Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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9. Cultivating Christ Like Character, Peace – Part 2

Philippians 4:1-9

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters stay true to the Lord. I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work. Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life. Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”

After talking about our position in Christ Paul now reminds us of the power of:

  1. Praise

This second key to acquiring divine peace is found in proclaiming praise even in the problems. You see peace is not the absence of problems but the presence of God. In verse 4 Paul tells us to rejoice and to thank God for all that He has done, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” The problem with worry and fear is that because it becomes our focus we lose sight of God’s faithfulness. When that happens we fail to count our blessings because we fail to see or acknowledge how good our God has already been to us. There is a stanza in the great hymn Amazing Grace that reminds us of His faithfulness: “Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come. Tis grace that has brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.” When was the last time that you reflected upon how God has faithfully brought you down the path of your past and to the present? When was the last time you thanked Him for His past care? What are the many dangers, toils and snares that He has delivered you from? What if right now you took time to tally up all those times the Father has faithfully and lovingly led you thus far?  But, don’t stop at thanking God for His past provisions, blessings and deliverance. We need to thank Him for our present blessings as well as our past ones. When we intentionally celebrate in the Lord, we invite his presence and comfort into our lives. No matter how distressing or difficult our current circumstances or situation, we have a Savior that will never leave us or forsake us. You see despite the difficulties we can still experience His Divine blessings because no matter what problems we face we can still experience His presence. The third peace prescription is one we often overlook, be:

  1. Polite

Verse 5 says, “Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do.” So much of our people problems and lack of peace come because we are not considerate. Instead of being considerate and reflecting Christ by putting the needs of others ahead of our own we can be carless and even callused. The world doesn’t need another critical, condemning Christian, they need the love of the Lord. So, let me ask you, are you being Jesus or being a jerk to the people around you? Are you redeeming the time or just being rude and running over people? Sadly, we have become a selfish society that looks out for self instead of looking for ways to serve. The basic manners of please and thankyou have become a thing of the past. So, in your everyday interactions with people are you polite? Are you courteous or careless? In order to be considerate I have to put the focus on others, which means I have to take the focus of off self. When I make it about me it’s not long before I get mean, but when I make it about the Master it becomes about His mercy and looking for ways to minister and share the Lord’s love. The fourth prescription for peace is a:

  1. Proper Perspective

Verse 5 reminds us of the reality of Christ’s return, “Remember, the Lord is coming.” Sometimes we act as if this world is all there is and so instead of living for the Lord we get wrapped up in life. But focusing on the big picture protects us from being petty or getting wrapped up in the problems. The truth is you can’t focus on Christ and the crisis, either you will get caught up in His power or caught up in the problems. Paul reminds us to stand on the foundation of our faith not on our feelings by reminding us of the facts, Christ is in control and as the King He is coming. Our hope is not in our health or our wealth it is in Jesus. While we don’t know what tomorrow holds we do know who holds tomorrow. We don’t have to fear the future when our faith is in the Father and our focus is on His Son. The return of Jesus is the rock we hook our hope to. Are you anchored to the author of life or caught up in the chaos of life? The promise of His return is the hope that prop up our hearts and keeps them from collapsing. But like most things in life, you have a choice to make. Either you can patiently establish your heart in the promise of Christ’s coming. Or you can take your eyes off Jesus and put them on the junk. Many of us have an absence of peace and an abundance of panic because we have lost perspective. We have taken our eyes of off the Savior and put them on the struggles. So how are you doing, is your perspective one of praise or pouting, are you being caring and considerate or callused?