In just two fairly short verses of Philippians 4, Paul gives us three steps to peace beyond understanding. With all the turmoil going on in our nation and around the world, I thought this might be a good time to see what he has to say.
Step 1 Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything.
With these words, Paul makes it sound so easy doesn’t he? I sometimes feel as if I was born to worry. I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this, I’ve heard from too many of you not to know that you probably worry as much as I do. Of course, we don’t call it worry, we call it “concern” or maybe “a prayer need”. And so we pray.
Step 2 With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.
What does it mean to have a thankful heart? Our hearts are to be thankful for a God we know to be faithful. The God Who has heard and answered our prayers in the past, so that we have no reason to doubt that He will hear and answer again. Our heart is thankful for what God has done and what we know He is going to do. A thankful heart is the fruit of faith.
Step 3 Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.
This is the sticking point for many of us. We’ve done steps one and two but we just aren’t getting step three. Where’s the peace? Peter has a word for us concerning peace in 1 Peter 5:7
casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7 ESV)
To cast means to throw, to place upon. Peter is telling us that because God loves us, He wants us to throw, to put all our burdens on Him. Think about it this way; in a baseball game, when the pitcher throws the ball, the minute it’s released it is no longer under his control, it comes into the hands and under the control of the catcher. There are times though when a pitcher goes through the motions of throwing the ball but, for whatever reason, he doesn’t let go of it – this is called a balk. A balk is an illegal play that usually results in the ball being declared dead. If you’re not getting the peace promised in Philippians 4:7, ask yourself – am I throwing or balking? I’ve illustrated what a balk is, let’s look at what it means to “throw”:
- It means hands up – surrender it to Christ.
- It means knees bent – pray without ceasing.
- It means watch and wait – expect God to act.
In all of my 65+ years, I don’t know that I’ve ever met anyone, Christian or otherwise, who would say they wouldn’t like more peace in their life. It’s too bad, because if you are a child of God, and if you will replace self-sufficiency with Christ’s sufficiency, it really is as easy as 1-2-3.
Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel. (Philippians 4:6-7)