There is an image floating around Facebook right now that reads:
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati discovered that eighty-five percent of what we worry about never happens and 79% of us handle the 15% that does happen in ways that surprise us with our ability to manage through the trial. (Robert Leahy, Ph.D., The Worry Cure)
What we focus on grows…if we are worrying and focusing on what we do not have…we will not experience the peace of God.
And so we come to today’s passage that is full of line by line instruction with the way to peace. Not one of these commands is easy to do! But here we go…
Philippians:4-8 says to do these things:
1.) Rejoice in the Lord always.
2.) Be gentle and have a calm spirit.
3.) Remember the Lord is near.
4.) Do not worry – about anything!
5.) Pray –about everything!
6.) When we pray – pray with a heart of thanksgiving.
7.) Control our thoughts – think holy thoughts.
And then we will receive the promise of verse 9:
“And the God of peace will be with you.”
Whew – this is a tall order friends, but it might explain why we live in a world full of tension, conflict, and a lack of peace.
We cannot experience this promise of God if we do not follow His ways to peace. I believe it ALL starts in our thought life.
We have to:
-choose to rejoice
-choose to be calm
-choose to think about the nearness of our Lord
-choose to not worry
-choose to pray
-choose to give thanks
-choose to think holy thoughts.
And it’s hard but friends – when we discover that we cannot control other people or our circumstances but we CAN control our thinking, God can change our lives! Peace can enter DESPITE our circumstances.
And so as Thanksgiving Day approaches we remember the words of Spurgeon:
“Carry your desires to the Lord of your life, the guardian of your soul. Go to Him with two portions of prayer and one of fragrant praise. Do not pray doubtfully but thankfully. Consider that you have your petitions, and therefore thank God for His grace. He is giving you grace; give Him thanks, Hide nothing. Allow no want to lie rankling in your bosom; “make known your requests.” Run not to man. Go only to your God, the Father of Jesus, who loves you in Him.
This shall bring you God’s own peace. You shall not be able to understand the peace which you shall enjoy. It will enfold you in its infinite embrace. Heart and mind through Christ Jesus shall be steeped in a sea of rest. Come life or death, poverty, pain, slander, you shall dwell in Jesus above every rolling wind or darkening cloud. Will you not obey this dear command?
Yes, Lord, I do believe thee; but, I beseech thee, help mine unbelief.”
Choose to focus on Philippians 4.
Choose to focus on Thanksgiving.
Walk with the King,
Women Living Well – The book