THE FRUITS OF THE
More than six billion other
people opened their eyes today to be met with challenges, problems and
fears. A great many will worry about whether or not they will have food to
eat. Large numbers will worry about their jobs. Countless numbers will worry
about their incurable diseases. Millions will worry about whether or not
they will be abused. Some right now are worrying about their very lives.
Worry is one of the abominable gifts that Satan daily showers upon humanity.
It is one of the major signs that he is alive and well on planet earth and
that humanity is reaping the consequences of choosing the god of evil and
sin over the God of righteousness.
Christians have been promised a special gifts as a reward for their
faithfulness and commitment to Christ. In the New Testament they are known
as the Fruits of the Spirit. In this
I would like to do an in-depth analysis of one of the very special Gifts
promised to us by God. It is the Fruit of
Before doing so, we need
to look at what steals our peace of mind daily, that is, worry.
I would like to start by simply asking: What is worry? The Funk and Wagnalls'
Dictionary defines it as follows: "To be uneasy in the mind; to fret." and "To pull or tear at something with the teeth."
The New Testament word for worry is
The Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains
Vol. 1, tells us that,
“The term merimna may refer to either unnecessary worry or
Vine’s Expository Dictionary tells us that
is probably connected with
which means, “to draw in different directions, to distract, …. a care,
especially an anxious care. To worry is in essence to have a "divided mind.”
A synonym for worry is of course anxiety. And what is anxiety?
Funk and Wagnalls Dictionary: “Disturbance of the mind regarding some uncertain event.”
Webster's Dictionary states that "anxiety" is derived from the Latin
word "anxious" which in turn is akin to angere meaning to strangle or
Thus worry, or anxiety refer to essentially the same mental
state. They are a source of uneasiness and concern that tear at us, that strangle us.
Clearly when human beings are in a state of anxiety they are
real, possible, or imagined concerns and, consequently, they experience mental
pain that drains, limits, and stifles.
How do humans cope with this mental pain? The coping mechanisms are many. Dr. Peter Breggin summarizes how people cope with
anxiety in the following quote:
…people often resort to taking
anything that promises even temporary relief from anxiety. Millions drink
alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and use marijuana, opiates, and other street
drugs. Others eat excessively, exercise compulsively, work to exhaustion,
watch TV endlessly, escape into books, relentlessly pursue sex, and
overindulge in any number of otherwise harmless habits in an attempt to
escape their tensions and apprehensions. (Breggin, P. Excerpts from Toxic
(Dec. 10, 2012).
Humans have needs. Psychologists have explored this area in
depth and they recognize that we crave certain basics such as physical
safety, love and the need to have a healthy self-esteem. When these
needs are missing, we become anxious and preoccupied. All, or almost all human beings, are lacking in one or more of these areas
and the result is worry and anxiety and a lack of mental peace.
Mental peace. That is the longing of humanity; Freedom from ongoing worry
and anxiety. This is what hundreds of millions of children around the world
do not have. This is what countless parents whose children are ill or in
danger do not have, and this is what great numbers of elderly crave every
day. The Bible tells us that peace of mind is available and it is part of the
message we preach to the world; for one of Christianity’s great promises
is peace of mind. When we were converted that was one of
the gifts that was offered to us and yet, even among Christians, peace of
mind is often lacking.
let’s take a close look at this wonderful gift, and in so doing,
let’s learn about the principles that can and will bring greater peace to
Let’s turn to Christ’s words and to a wonderful promise that he left to his
disciples and all his followers throughout time.
John 14: 27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I
give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be
troubled and do not be afraid.”
This amazing promise contains three key points:
1. It first tells us that Christ wants to give us peace of mind,
and that He is the
author of true mental peace.
2. It also tells us that the world can only give a
fake kind of peace—not the real thing.
3. Finally, it also tells us that we also have a part in the process. We can
let our hearts be troubled. We can let our heart be afraid. But we
can also do our part not to be troubled and not to be afraid.
This is what my article will focus on,
starting with point three and then moving back to point one. Let’s therefore
start the analysis.
Jesus Christ, the One who
created the human mind, instructs us that we have a part to play in having peace of mind.
We have a choice in the matter.
We can choose to contribute to our own peace of mind or we can choose to
contribute to having anxiety and fears. How can that be? Cognitive psychologists who deal with the impact of thoughts on our mental
health assure us that our thoughts absolutely do affect our mental state.
When we look to the future we can look at it with negativity, or with
optimism. The choice we make will determine our mental condition.
Cognitive psychologists also insist that we have the ability to change our
thoughts and, thus, change our mental frame. When a person who tends to be depressed goes to such a therapist, they
attempt to determine the kind of thinking style the person has. Depressed people obviously do not entertain positive thoughts. They feel
hopeless, they may feel useless and they look at the future through very
gloomy eyes. Thus the job of the therapist is to make the person aware of
the negative thinking style and to help them change it.
Does it help? It helps some quite a lot. It helps others some. The problem with thoughts is that when we think a thought it immediately
leads to a similar thought and then to another similar thought and on and
on. In other words, when we think a negative thought it will lead to another
negative thought and then another, while a positive thought leads to another
positive thought and on and on. Therefore we can create chains of negative thoughts or chains of positive
thoughts. It’s our choice. Given this reality it is not a coincidence
that the Apostle Paul told us to adopt a positive way of thinking because
that will create chains of positive, uplifting thoughts that will energize
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble,
whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are
lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is
any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
This is our part; We have to do our
best to fill our minds with thoughts that will start positive chains, that will
lift our spirits, that will replace depressive thoughts, which tear at us
and demoralize us.
Paul gave us this wonderful principle more than 1900 years before cognitive
psychologists came along. He too was a great psychologist -- inspired by
But in John 14:27 Jesus Christ went a step beyond what we read in
Jesus Christ didn’t just give us a principle: He gave us a command.
“Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let it be
When something is of critical importance for us, Christ doesn’t just give us
principles, He instead says, "do not!" And in this regard Christ said, “I do not want you to allow anxiety to
conquer your mind. I want you to do your part to fight back. And, it is
possible. You can do your part, otherwise I would not tell you to do it. In
fact you must do it!
You must put up a fight to prevent anxiety
from taking over your mind.”
One of the things that can steal our peace of mind is the knowledge of
the terrible things that precede Christ’s coming. Knowing about the Great
Tribulation is enlightening-- but it can also be very scary. The world has no such knowledge. The world has no such concern. Sure, they
are concerned and worried about international terrorism, but we know that
the future is far more catastrophic than they can ever imagine.
have to deal with it, if it happens in their lifetime, but if it doesn’t they
will never have to deal with the horrifying mental images we are familiar
And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple:
and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
2And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these
things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon
another, that shall not be thrown down. 3And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the
disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things
be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed
that no man deceive you. 5For many shall come in my name, saying, I am
Christ; and shall deceive many. 6And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars:
see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to
pass, but the end is not yet.
Christ again tells us what our reaction must be and insists that we have
a choice in the matter. We can, therefore, do our part to make sure we do not panic and become
overwhelmed with fear.
These things must happen,
Christ said. They are critical in my plan, and you must accept it knowing
that if you do your part, you will be protected and you will be provided
What about our daily ongoing basic needs? What about our ongoing, basic
needs during difficult times, such as the Great Tribulation?
“Therefore I say to you,
do not worry about your life, what you will
eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is
not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor
gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more
value than they? 27
Which of you by
worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how
they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I
say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of
these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the
field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven,
not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall
we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after
all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you
need all these things. 33
first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall
be added to you.
34 Therefore do not
worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
This promise is not limited to times of plenty, when we may have no
difficulty getting a job. People do not worry about basics in relative times
of plenty. This applies mostly to times of want, when food is scarce, when
clothing is scarce, when maintaining a place to live is hard. Christ simply says:
"But seek first
the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be
added to you."
Especially when things are tough and it’s hard to believe that food will be
on the table tomorrow, or that you’ll be able to buy clothes for your
children, that you’ll be able to pay your bills so as to keep a place to
Seek first the Kingdom and the rest will be added---by whom?
Our job is to watch in times of international turmoil; to Seek first the
Kingdom no matter how difficult things may seem to be and not to
allow our minds to be overwhelmed with worry; and to think positive thoughts. What kind
of positive thoughts?
1. Remember all the times God answered your prayers in the past.
2. Remember all the times God answered others’ prayers.
3. Read and recite mentally encouraging scriptures.
4. Pray more than usual.
5. Study God’s Word faithfully and meditate on it.
5. Fast more than usual.
we do the above,
the mental chain will become optimistic, and our minds will be flooded
with positive thoughts; and those thoughts will lead to other
positive thoughts, and our mind will be swept clean of negativity, and we
will feel joyful rather than depressed.
Now let’s retrogress to point 2.
POINT 2: the world can give
peace of mind but IT IS inferior to what
Christ is able to give.
Let’s re-read John 14: 27
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give
you. I do not give to you as the world gives."
The world for millennia has been trying to tackle anxiety in a multitude of
ways. In the past, the favorite approaches were carnal and temporary, such
as sexual abandonment, alcohol abuse, debauchery, idol worship, sacrificing,
Today we have become more sophisticated.
The new coping mechanisms are, TV, movies,
CDs, yoga, gyms, retreats, vacations, cruises, and, of course, prescription
None of them can give sustainable peace of mind, and some may even
have serious consequences.
Unlike what the world
gives, Jesus Christ gives a different and lasting peace. This takes us to
POINT 1: Christ’s peace is peace that lasts and has no
Christ assures us that His peace is very different from the peace of the
“My peace I give you,” he tells us.
“My peace,” not the peace of the world. My peace I give you, freely of
course; you cannot pay for it; you cannot create it in any way. It is a
special, divine, and magnificent kind of peace that should not be there, that
the world cannot understand, that the world cannot have -- for now.
In part, this peace comes our way by living the Christian way of life
faithfully, fully and zealously.
Isaiah 26:3,4 "You wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on
thee; because he trusts in you.
This is an awesome scripture and promise. God will give
"perfect peace" to those who are totally committed to Him,
long as we are steadfast, firm, unshakeable and unmovable in God and His ways.
Such a person has a totally committed, and focused attitude; nothing else takes priority over
God; nothing can interfere with his or her love for God’s ways, and nothing
gets in the way of the pursuit of the Kingdom of God.
Isaiah adds another requirement:
“Because he or she trusts in you.”
That is because he has faith in You.
This is the peace that Christ gives in response to our faith in Him.
Because, by obeying God, oftentimes as we all know, trials come our way that
steal our peace of mind.
There is, therefore, need for something that goes above and beyond simply
reaping peace that comes from obedience. There is need -- in our
trial-filled life -- for something that
goes above and beyond the peace that follows obedience:
Christ is talking about something really special -- really miraculous, based
This kind of faith which leads to peace is summarized in
"Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And
the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall
keep (garrison) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
The peace of God passes all understanding. Other translations
shed more light on this great gift.
The New American
Standard Bible: "which
surpasses all comprehension,"
The New International Version:
"which transcends all understanding."
may I add, which transcends all logic; which psychology cannot explain; which science cannot comprehend, which by
all standards should not be there, given the circumstances. And yet it is.
Because it is of divine origin.
GAL. 5: 22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love,
joy, peace, …"
The Greek word for peace used in the above verse is, EIRENE.
This word not only refers to peace with others but inner peace, rest
and contentment and mental wholeness.
Anxiety, as explained before, means an inner tearing. Eirene means inner peace
The peace that Christ gives, EIRENE, is a gift.
Certainly, as we have seen
above, we are required to feed
our minds with positive thoughts; we must be totally committed to His
ways; we must place our needs totally in His hands.
Once we do our part, the
Divine peace of God is placed in us miraculously.
What about faith? We are told that we must trust Him. How can
we trust when we are in the midst of turmoil, surrounded by uncertainty? The
answer to this question is also quite simple.
Faith is part of the gift.
gives peace he gives faith as well, as it is essential for true peace.
Peace of mind is, therefore, possible in our war-torn,
anxiety-filled world. But we must commit to God totally and we must ask Him for this wonderful
gift continually -- and we must ask in faith, and if
we don't have sufficient faith, we must ask for it.
This is the the
same great gift that some day will be given to all of humanity which is part
of the good news we preach to the world.
”But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the
abundance of peace.”
"And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be
the peace of thy children."
Thus Christ wants us, and finally the whole world, to share in His peace, a
peace that we must contribute to by fighting anxieties and concerns, by
staying faithful to God’s ways and by asking regularly for the peace that Christ gives
miraculously to all that he loves.
The Fruits of the
Faithfulness / Faith
The Works of the Flesh:
The Road to Eternal life