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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

My Obedience Leads to Peace

In review of Philippians 4:6-7 it says, “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” (NLT).

Today's passage comes from Philippians 4:4-9. In it Paul tells me to always be full of joy and rejoice in the Lord. Let everyone see that I am considerate in all I do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Also, I shouldn’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what I need, and thank him for all he has done. Then I will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard my heart and mind as I live in Christ Jesus. I am to fix my thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all I've learned and received from Paul's teaching, everything I heard from him and saw him doing. Then the God of peace will be with me.

Paul wrote this letter while in prison. It's seems strange that he being in prison would still be telling a church and myself to rejoice. But Paul's attitude teaches me an important lesson: My inner attitude does not have to reflect our outward circumstances. Paul was full of joy because he knew that no matter what happened to him, Jesus Christ was with him. Several times in this letter Paul urged the Philippians to be joyful, probably because they need to hear this. It's easy to get discouraged about unpleasant circumstances or to take unimportant events too seriously. If I've found my joy waning, I may not be looking at life from the right perspective.

Ultimate joy comes from Christ dwelling within me. Christ is near, and at his second coming we will fully realize this ultimate joy. He who lives within us will fulfill his final purposes for me.

I need to be considerate (reasonable, fair minded, and charitable) to those outside of faith and beliefs. This means I am not to seek revenge against those who treat me unfairly, nor am I to be overly vocal about my personal rights.

Not worrying seems like an impossibility. But Paul's advice it to turn my worries into prayers. So to worry less, I need to pray more. Whenever I start to worry, just stop and then pray.

God's peace is different from the world's peace. True peace is not found in positive thinking, in absence of conflict, or in good feelings. It comes from knowing that God is in control. My citizenship in Christ's Kingdom is sure, my destiny is set, and I can have victory over sin.  Just let God's peace guard my heart against anxiety.

What I put into my mind will determine what comes out in my words and actions. Paul tells me to program my mind with thoughts that are good. If I find I'm struggling, I should examine what I'm feeding my mind, and replace it with wholesome material. Above all, continue to read God's Word and pray. Ask God to help me focus my mind what is good and pure.

Lastly it's not enough to just hear or read the Word of God. I must also put it into practice. Exposure is not enough. It must lead me to obedience.

I’m also reminded this morning that If I’m feeling overwhelmed or confused about a decision that I’m trying to make, I’m probably caught up in myself and not listening for God’s voice. The Bible says, “God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33 NIV). He is not the author of confusion. So if I’m feeling confused, it’s not God’s voice speaking in my life.

The only time that pressure could be legitimate, is if God’s told me to do something, and I keep saying “no” or ignoring it. Then the pressure does build. But there’s always peace when I say “yes” to what God’s asking me to do.

Satan wants to drive me compulsively, but God wants to draw me compassionately. Satan wants to take advantage of my compulsions and use them to drive my life. But God is my Good Shepherd. He wants to draw me in toward himself and peace.

If I feel like God’s told me to do something but you’re increasingly anxious because of it, then the wires are crossed. Something’s not right.

Today’s passage tells me, “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” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT).

Bottom Line:
Don’t worry about anything. Instead pray and tell God what you need. Thank him for all the things he has done. As a result, you’ll experience his peace.

What this means to me:
When worry or anxiety comes into my life, I’m to pray about it regardless of what it is. I can tell God what I need and most importantly thank him for all he has already done and will do. This will help me experience God’s peace which in turn will guard my heart.

This passage and study have reminded of seven things which will help guide me today. Father, today I pray that I be full of joy, be and show compassion to others, not worry about things but pray, to fix my thoughts on what is good, to be obedient and keep putting into practice what I’m learning, and lastly not allow my inner attitude to reflect my outward circumstances.

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