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Paul writes on his spiritual prescription pad three necessary practices for peace to be experienced.
These practices are put forward as commands. They are necessary not negotiable practices. Christian’s are to live in peace. We are not be anxious about anything. God is glorified in us when we are at peace in Him. Christ came to earth to provide us peace with God and the peace of God.
Peace will never be experienced until we obey Paul’s first command; “do not be anxious about anything.” Paul is saying; “stop all worrying for all reasons.” Worry is believing that God will not get it right. When we worry we are saying, I know the way my life is supposed to go and God’s not getting it right.
When Paul is telling us to “stop all worrying for all reasons” what is he telling us? Quit believing your feelings and start believing your faith. He told believers in
Ephesians 4:11–16 ESV
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Ephesians 4:11The word for anxious in our text means “to be of a divided mind or to be torn into pieces.”
that spiritual maturity is marked by peace. As we mature intellectually certain anxieties cease. Maturity is one way we experience peace.
His first command is a negative one; “stop all worrying for all reasons” followed by a positive command; “start praying about everything with praise.”
The U.S. Forestry Service website gives the following action steps to those who are lost.
followed by a positive command; “start praying about everything with praise.”
This is not a formula for peace but the foundation of peace. And not only the foundation but the fountain head. Our obedience to these commands do not produce peace but prepare us for its experience.
Luke 10:41 ESV
But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,
Martha should have followed Mary’s lead in savoring Jesus first so that she could serve in free of anxiety.
Our text teaches us that prayer and praise are the foundational cornerstones of peace.
The average Christian spends less than 3 minutes a day in prayer. And this answers the question of why I am not a more peaceful person.
We often only pursue prayer after we have been pummeled by our circumstances. For most savoring Christ comes after our strength has been sapped.
Anxiety runs high where trust run lows. Our anxiety runs high because we do not fully believe Paul’s words at the conclusion of verse 5; “The Lord is at hand”.
We are like a child who believes they have been abandoned by their parents in a department store. Anxious feelings drown out what we know to be true. We know our parents to be good and loving but our circumstances seem to contradict our belief. Our feelings inform our faith instead of our faith informing our feelings.
The U.S. Forestry Service website gives the following action steps to those who are lost.
We doubt his presences and his promises.
Stop where you are and remain calm. Panic is your greatest enemy. Go over in your mind where you are. Do not move at all until you have a specific reason to take a step.
Scripture commands us not to serve our way out of anxiety but to sit and sing our way out.
Our text doesn’t use the word sit when speaking of prayer but Christ taught us in Matthew to enter our prayer closet. This was done in a posture of kneeling or sitting.
Don’t get hung up on posture but position but hear what is being taught waiting instead of working.
For many this call to prayer is more traumatic than tranquil. It’s difficult because we don’t see it as waiting but wrestling. Prayer is viewed as a tug-of-war between our between will’s, God’s or ours.
The average Christian’s theology concerning prayer is; “If God knew everything that was going on in my life and how I felt at this moment he would answer my prayer as I have asked and this would provide my heart with great praise.”
For many, prayers are not something we make to a good Father but manipulations to a grand father.
The Biblical theology concerning prayer is; “If I knew what God knows then I would answer my prayer just as God does.”
Biblical theology concerning prayer understand this; “If I knew what God knows then I would answer my prayer just as God does.”
This type of praying frees us to experience a peace which will guard our entire being.
R. Rainy has caught the significance well: ‘The way to be anxious about nothing is to be prayerful about everything’.
R. Rainy has caught the significance well: ‘The way to be anxious about nothing is to be prayerful about everything’.
Paul provides for us a practice which will perpetuate this peace. Paul says that those who practice “thinking about these things” or “pondering these things” will experience proportional peace.
Our peace will be proportional to the degree to which pondering is practiced.
What are we called to ponder? It is appears that we are called to ponder certain virtues. However, I believe these virtues are parts of a vision, which is Christ. These virtues are the embodiment of The Prince of Peace.
Psalm 1:1–6 ESV
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Psalm 1:2–3 ESV
but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
What are we doing when we delight in the law of the Lord? We are delighting in Christ. What are we doing when we are meditating or pondering on the the law day and night? We are meditating on Christ. Christ is the law of the Lord.
If your peace is being attacked because you have been falsely accused; look to Christ.
If your peace is being attacked because your friends have forsaken you in your time of greatest need; look to Christ.
If your peace is being attacked because your family is in shambles; look to Christ.
If your peace is being attacked because of financial difficulty; look to Christ.
What you behold you will become. Whatever you look upon is what you will look like. Whatever you meditate on you will morph into.
When you look at yourself what do you see? What do you want to see? Why do you not see what you want to see?
Transformation will not happen randomly.
Philippians 1:6 ESV
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
God has planned to transform you. He has brought you here today so that you can see it for the first time or five hundredth time this plan.
Christian God is working in you for his good pleasure.
Philippians 2:12–13 ESV
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Philippians 2:
We work out what God works in. What is God working in today? For those who don’t know Christ it is to make peace with God. For those who know Christ it is to live in the peace of God.
Nothing glorifies God more than those who live in perfect because their mind is stayed on his God because his trust is in Him.
Do you want to live in the peace that Christ promises? Then follow God’s plan.
Plan Pondering
You cannot manage what you do not measure.
Perpetuate Pondering
Meeting Place
Method
Measure
by your output
by others opinions
Practice Pondering
Means to a End
Pondering prepares believers for prayer, petition, and praise which provides a protecting peace through practice.
Martha “was bothered about many things” (). The verb means “to be of a divided mind,” to be anxious, whether to seek this way out or that, to use this means or that
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