In scripture, Philippians 4: 6-7, Paul tells us to be anxious for nothing; to bring everything we tend to worry about to God with thanksgiving. By thanking God for what He has already done, and praising Him for providing these things, He says, “Oh my, they are truly grateful” so, when we ask for what we need or desire it sets us in a better position to be heard and answered, so to speak. Those of us who are givers will understand that there will be those who are ungrateful and it wounds our spirits because we have a heart to give and help those in need. It tends to hurt our feelings and God has feelings as well. Just keep in mind that appearing ungrateful hurts God’s feelings as it does ours. It makes Him happy when we thank Him, give Him praise and glory as He is our provider when we go to Him in prayer. When we read Psalms 22:3 it reminds us that “God inhabits our praises”; this means that He dwells within the praise of His people; He is going to be there with us in Spirit. We have no peace if our mind is anxious and we are worrying.
Also, in verses 8-9 Paul asks us to be in thought through meditation on good things; to ponder and study good things; not the stresses of the day or the conflict some of us are going through.
8-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 that is praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9-The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you”.
By doing this we may find peace that only God can give us. That is so much needed in this day and time, just as in Paul’s day and time. This advice is timeless. It seems that our world is dwelling in chaos and upheaval most of the time. Every time we turn on the news it is so saddening and distressing; starvation, natural disasters, wars, our brothers and sisters in Christ being murdered and imprisoned for the sake of the Gospel…to be able sit and read these scriptures and actually meditate on verses 8-9 is a real and necessary blessing to have the ability to find peace in the midst of our daily struggles. Just to walk with Jesus and and profess our faith is becoming more and more difficult. In China a believer can and is imprisoned or murdered for even owning 1 single page of a Bible. I can imagine it was much the same in Paul’s time as he was writing this letter from prison; to even confess to being a Christian was punishable by death by the Romans. Paul was a very wealthy and knowledgeable man as Saul of Tarsus. When he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus his whole life changed. He became one of Christ’s greatest apostles. Even though he didn’t know Jesus personally, until he encountered Him in person on that road, he was still an apostle. He certainly knew what he was talking about when he was writing this letter.
My favorite verse, 13 in this letter, says that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” has gotten me through many, many difficult times since I came to know Christ; through college with no sleep and too many deadlines, and every day stressors. In these verses Paul is trying to give us the formula for finding God’s invaluable peace and that with the strength that Christ gives us, praising and giving glory to our father in Heaven, and meditating on the good things, we can truly obtain God’s indwelling peace. If we give God the glory, praise and honor He deserves what a great relationship with Him we will have. When we do all to the glory of Christ our Savior and God our Father, as Paul did, we cannot fail. Thelma Wells writes in the Women of Faith Devotional Bible on page 1466 a paragraph, a formula as well, that can aid us in achieving this goal.
In Christ you can BEE your best:
B means, Be aware of who you are. You are a wonderful creation of God and there is nobody else like you.
E means, Eliminate the negatives in your life. If you study your Bible, pray, praise God while you are hurting and worship Him because He deserves it, you will refocus your attention from the negatives to the only One who can solve the situation.
E means Expect the best from what you do, and let it all be for eternal value. In whatever you do, ask, “Would Jesus approve of this?”
S means Success. Your success depends on putting God first, following the Scriptures, seeking the proper goals, persevering and doing it all for Christ.
Verse 5 of Philippians instructs us to” let gentleness be forthcoming with all of those we encounter”; even those who wound us. To have God’s peace indwelling in us is a golden treasure that we sometimes have to dig deep to find to be able to show this gentleness. It is when we are knocked down and strife thrown at us, we tend to humanly want to strike back, but if we are able to access the peace of God and show mercy, grace and love we are truly showing them the attributes of Christ…after all, is not that what the term Christian means…Christ-like?
To share, I have recently been diagnosed with PTSD due to numerous traumas over the past couple of years. I, for one, find it necessary to truly actively seek God’s peace, love and grace through such methods as Paul describes in his letter to the Philippians to get through my days. There have been times when I was absolutely not Christ-Like and I have had to repent and ask for forgiveness on numerous occasions. When Paul speaks of “Be united, joyful and in prayer” this is invaluable advice that I can identify with, as I am sure many of us can or will at some point in our lives. To be able to attend church, worship together, share our trials and concerns, to share our joys and answered prayer, to fellowship as a church family is so very rewarding and needed by all who are in the family of Christ. I believe this is what Paul is alluding to, as well as what to meditate on instead of allowing the stresses of the outside world come in and steal our joy and peace that Christ has given us as his family. When we truly meditate on our blessings, the good things spoken of in verses 8-9, with thanksgiving and praise it so much opens us up to God’s love, mercy, grace and answered prayer. We truly can obtain the beautiful and invaluable peace of God if we ask Him and meditate on His word.
Paul always gives glory to God and sends the “grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” to his readers. He gives us the perfect blueprint for peace and joy; especially within our church family as his letters were mostly written to churches. I believe that if we follow Paul’s valuable advice we can achieve the peace, joy and strength he very much portrayed throughout his letters. Even though he experienced much beyond our experiences; shipwrecks, beatings, stoning, poisonous snake bites, prison, yet he persevered to spread the Gospel against all odds. Even when he was awaiting his execution he was dictating to Timothy so that the Gospel would continue through Timothy and others. If we can obtain even a small portion of his strength, peace, joy and perseverance it is a true blessing. I thank God for using Paul to give this advice and admonition to those of us, who endeavor to follow Christ, spread the good news of the Gospel, and show love, mercy and compassion to those who are in need of the peace of God so desperately in this world. To God be the glory indeed!!! Amen.