How many of you want more peace?
As we survey what is happening around us, the obvious answer from rational people would be a definite yes! But what is peace?
When I was younger, I thought peace was the absence of trouble. Back then, a peaceful day meant that things went smoothly and people were nice to me. But as you grow older, what do you realize? There’s always going to be troubles, struggles, and challenges.
If peace means the absence of all these things, you will never have peace.
In the Bible, peace is described as wholeness, blessing, and fulfillment. When an ancient Jew said to you, “peace be with you” they weren’t saying, “I hope people are nice to you today.”
They were really saying … “May God’s help and strength and favor be with you.”
As we see in Philippians 4, the key to experiencing peace is to stay focused on God.
In Philippians 4:1-9, the Apostle Paul describes the connection between peace and the power of practicing godly thinking.
In general, we get good at the things we regularly practice. There’s a reason why football players practice blocking and tackling. We develop and improve our skills by practicing them.
You might think about it this but you can practice the way you think.
1 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! 2 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. – Philippians 4:1-3
We often assume these two ladies are quarreling with each other. Paul doesn’t say that. But they do disagree about something. (Sidenote: you can disagree with someone without being disagreeable.) What is Paul’s response? Have the same mind in the Lord.
Do you want to experience peace? Stay focused on God.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4-7
What is anxiety?
In the original language, anxiety was a combination of two words put together. One meant to tear or separate. The other referred to the mind. Put together, they literally meant to to divide the mind.
Anxiety comes about when our mind is divided.
Years ago, we used to sing “The battle belongs to the Lord.” While battle belongs to the Lord, the battle begins in our minds.
Knowing that, how can we stay focused on God?
Find the good – rejoice! The devil will tell you, “Everything is awful. Everything is bad.” He knows that discouragement leads to paralysis. What happens if you stop looking for the good in your life? You’ll miss most of the good that is all around you.
Pray first. When do we pray? In every situation. If I have time to worry, I have time to pray. When I receive bad news, I have a choice: choose anxiety or trust. Where is that choice made? In the mind.
Be thankful. I’ve heard it said gratitude is an attitude. Thankfulness is a way of thinking. It’s not a theory – it’s a thought. I’ve discovered that thankful people tend to be less anxious people.
Author Max Lucado once wrote, “Your challenge is not your challenge. Your challenge is the way you think about your challenge.”
What is the key to experiencing peace? Stay focused on God.
Notice how Paul closes passage:
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:8-9
Be intentional about the way you think.
Why? Because the gravitational pull of our culture is never towards Jesus. In fact, many of our cultural magnets pull us away from what is pure, lovely, and admirable.
Our culture would have you ask, “What’s wrong with watching this, reading this, or doing this?” A better question for Christ-followers would be … “What’s good about it?”
If we’re not intentional about nurturing a godly thought life, then what are we? We’re drifters. Drifting is never the best way to get where you want to go in life.
Parents – don’t leave this up to chance. The attitudes and practices that lead to peace with God are caught as much as they are taught.
If you don’t know where to start, let me suggest you start by focusing on Jesus.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2
Experience and Background
- 25+ years of senior leadership experience
- masters in business administration (mba)
- presenter at the WFX National Conference
- former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
- helped start 2 for-profit tech companies
To get a better feel for my style and personality, you can watch past sermons on our YouTube channel.
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I’ve written a few books that might help! You’ll find books on preaching, leadership, Ephesians, as well as my first novel. Follow this link to learn more.