Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

10. Cultivating Christ Like Character, Peace – Part 3

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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 reminding us of our position in Christ, the importance of praise, being polite and maintaining a proper perspective now Paul points to the fifth prescription for peace:

  1. Prayer

Paul tells us in verse six “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need” God’s Word reminds us to turn to prayer not to panic. Are you putting your energy into praying or panicking?  Instead of being drained by distress and experience mental and emotional turmoil we need to take our problems to the Lord in prayer. So, are you giving priority to your problems or packaging them prayer? Don’t be bashful about bringing your problems to the Lord; if it brings concern to you then it is a matter of concern to Him. Once we have prayed and made our requests known we need to wait patiently for God’s answer. He always answers prayer and His answer will be the product of His love, His compassion and His wisdom. He will answer by giving us whatever is best for, it is knowing this that is the basis for our peace of mind. Peace is not found in the provision but in the provider. Often our problem with prayer is that we are focused on the answer more than the Almighty.  When we take a matter to the Lord, we must leave it with Him. 1 Peter 5 tells us to cast all our cares on Him, when we do our cares are in His court and we wait for Him to make the next move. Pray is really a transfer of trust, where we stop holding on and hand it over to God. Do you believe that He is bigger than your battles, more powerful than your problems? This is not only trusting in God’s ability but also His timing. Do you want peace, then stop panicking over the problems and start praying? Where do you need to transfer trust from self to the Savior? Worry leads to panic, prayer leads to power. Are you going to waste your life on worry or invest your life in worship? Worry is problem focused, worship is power focused. The sixth prescription for peace is:

  1. Ponder what is Pure – Vs 8

In verse 8 Paul says, “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.” This is not a suggestion but a command, because our natural tendency is to dwell on the negative instead of focusing on the positive. Pondering the positive is probably one of the least preached and least practiced aspects of the Christian faith.  How often do we fail to focus on the positive, and instead allow our minds to dwell on the negatives? Many of us are masters at seeing our glass as half empty rather than half full. Yet as believers we should be able to see a silver lining in even the darkest cloud. When we remember that God is with us, for us and working in our lives, we should be the most optimistic and positive people on the planet. Paul reminds us to place our focus on what is true instead of the lies, noble instead of what is unjust, right instead of wrong, lovely instead of the horrible, admirable instead of the bad, pure instead of the counterfeits and fakes, and praiseworthy instead of the problems. When we place our focus on these things they will penetrate our problems, influencing and impacting our perspective and provide real peace. Lastly Paul reminds us to:

  1. Practice Obedience – Vs 9

The last key to experiencing and enjoying peace of mind is striving to obey the teachings of Christ. Paul says, in verse 9, “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.” Obedience leads to peace because one, if we obey God’s Word, we will avoid many of the pitfalls in life that lead to unnecessary heartaches and headaches. Psalms 119:165 reminds us of this truth: “Those who love Thy law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.” Second there is a peace that comes when you know in your heart and mind that you are doing all that you can to please God. Paul reminds us in Acts 24:16: “I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.” With obedience comes a clear and clean conscience which promotes peace of mind. Lastly, Christ’s teachings call us to take up our cross deny ourselves and follow Him. We are called to look beyond self and serve others. The more I take my focus off of me, my predicaments and problems, and place them on others and how I can make their lives lighter the more my life is liberated. Paul calls us not just to listen to the preaching but to put it into practice. So, in what ways do you need to “Bear others burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2. What is dominating your thoughts, is it thankfulness, are you pondering the praiseworthy and the pure or are you pouring over the negative? Are you being obedient to the One who called you to live and walk in peace even in the problems? As we close this call to cultivate the character of peace I want you to answer the following three questions:

  • Are you at peace with God – Saving peace
  • Do you have the peace of God – Securing peace. Are you living in His peace or the panic?
  • Are you living in peace with others? Serving peace. Are you passing the baton of peace on to others or is there someone that you are not at peace with?

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