We use the word peace a lot in our day to day conversation. Peace is something that is so multi-layered that it is difficult to confine to one definition - is it to be at rest? Is it to be free from anxiety? Is it to be stress-free and calm? I think peace can be connected to each of those things and more.
The peace that is produced by the Holy Spirit is an even more complex and powerful gift. It is a peace that is not contingent on circumstances, it is not produced by experience. It is a fruit of the spirit and therefore is prompted, developed and established in the context of the Holy Spirit moving us towards sanctification (becoming more like Jesus).
Peace is ushered in by an advanced state of trust and surrender to God. As we enter into deeper surrender, as we enter into deeper trust in God - we create an entry point for peace to come in. This is because trust-rooted surrender is prompted by an increased understanding of the character of God and the implications that being his child has for our lives. When we rest in the understanding that God is who he says he is & rest in the inheritance we have as his children, peace will increase. Peace is anchored in the hope we have as disciples of Jesus.
As the fruit of the spirit are produced within us, there will be an impact on our lives. As the Holy Spirit grows peace, our circumstances\experiences\struggles will hold less weight and have less control on our overall state of wellness. This is because the perspective that we operate out of understands that who God is and what God is capable of is not limited, hindered or undone by our circumstances. Often, what will oppose the growth of peace in our lives, are our circumstances & even more so our response to our circumstances. If we lack heavenly perspective in our approach to our circumstances then we leave less space for peace. We cannot control our emotional response to our experience, but we can choose our perspective as we move forward. And as we choose the perspective that is rooted in hope of who God is, trust of Him and surrender to Him - peace that surpasses understanding will abound.
For example, in my life, when hard circumstances\struggle come - I ask God for perspective. I take care to not dive into the emotional response that my experience is prompting but rather I invite God to shift my perspective to his. I meditate on who God is, I write out truth and declare it over my situation. I tell God I trust Him. I invite Him in. I surrender. And as I shift my perspective from that of the world to that of the kingdom, I find a hope that ushers in a deep, rich peace that only the Holy Spirit could author.
So - if you desire to increase peace as a the fruit of the spirit in your walk with Christ - that is a great place to start. Invite God into your circumstances. Invite Him into the hard places. Invite him into your struggle. Ask for His perspective. Meditate on His character. Dive into His truth. Choose trust. Position yourself to surrender. You don't need to pursue peace itself if you pursue it's provider.
- Megan McGarrah