By Joel Comiskey, check out Living in Victory
Paul said to the Philippians, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). The situation in Philippi was full of upheaval, just like in today’s world. The believers in Philippi faced persecution, idolatry, and financial struggles—just like we do today. Paul reminds them to find peace in Jesus Christ.
Paul gives specific steps in Philippians 4 to maintain God’s peace:
- Rejoice in the Lord. Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4). We maintain God’s peace by rejoicing in all circumstances. We can rejoice in all circumstances because we know that all things work together for good (Romans 8:28). We realize that God is using the hardships for his glory and has a perfect plan in all things.
- Don’t be worried. Paul said, “Do not be anxious about anything” (Phil. 4:6). We have a lot of reasons to be worried today: health issues, financial struggles, job security, loved ones not following Jesus, marriage conflict, dating struggles, and so forth. Yet, God tells us not to worry. Anxiety kills peace. Sometimes we think it’s a noble thing to be anxious–like we’re giving our attention to current problems. Yet God wants us to give those issues to him and not worry about them. This includes issues with cell groups, leadership coaching, or pastoring the church. We need to do our part in ministry and leave the rest to God.
- Pray and leave your request to God. Paul said, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phil. 4:6). God wants us to cast our care on him and leave our requests with him. Sometimes our prayers are filled with worry because we don’t leave them before God. Our prayers can sometimes fuel more worry. This happens when we fail to thank God and leave our requests before him. He doesn’t want us to carry those requests in a worrisome way. Leave them before him.
- Think about those things which are pure. Paul said, “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” (Phil. 4:8). If we want to maintain God’s peace, we need to think upon Scripture. God’s Word will never change and it’s our final authority. It’s also without error, so we can trust everything written in God’s Word, the Bible. Are you meditating continually upon Scripture? But Paul is also telling us to think about what he’s doing in our midst and what he’s going to do. Dream. Believe. Trust that God is working even though we can’t immediately discern his plan. He does have a perfect will and he’ll bring it to pass in his time.
We live in uncertain times, just like the believers at Philippi. Yet, God wants us to walk in peace today and in the future.