I am a math girl, so it is easy for me to simplify things into boxes and formulas. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn’t. All my life, I have turned to Philippians 4:6-8 as a pillar to remind me to trust God and seek Him with every need. It reminded me that His peace is available to me at all times. Today I saw it a little deeper, though.
My husband and I are still in the applying and trusting phase. I admit I have been slow at my applications; none-the-less, we are kind of stuck in this phase going, “Ok, God, anytime now!” We have applications for God to bless, a potentially open door to the country of our dreams, and a potential opportunity to sell Mary Kay (for me anyway. My husband is not so much of the cosmetic type. :D). I say that to not only give a brief update but to also give you the background of all that is floating through my head as I read Philippians 4 again tonight, where God gave me a fresh perspective.
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 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.
8 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. 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. (Philippians 4 NLT)
I see three parts, all of which are necessary, to live in God’s peace.
1.) Pray about everything. This is where I always danced around. I would pray and expect God to give me peace. Usually, that was enough. Usually, I can just pray and set it in God’s hands… for a while. Let’s be real, the peace didn’t always last. It was enough to get me through a moment and sometimes a day. Which is why it says, “Tell God what you need, and…” not or, but and. To me, that semantically implies that this next part is as necessary as the first part. So after we pray we need to…
2.) Thank Him for all he HAS done! It seems to be a theme of this year (hence the Thanksgiving 365 page). I need to give thanks to God in all circumstances. That means even when I have every human right to worry and fret over the details and where my next paycheck will come from, I need to pray and then thank God for what I already have. I thank Him for the opportunities He is opening. I thank Him for the roof over my head and for generous in-laws. I thank Him for free coffees and new acquaintances. I thank Him for grueling applications that grow me. In all things, I thank Him! After we have prayed and given thanks, we have to live it out.
3.) Fix your thoughts on… The mind is powerful! Renew it and fill it daily with the things that are “true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy,” etc. If you pray, give thanks, and then turn around and live sinfully or think about trash, then you still won’t live in peace. That would be like going to the doctor, getting the medicine, and then going home and flushing it all down the toilet. You won’t get better! And just like you won’t get better without going to the doctor, you won’t find peace without going to God. These are all three crucial parts of living in peace.
So, here I am with big prayers about big opportunities. I am reminded to seek God, thank Him, and think on things of Him. I am reminded to do my part to prepare my heart and my life for His blessings and to trust Him. I am reminded to live in peace even in the waiting, the hurting, or the blessing.