In this passage, Paul gives us 4 tools to be used to receive the peace of God.
- To celebrate and rejoice
- To ask
- Meditation and spiritual discipline
What is it that’s stopping you from having the life you’ve dreamed of? We often think we’re one thing away from happiness – if only I was slimmer, richer, married etc. – but that’s a recipe for anxiety. Peace doesn’t come from circumstances changing but when our attitude towards our circumstances change when we live with gratitude and are aware of the joys in our life.
A challenge is to spend time each day counting our blessings, we can do this simply by beginning our prayer times with thanks or keeping a thankful journal or thankful jar.
As we focus on our blessings anxiety grabs a bag and slips out the back door, worry and anxiety refuse to share a heart with gratitude.
Paul models this in Philippians 4:11-13 by being thankful even while he’s in prison with no hope for release, he has far less than we have but he found the secret to contentment and peace. What list do we focus on, the one that says if only I was richer, married, had a new job etc. which will lead to anxiety, or like Paul, do we focus on what we have in Christ, eternal life, the love of God and forgiveness. If we focus on this list we’ll find peace and contentment.
In this current climate, there are many different things being thrown at us, but during this storm, we can still enjoy God’s peace and protection. As we celebrate, pray and are full of thanksgiving, God gives us his peace and constructs a fortress around our hearts and minds, that protects us from the lies and schemes of the evil one. And the peace He gives is not from God, He gives us the very peace of God, John 14:27.
The world we’re living in is in a spiritual battle. Just before Paul wrote to the Philippians he had faced a horrific 14-day storm, but at the end of the storm he said ‘stood beside me was an angel’.
We also get a glimpse at this spiritual battle in Daniel 10, Daniel is troubled and he prays for 3 weeks nonstop and then he sees an Angel. Daniel 10:14
There’s a battle going on in heaven and we must not give up in our battle against anxiety, Daniel 10:12 should give us wonderful hope because the Lord hears our prayers.
2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat was completely outnumbered, he prays and puts worshippers and singers at the front of the army and by the time they reach the battlefield the battle has been won. Prayer and worship won that battle.
God is fighting for you, we might not always see it and understand but God is there fighting. The same Jesus that sent an angel to Paul in the storm, sends a message to you, when you walk through the waters I will be with you.
This week let’s focus on what we have, be full of thanksgiving, thanking God for what we have spiritually and materially.
Christ is enough, what we have in Christ is greater than anything we don’t have on earth.