by Arch Hoerche
The first group of three; love, joy and peace lie in the Christian’s relationship with God. These are not duties or virtues, they are simply the results of a singular relationship with God which are guaranteed and manifested through the Holy Spirit. First comes “love”. Love is actually the single fruit that the other graces flow from. It is the very nature of God and given by the very heart of the Holy Spirit. It is the sap that rises from the one root into the one vine which feeds the branches. It is what gives the Christian the ability to love one another and love our enemies. The two remaining graces are obviously consequences of the first. Joy is not so much an act as it is an emotion which should permeate the Christian life. Jesus promised that He would give us His joy to be a very part of us and that our joy should be full. That joy, a permanent joy, fills every nook and cranny of our heart. It comes from abiding in Jesus Christ and with the degree that we love God. It is a joy that is not connected to our station in life or what is going on in our lives. It is a permanent and unfailing smile upon or faces. The joys of the world are fleeting and most often disappointing. If we believe that great joy will come from any relationship with someone or something of this earth, we will be greatly disappointed. Permanent and unfailing joy comes only from God. The third “grace” in the list is peace. This peace is built upon love and joy. If our hearts are continually turning to God and in close communion with Him and open to the Holy Spirits work in our lives, peace is the natural outcome of this communion. It is a tranquility that fills your very soul and is not dependent upon whatever is happening in our earthly lives. It is not the peace of the world. That peace could end at any moment and is dependent upon the whims of man. This is a peace that is at the very core of a relationship with God. It is permanent and indestructible. God did not promise you that your life would have no trouble, but He did offer peace beyond understanding. And that peace comes in direct measure to how much we live in and partake of the love of God.