Happy Monday!!! Let’s start the week by learning how to have peace by putting into practice three things that Paul writes to the Philippians about.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:4-9)
REJOICE – Praise is a great habit to form for anyone who wants to know peace no matter their circumstances. When we rejoice always, whether in the midst of something good or something bad, it helps to shape our worldview by reminding us that we serve a God who is always in control and who deserves our praise even when we don’t understand why we are going through something. When we focus on the storms all we see are the winds and the waves and we reactively worry and stress butwhen we focus on God everything else fades away and then, whether the storm subsides or not, we have peace even as we walk through it.
REQUEST – Paul says that we are to present our requests to God through prayer, petition, and praise. It’s one thing to give something to God in prayer but it’s another to actually leave it with Him. Too often we tell God our troubles but then proceed to worry about them and try to work them out in our own strength rather than actually relying on Him. It’s no wonder that we do not know God’s Perfect Peace when we don’t ever allow Him to truly carry our burdens for us as Christ encourages us to do in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” However, when we cast our cares on Him as well as praise his for past help, we not only feel peaceful but we are reminded of how He has already helped us in the past and we are even more at peace having the assurance that He is able to help us at this point in time as well.
RENEW – Much like in his letter to the Romans (12:1-2) Paul gives instructions about being transformed by the renewing our minds. He explains that we are to take captive each thought for Christ by taking control of what we think about. He says that we need to choose to think about those things which are: true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy.Easier said than done though, right? What we also need to understand is that one of the main factors that contributes to what we focus on is what we fill ourselves with. If we spend all day listening to gangster rap with graphic lyrics we will most likely not have a lot of material to work with later hen we are trying to think about something pure. Or if we spend all night watching the news or trolling FB we probably stay up stressed rather than go to sleep without a care in the world. In order to dictate what we dwell on in our thought life we need to be more discerning about what we decide to fill our minds with.
So how are you when it comes to experiencing God’s Peace in your life? Do you think Paul makes some good points but are skeptical about their effectiveness or have you actually put them into practice? What is one thing that you can do today to take back control of your thought life while simultaneously giving God control over your current circumstances?