the ground, I had to prepare the bed. I had to work up the soil, breaking up clumps, pulling out sticks and debris. I had to add more compost to it. It took effort. It took thought.

Planting takes preparation. If we eventually want to reap the fruit of righteousness, we have to break up our ground in peace. Why does it say in peace? Because we, as farmers, cannot plant the seed until we have cut through some earth, pulled some weeds, and gotten a little dirty.

It's a hard row to hoe to get that seed in the ground. Remember, we're breaking up our ground. We turn up some ugly truths about ourselves. There may be some unpleasant confrontations with other believers. The weeds of the world are constantly trying to choke out our effort.

We must sow in peace. The peace of Him who called us, the peace of the God of peace. When we try to sow in our own strength and in our own time our rows are crooked and our plows get bent by hidden boulders. And besides, when we plant in our own strength, the only thing we end up producing is self-righteousness. And that's definitely not what we're after.

When we sow in peace we take our time. We are careful to pay attention. And we can hear the voice of the Master Gardener.

We'll talk more about it next week. Bring your trowel and your gloves.

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