Thursday, May 14, 2015

Peace

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 4:6-8).

Anxiety is often the human response to stress. Depression, which seems to be epidemic in our nation, brings confusion, anxiety or worry. We worry about tomorrow, our riches, friends and family, work and what others think about us. So what does God have to say about this?

Paul’s Philippians has a formula that requires us to be seeking God not the world in our discomfort. He tells us to seek Him in prayer, bringing petitions or intercessions of all kinds to him. This is speaking to God. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). Then he says “with thanksgiving.”  This is a key to prayer and life. “But you are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel” (Psalms 22:3). Praises and thanksgiving to God are synonyms. Thanksgiving brings God near and encompasses us as we praise Him. This admonition is telling us that we are to give thanks in all things as 1 Thessalonians 4:16 tells us. This is very hard, giving thanks for trials and tribulations. James, Jesus’ brother, said “consider it pure joy when you come into trials of all kinds” (James 1:2). This is one of the most difficult verses in Scripture. We don’t feel joyful in trouble. God is saying, be joyful in the knowledge that I am always with you, that is the key.

What happens when we seek God like this? The “peace of God” that is beyond, transcends our understanding will guard our heart and mind in Christ Jesus. What a promise! His peace is something beyond us, yet it is what we need indeed.

Paul goes on to speak of how to put this promise into practice. Exactly, practice it. In other words, put into practice the character of God. Think about all that is noble, right, pure, admirable, lovely, excellent and praiseworthy. Those are descriptions of God. Speak, meditate on and live out these traits and the “God of Peace” will be with you. God will be right here with us.


So we have the peace of God and the God of peace. But, do you have peace with God?  That is the first and most important question to complete the other two. We have not been at peace with God ever since our original sin as humans. We as a disobedient race, which have chose our own way. This separated us from the Holy One, God. There is nothing we can do to bridge this gap. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But while we were yet sinners Christ died for us on the cross. This was the requirement to make a way back to God. “For God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). You may have heard this often quoted verse. Later the Apostle says, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3 NIV). This is the plan of God. Yet it is our sin that separates us from Him. It is the cross that bridges the gap through His life, death and resurrection. It is by faith we receive Him. “By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). When we receive Christ into our hearts by faith we are born again.  We receive Him by personal invitation as He stands at the door and knocks that we might open it and let Him in (Revelation 3:20). Receive Him now and know the peace that transcends our understanding with the God of peace. This is having peace with God-eternal life. Pray now!

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