“Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” Philippians 4:4-9 (MSG)
In Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi, he ended the letter with final instructions to the people. The words hold even greater meaning as we understand that Paul wrote from a jail cell. Surely he had his own questions about his persecution. Yet, through his writing, it is apparent that Paul understood an essential lesson. Peace would not come as a result of his ingenuity or problem solving. It came when the focus was on God through prayer. In Philippians 4:7 (ESV), it says, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” There is a protection that can surround our lives and our minds when we choose to walk in God’s peace. There is nothing that can be accomplished through worry except to keep us awake at night, increase our anxiety, and derail our faith. The things that we choose to think about on a daily basis will shape our minds, perspective, and attitudes. In order to walk in peace, we have to release our worries through prayer. There is an active participation that is required of us. Although it doesn’t make sense, sometimes we like to hold on to our worries, because we hold on to the illusion of control. When we hold on instead of releasing, we miss out on God’s gift.
God keeps offering His peace, but, many times, we keep trading it back in for our limited understanding. Yet, when you hold on to your understanding, your trust becomes centered in what you can do. There are situations that we will face that our problem solving and worry will not be able to overcome. We keep trying to wrap our minds around our worries, trying to come up with the plan a through z. Yet, all of our trying to understand just leaves us unsettled, uncertain, and worried. A fear of the unknown can envelop our lives. The thing on which we focus will be the recipient of our energy. When we reach this point, our trust in God becomes irrelevant, because we are not activating it. Worry comes to us when we hold on to our own understanding and trust in what we can do. We know our limits, but when we look to God, the limits dissolve. There are no limits to His power to work in your life. In an instant, He can bring a solution into your life that you could have never imagined. Instead of letting worry hold you captive, retrain your mind to bring your worries to God and lay them down before Him. When we mediate on the best instead of the worst, it transforms us. It is in laying down our concerns before God and choosing to retrain our minds that we can rise up and walk in peace.
Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. “Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”