“The Fruit of the Spirit’s Not a Banana.” That was the title of a sermon I preached back in August at our church and I “borrowed” it from a children’s song that we sing in our Vineyard Kids program. One of the verses goes like this: The fruit of the Spirit’s not a banana; The fruit of the Spirit’s not a banana; So if you wanna be a banana; You might as well hear it; You can’t be a fruit of the Spirit.
And then the song goes right into the chorus which directly quotes Galatians 5: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23a (NIV-84)
There are 9 parts or aspects or traits of the fruit of the Spirit on this list. And over the years I have read the book of Galatians a number of times and I have prayed for God to bear more of this fruit in my life.
At times I have felt led to focus on cultivating and praying for one particular aspect of the fruit. Like JOY or LOVE or PATIENCE.
But there is one part of the fruit of the Spirit that I have never really thought much about. When I read about this particular aspect of the fruit of the Spirit in other parts of the Bible, I tend to read right past it or right over it.
It’s the 3rd one on the list: PEACE.
Here is something I am waking up to: PEACE is one of the most undervalued aspects of the fruit of the Spirit.
Think about this: If you read Galatians 5:22-23 list and you had to rank all 9 of them from most important to least important, what would your Top 3 be?
Most likely LOVE would be #1. And then #2 might be JOY. But PEACE wouldn’t be 3rd on your list, would it? I bet for most of us, PEACE would be in the Bottom 3 if not the at the very bottom of our list. Right behind banana. 🙂
And I think the reason it’s at the bottom of our lists is because we don’t have a biblical understanding of what PEACE actually is. And not just peace, but the POWER of peace.
With that in mind, here’s a “what if” scenario: What if I could make a case that PEACE shouldn’t be at the bottom or even the middle of the pack? What if I could make a case for PEACE to be #1? The foundation of every other aspect of the fruit. The most important trait of the fruit of the Spirit. Or maybe have PEACE rank just behind LOVE, as #2 on our lists?
That is what I have been coming to believe. And this topic is so important to me, I decided to preach an entire series about it at our church.
And right off the bat, let me say this I am on a journey with this one. This isn’t something I am an expert it. This isn’t something I landed on 20 years ago and I’ll be teaching it to you as a sage.
I am on a journey with this. And I want to invite you in on my journey. And that journey starts this Sunday in our all-new series titled “The Power of Peace.” Please join us at The Eastside Vineyard on October 12th at 10:30am. More info at tevchurch.org
Between now and Sunday let me give you some questions to process:
- Where are some parts of your life where you long to experience more peace?
- How easy is it to “love your neighbor” when your thought-life is dominated by anxiety?
- Why is it so significant that one of the names of Jesus is “The Prince of Peace”?
- And since Jesus is the Prince of Peace, why is there so much war and strife around the world?
- Does realizing the fact that as of today there only 75 more days until Christmas make you more peace-filled or more anxious?
- How different would your life look if you were truly anxious about nothing (see Philippians 4:6-7)? And do you think that is even possible?
Think about those questions. Really think about them. And then please join us this Sunday as I begin to press into them.