While life can be chaotic, one of the things we often long for is peace, especially in our marriage. Where does that peace come from? How can we foster that peace in our homes? Read on to find out.
Fruit of the Spirit–Peace
Four young children made life hectic at the Martinez household. Heading to work each morning, Roland was as likely to step on a dearly-loved doll or to nearly stumble over a bike hidden in the shadows of the garage steps.
Tammy, thankful she could focus on her kids, loved being at home, but it was tough work, especially in the summer.
Roland did his best to help. He’d come home and whisk the kids away—to the park, down the street, anywhere to give Tammy a break.
The house to herself, one of Tammy’s favorite activities was cleaning up and restoring order.
Returning home with Dad one evening, the fragrance of detergent in the air, their oldest daughter exclaimed, “Ah…It smells like peace,” as she walked in through the kitchen.
Hoping for Peace
We may not be able to smell peace, but we can sure feel it. Each of us hopes for peace—in our homes, relationships and especially in our marriages. It is the fragrant result of being aligned with each other and God, the third “fruit” of the spirit,
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Gal 5:22-23)
In a Christian marriage peace is present when wife and husband have yielded to the calming power of the Holy Spirit.
Though younger couples can certainly live a calm in peaceful life married together, we often see this in the couple that has seasoned life’s challenges and learned to rely on the Holy Spirit to love their mate well.
Living in peaceful harmony with another person 24/7 requires intentionality, practice and perseverance.
Peace happens when, through the Spirit, we suppress our natural desires and human nature which invariably lead us to sin (Gal 5:19-22). These desires are referred to in the Bible as “the flesh” and are directly opposed to the Spirit of God.
Walking in Peace
When we “walk by the Spirit” we will not “carry out the desires of the flesh” (Gal 5:15). Rather than demanding our rights, we seek the best interest of our spouse.
- Instead of returning an insult for an insult, we return a blessing.
- When our expectations are not met, we don’t become passive aggressive to make sure our mate knows how disappointed we are.
- When angered, we don’t focus on the person but realize there are spiritual forces much larger than any individual at work (Ephesians 6:12) and do our best not to make the problem worse.
None of this comes to us naturally. There is a war in every human heart, a battle between good and bad.
We are weak, especially when tired and overwhelmed. We judge, especially given the opportunity to scrutinize our mate every day. We do things we quickly regret doing. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans,
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. (Romans 7:18-7:19)
Destruction of Peace
When Adam and Eve chose to listen to the Serpent and disobey God in Genesis 3, their action—sin—created a gulf between the Creator and the created.
It impacted all who came after them. Ever since, humankind has lived in a fallen, imperfect world and apart from the Holy Spirit’s guidance and power, been unable to escape the chaos and pain of conflict.
Our natural tendency is to veer towards the flesh. The consequences are discord, disunity and division.
What we want is peace. In our own heart first, then in our relationships with others.
The Spirit fights against sin in our defense but also attacks it by helping believers produce the positive character traits represented by the nine “fruits” of the spirit, all of which we see modeled by Christ in the Gospels.
Victory Towards Peace
Victory results in the “fruit” of the spirit being present in our lives.
When we’re living together in peace, others can feel it and they know something special is happening in the relationship. Often this is a point of curiosity and an opening to talk about spiritual truths.
In the Christian faith peace results when the sinner—the person who is apart from God because of his sin—is reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.
It is a cleaning up and restoration of our relationship with our Creator and, when married, our spouse.