Peace be with you in all areas of life. Peace is one of the fruit of the Spirit following love and joy. I think that it can be read as a list that requires one to be present before we can experience the full benefit of the one following, but it doesn’t have to be that way. For me, I know peace is a lot easier if I have love and joy present, then following that is patience, well that definitely works for me with patience if I’m feeling peace.
But fruit is one of those things that takes time as well. Fruit can’t be forced either, it needs to be encouraged and nurtured and watched. A tree will grow fruit when the conditions are right, in season, with the proper nutrients, moisture and fertilizer. Much like us, we need to allow the Holy Spirit room to grow us, this means we need to forgo any desire to control our lives and surrender to Him. We can create some of that fruit, but it will never be as rich, full and good than the fruit God will produce.
I’ve been musing on the future direction we can take as a church and the things I ask myself are how does what we do engage us in mission and worship? How can we best shine the light of Christ and let that draw men; women; young people and children to Him? What is an obstacle for people to engage with Christ – our buildings, our attitudes, our ‘hidden’ values? What do we have as strengths, what are our weaknesses? These are good questions to ask and we need to seek some answers, both individually and corporately.
But the most important question is – are we passionate in our relationship with Jesus? If we lack passion, then we are boring and I think there’s not a lot worse than a boring Christian. Oscar Wilde said the opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s indifference. If we’re indifferent to the things of God, then we have answered that statement – If God matters at all. He matters most – by saying no.
At times we all need to ensure that the first love in our heart is Jesus and awaken again the passion that burned bright and true.