People are looking to find peace worldwide. They turn to world leaders, religious leaders, psychologist, prescriptions, illegal drugs, alcohol, and the list goes on. None of which can bring them the true peace they are looking for.
They want peace from stress, emotional hurts, for the world, from terror…. Look to man for the answers as to where to find the peace at. While Paul wrote close to over 2000 years ago the prescription for peace. In Philippians 4:4-9, we see Paul’s prescription.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Let’s look at the steps in the prescription.
Step 1: “Rejoice in the Lord always” – Did you catch that? No matter what is going on around us, in this world, or happening to us, we are to rejoice in the Lord. I have to admit this is hard to do, especially when you are deep in a hard trial, to find anything to rejoice over. So start looking at your blessings; your alive, you have family and friends, food to eat…
Step 2: “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone” – That is a hard one. How do you reason with someone that is unreasonable? When you take a look at the Greek word for reasonable, epieikēs, it means gentle, patient, mild, and appropriate with. Think of when you are trying to catch a dog that is lost or scared you are not going to go running up to them yelling and screaming because either they will run away or attack in trying to protect themselves. Likewise, even if the person that are talking to is unreasonable it doesn’t help the situation if you act the same way.
Step 3: “Do not be anxious about anything,” – Easier said than done, I know. I have the tendency to look at the situation and start worrying. This step comes with instructions. Instead of getting stressed out over the circumstances, we are to; Stop, Drop, & Pray (including being thankful for the problem we are facing).
Step 4: Check your focus – This is the major thing that steals peace. We see what is going on in this world or have our eyes on us and what we are going through. Paul gives us a list of what we need to keep our focus on; “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Like all prescriptions, Paul tells us how often to do these steps. “Practice these things,”. That doesn’t mean just once and you’re done. Can you imagine if a person decides that they want to learn to play the piano and practice the scales one time and then decides they are ready to play Bach or Mozart at Carnegie Hall? That isn’t going to happen. It takes hours upon hours, day after day, years of practice to become a concert pianist. Steps 1-4, will take a lifetime of practice but we do have the promise as we practice them we will receive the peace of God.
God’s peace is not the peace that you find in this world. It is that goes beyond-beyond all comprehension. A peace that reaches down deep into your soul no matter what you are going through.
So practice steps 1-4, day or at times hourly, knowing that God is with you ready to pour out His peace in that circumstance.