Message by Robert A . Schuller
My father and
I are continuing our messages entitled, "Live
Life at Its Best," using Galatians 5:22 as our
guideline. "The fruit of the
spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
gentleness, faithfulness and self-control."
Today the message is Part V. My father introduced this theme
of Living Life at Its Best, then we both have been sharing
the first four messages, two on love,
then number three was on joy. And last week my father got
really impatient and skipped peace
and spoke on patience. That'strue. From now on every time I speak
I'm going to tell how impatient he was to speak about patience
that he couldn't wait another week. So, this morning
I'm going back to the correct order of St. Paul.
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace patience
..." and hopefully I can share some thoughts
on peace to help you.
Live Life at Its Best
To live life at its best is a life filled with peace.
(1) Experience peace with God.
(2) Experience peace with others.
(3) Experience peace with ourselves.
To live life at its best there must be peace with God and
that begins with an understanding that God hates sin. This
is one of the greatest challenges that we, as humans, have
that keep us from finding peace with God. Because we have
been taught that God hates sin, and at the same time we
know that we have all sinned. None of us live a perfect
life. As a result, we experience tremendous fear and anxiety
and, yes, also fear, until we realize and understand the
amazing grace of God, that even though God hates sin, God
loves the sinner! God loves every human being He has created
on planet earth, and God wants each of us to live the joyful
life that He designed us to live.
One hundred-twenty-five years ago there lived a little girl
named Hattie May Wiatt. Hattie May was a poor little girl
who simply wanted to go to Sunday school. She tried to get
into a Sunday school of a church hear her home, but she
discovered that there wasn't enough room for her.
The Pastor, Russell H. Conwell happened to be walking through
the church hall when he saw her standing outside the Sunday
school room crying and he went to her and asked, "Are
you Okay?" "I can't get in the Sunday school room,
there's not enough room for me."
Touched by her forlorn look and her wet cheeks, he took
her by the hand and opened the door to find her a seat,
but the room was full of children. Finally, he found a chair
and squeezed it into the crowded room. As he led Hattie
to the chair, he told her, "Hattie, someday we'll build
a larger Sunday school room so that you and any other little
girls won't have to worry about finding a place to sit.
There will be room for everyone to go to Sunday school every
Sunday, and Hattie smiled a big smile. The pastor thought
that was the end of the story, but shortly Hattie became
very ill and died.
It was a heartbreaking tragedy. Russell Conwell comforted
the family and friends at her funeral and after the funeral
her parents handed the pastor 57 cents. They told the pastor
how Hattie had been saving her money to help build a new
church so there would be room for her and all the other
children and no one would have to sit out in the hallway
at Sunday school.
When the pastor shared the story of how this little child
had saved every single penny to build a larger church, the
congregation knew that they had to make it happen. They
were going to build a larger church ¡K and they turned
Hattie's 57 cents into $250,000, bought a new piece of ground
and built a larger church. And today, from that 57 cents,
there is the Grace Baptist Church, Temple University and
the Good Samaritan Hospital, all in Philadelphia. 
One little child asking, "What can I do with what God
has given me?" ¡K was allowed the privilege to be
the founder of these three incredible institutions. This
child found peace with God. Yes, when we find peace with
God we break through the barriers of negativity. And through
Jesus Christ, we experience spiritual peace in the fullness
of God's love. Then we find the purpose that God has for
living, and that generates hope, goodness, joy, and love.
"The fruit of the spirit is love, joy and peace."
Yes, that's peace with God!
Live life at its best ¡K
(2) Experience peace with others
St. Paul, in his many letters to the new churches he established,
has more instructions about peace. To the church in Ephesus,
St. Paul reminds the believers: "Jesus
Christ came and preached peace to you who were far away,
and peace to those who are near. For through Jesus Christ
we have access to the Father. Consequently we are no longer
foreigners, but fellow citizens with God's people and members
of God's household." (Ephesians 2:17-19)
We are no longer on the outskirts looking in, but we have
been invited into the Sunday school room. We have been guided
to people of God where we live in peace with other believers.
Jesus lived and preached peace and one of the tragedies
in our society today is that there are still people who
do not understand that God loves them. God loves you ¡K
God loves me ¡K even though we are sinners. It reminds
me of the old Japanese soldiers who were abandoned on the
islands after World War II and for decades they never realized
that the war was over. Peace had been declared. They just
never knew it.You would expect that this wonderful Good
News that we preach would have people excited to experience
the incredible gift of peace that we have from God, because
God loves us. He loves you and me just the way we are and
He wants to create peace with you. Then God wants us to
create peace with our brothers, our sisters, our co-workers
and everybody we connect with.
An Australian bus driver was driving a busload of both white
and Aboriginal kids. The white kids were fighting the Aboriginal
kids and finally the driver had enough so he pulled the
bus over to the side of the road and said, "Listen,
kids, there are no black kids, there are no white kids,
there are no Aboriginal kids, there are no descendents of
England. We are all green. Did you hear me? We are all green.
All one color. No other color on this bus is allowed!"
He shouted again, "Did you hear me?" "Yes,
sir, Mr. Bus Driver!" With that the driver thought
he had created peace and he hopped back into his seat and
as he started driving along, suddenly he heard from the
back of the bus, "Dark green on the left and light
green on the right."
Our sinful nature will constantly try to create schisms
while God constantly tries to create unity and oneness in
His Spirit of love and joy. That's why we have to constantly
preach the message of brotherly love. Love one another. Live life at its best. Peace has been
declared. We have to declare it to our children and to our
children's children. We have to let the world know that
when we put our faith in God and trust Jesus Christ, He
will reach out to embrace us and bring us into His family.
Conflict is a constant struggle between the dark green and
the light green ¡K between the haves and the have-nots
¡K between those who do and those who don't ¡K between
those who want to and those who don't want to. That's life.
But God takes this tension and when we put this tension
in God's hands, we create music. Remember that you can only
create music when the strings are taunt. Until then all
you have is noise. "The fruit
of the spirit is love, joy and peace ..."
Live Life at Its Best ¡K
(1) Experience peace with God
(2) Experience peace with others
(3) Experience peace with ourselves
In another of St. Paul's letters to the churches, he shares
with the church in Philippi these words of peace, "And
the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will
guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Our hearts and minds experience peace when we are doing
what God has called us to do.
Brenda was a rock climber. She was scaling this incredible
rock when one of the safety lines snapped and hit her in
the eye, knocking out her contact lens. All of a sudden
everything was blurry. It was the only lens she had and
she didn't know what she was going to do. She really needed
that lens. So she started looking around hoping that maybe
it might be around someplace on her clothes, her arms ¡K
She couldn't find it so she continued climbing to the top
as best she could with the help of her team. There her climbing
team searched again for the contact lens. Perhaps it stuck
to her. They also examined her eye very closely, perhaps
it had rolled back into the corner of her eye. They could
find it nowhere on her. It was like looking for a contact
lens in a forest, so they proceeded to make their way down
the path and as they neared the bottom of the hill, there
was another team of climbers preparing their clime. They
stopped and said, "Did any of you lose a contact lens?"
"Oh yes!" was Brenda's surprised response. And
there it was.
"How did you find it?" One of the climbers replied,
"There was an ant walking along and the ant was carrying
your contact lens." She couldn't believe it. When she
got home, Brenda told her father, a cartoonist, about the
ant that was carrying her contact lens and he drew a cartoon
of an ant carrying the lens with this caption underneath
it: "Lord, I don't know why you want me to carry this
thing. I can't eat it and it's awfully heavy, but if it's
what You want me to do, I'll carry it for You." And
that's the cartoon.
Sometimes I think life is one big cartoon. In life sometimes
there are burdens to carry. We don't know why and they don't
give us a whole lot of joy right now, but when we say, "Lord,
I'm going to carry it. I may never understand why, but somehow,
someway I pray that I am able to help someone. I want them
to see that God loves me anyway. I want them to be able
to see that I have peace with God. I want to share Your
wonderful peace with my family, friends, and my neighbors.
I want them to see in my heart that God is in control. As
long as I trust God, I have nothing to fear."
Several years ago National Geographic displayed two dramatic
pictures side by side. One picture was of a burned out forest
with a bird underneath a burned out tree. The bird was a
ghostly silhouette of ash at the base of the tree. The second
picture showed a fireman kicking this ashen silhouette only
to discover half dozen little chicks alive!
The mother bird had sacrificed herself by wrapping her wings
around her chicks. She could have flown away and saved her
own life, but chose to stay and protect her young. She died
protecting her young.
The Psalmist wrote about this kind of trust in God's protection
with these words, "He shall
cover you with His feathers and under His wings shall you
trust." (Psalm 91:4) Yes, those are the promises
that God gives to us! We can have peace today. Peace in
knowing that God loves us. Peace in knowing that God will
care for us. Peace in knowing that we can love our friends,
neighbors and associates. We can handle the burdens that
life gives to us because God gives us peace in knowing there
must be a special purpose, even for the burdens. That's
peace. And when you experience that kind of peace you truly
experience life at its best.
So today I ask you to come with a heart open to saying "yes"
to Jesus Christ. Come with a heart that is willing to say,
"Jesus, forgive my sins." Come with a heart that
says, "Lord, I want to receive and feel the peace that
You are offering me right now, peace
with You, peace with others, and peace with myself."
Join me in prayer:
Dear God, Forgive my sins. You have promised that You love
the sinner. Embrace me with Your love and help me to feel
Your peace and experience the joy that comes when I am surrounded
with Your protective arms of love. May I be a beautiful
example of Your love and shout it from the mountaintops
that You are alive today. And that You want to give this
peace away. So I thank You, Lord, for forgiveness, for love
and for peace. Thank You God. Amen.