When we become Christians, God deposits in our hearts forces the Bible calls the fruit of the spirit. Notice what these fruit consist of:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit" (Galatians 5:22-25).
Just like fruit originates from within a tree, so the force of peace is generated from within our recreated human spirits. It's our job to learn to yield to these forces instead of continuing to lean on our own understanding and reasoning. Instead of living by the impulses of the flesh, we must learn to live by the spirit.
Drawing on the force of peace from within our spirits doesn't happen automatically ─ it takes practice. When we sense the urge to succumb to the flesh, we must choose instead to yield to the force of peace.
This process is accelerated when we begin to recognize and guard our hearts from intruders that would steal our peace. Proverbs 4:23 says, "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life" (NKJV). What are some of the major intruders that try to steal our peace?
One intruder that threatens our peace is the emphasis the world puts on outward appearance. Many people give more attention to their appearance than to the well-being of their inward life, their heart. We must resist the lure the world places on outward appearance.
The focus on outward appearance has created deep-seated feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness for many. It causes people to compare themselves with others in order to determine whether they "measure up." That feeling can steal joy from an otherwise good life. When appearance is the focus, important inward issues of the heart are left unattended and peace is sacrificed.
This problem will be solved when we begin seeing ourselves from God's perspective instead of man's. When God sent Samuel to the house of Jesse to anoint one of his sons as king, He said,
"Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7 NAS).
The Apostle Peter reveals God's attitude toward outward appearance when he said:
"Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes; but let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God" (1 Peter 3:3-4 AMP).
Peter was prompting us to look beyond the shallow issues of appearance to the more important "inward adorning." He said that a gentle, peaceful heart is very precious in the sight of God. And if it's precious to God, then let's be sure it's precious to us.
- Excerpt from the
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