All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Hebrews 12:11
Peaceful Fruit – Is God interested in your happiness? Sometimes it doesn’t seem so, especially when we are in the midst of discipline. Then it seems as though God is only interested in obedience, no matter how painful my life will be. Happiness is not a word we find often in the Bible. But there’s a good reason why happiness is one of the least important biblical themes. The reason is this: happiness is a by-product of something else. It is not a worthwhile pursuit in itself, because chasing happiness is like chasing the rainbow. You can’t catch it. But you can discover that happiness catches you when you chase something else – peaceful fruit.
God wants you to be happy – but only as a result of the peaceful fruit that comes from spiritual discipline. Any other form of happiness is an end in itself, bound to leave your ultimate desire unfulfilled. That kind of happiness has a bad aftertaste. But when you stop chasing what can never satisfy, and let God do His training, you discover something sweet. In Greek, the words are karpon eirenikon.
Karpon is fruit. Here, of course, it is the fully nourished product of a healthy tree – you. The crucial word is eirenikon. It comes from eirene (peace). But we are not to understand it in the classical Greek sense. The Greek idea of peace is simply the “absence of war.” In the Greek world, war is the normal state of affairs. Peace was just the time when strife took a vacation (not very often, by the way). The New Testament does not consider peace as a derivative of war. It views peace from the Hebrew perspective – the equivalent of the Hebrew word shalom. Therefore, peace (shalom) is the intended and normal state of existence under God. The fruit of peace is wholeness, health, well-being, prosperity, good will, tranquility and right relationship. War upsets all of these intended characteristics of the fruit of discipline. In other words, war is a result of the lack of discipline.
Unless we think carefully, we fall into the trap of believing that tough times and hard battles only bring chaos and conflict. We start thinking like Greeks, and we pine away for the days of tranquility – the absence of war. But the biblical view is just the opposite (it usually is). Conflict is the mortar that God uses to build a house of peace. Discipline is the way to shalom, to peaceful fruit. The moments of discipline are designed to nourish and strengthen us so that we will not only experience good fruit, we will also discover that good fruit is good for us.