In these days peace seems to be an elusive commodity. There is never a shortage of things to worry about. If you don’t have anything to worry about, the enemy of our souls stands ready to help you come up with something.
Around the year 64 AD the apostle Paul found himself in a Roman prison. If anyone had just cause for a little anxiety, it was Paul. While he sat in jail, adversaries of the gospel were trying to damage his ministry. Several of the churches started by Paul were undergoing major challenges. Add to that Paul’s uncertain future. Crazy Nero was on the throne. History records the atrocities committed by this Roman Emperor. Paul knew all too well what Nero was capable of.
And yet it was in this setting that Paul gave a timeless strategy for peace. Paul said this in Philippians 4:6-7, “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.”
Those verses contain a biblical proposition and promise. Proposition: worry about nothing, pray about everything. Promise: the peace of God will guard your heart and mind. One word of caution. To continue to worry while you pray is to undermine the process and forfeit God’s peace. So start praying, stop worrying, and God’s peace will come.
Then notice what Paul went on to say, “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 4:8-9).
There is no way a believer can live in peace when their thought life is messed up. Before going down an avenue of thought, run it through the checklist. Is it true? Is it noble (worthy)? Is it right? Is it pure? And so on. Be as discriminating with the thoughts you think as you are with the food you eat.
In old times a gang of thieves would put a young child through a small window so he could unlock and open the door. Oftentimes, entertaining one wrong thought can open the door to a whole gang of thoughts that steal your peace. But right thinking results in peace.
Got peace? If not, remember Paul’s points --
- It’s important that you pray (Phil. 4:6-7)
- It’s important how you think (Phil. 4:8-9)
Pastor Todd Weston