There is an old hymn that comes to mind every time I think of peace. Fittingly, it's called, "Peace, Perfect Peace." The words are as follows:
Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin?
The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.
Peace, perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed?
To do the will of Jesus, this is rest.
Peace, perfect peace, with sorrows surging round?
On Jesus' bosom naught but calm is found.
Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away?
In Jesus' keeping we are safe, and they.
Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown?
Jesus we know, and He is on the throne.
Peace, perfect peace, death shadowing us and ours?
Jesus has vanquished death and all its powers.
It is enough: earth's struggles soon shall cease,
And Jesus call us to Heaven's perfect peace.
Pretty much every question that weighs on my heart, Mr. Edward Bickersteth Jr. answered with a promise of peace when he penned this hymn in 1875. It shouldn't surprise me that the questions I ask today in 2014 were on the hearts of people in 1875. It shouldn't. But somehow it does. My problems, my fears, my anxieties are not unique to me. They are age-old, incredibly mortal, and common. The reflection of peace, however, is not a first resort.
To bear the fruit of peace, you must allow yourself to savor it first. Instead of being consumed by worry, anxiety, fear, anger, bitterness, rebellion....you must allow yourself to be consumed by peace. Believe me...easier said than done. I know. Oh, how I know. When presented with any scenario, my immediate and initial reaction is to counter with, "Yeah, but...."
And do you know what I've realized? I try to produce my own peace. Half of my anxiety is developed because I'm frantically trying to whip my own peace out of thin air, and I can't, and it makes me angry. I search inwardly instead of upwardly. I cannot give myself what I cannot create myself. His peace passes all understanding. My peace doesn't exist. I'm looking in the wrong place. I don't have peace, I accept it from Him. I don't make peace, I seek it from Him. Peace is a gift. Being a peacemaker is a fruitful act of obedience.
Our Harlynn-verse, John 16:33, begins with "I have told you these things so that IN ME you may have peace." (emphasis mine)
To produce the fruit of peace, you must first receive it. To receive it, you must be in Christ. He is the vine, we are the branches. Branches waiting to bear fruit. Fruit of peace.