The Peace of God

Philippians 4:4-7 ESV

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Life is Hard

Life has its troubles and its complications. And we were never told it would be easy, and if we were, then someone lied to us. For life on this earth is hard, yet for some people, perhaps not so much, but for other people, definitely. We are all given different experiences, yet some which are similar. But for the Christian we are told that the path we are to take is going to be hard and that it will be rife with trials and tribulations which come to test our faith. So, we should be prepared for when those trials do come.

Now, no matter how bad things may get, we are to rejoice in the Lord. And we should remember that our trials have come into our lives for our good, even though they are painful while we are going through them. So we should thank the Lord for our trials, for they are for our strengthening and for our maturing in our walks of faith. And they are to teach us perseverance and patience and to rely on God and not on ourselves. And we should remember that our God is still fully sovereign over our lives.

Now we can certainly pray for deliverance from our enemies and to be delivered from our trials, and we can pray for healing and for protection from the enemy, but then we need to rest in the Lord and trust him to work it all out according to his plans and purposes. And we should pray that we will be sensitized to the Spirit’s voice and to his leading, and that we will follow the Lord and not get discouraged, and to not be fearful. For Satan wants to make us afraid, and he wants us to “jump ship” and to give up the fight.

[Matt 5:10-16; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Matt 28:18-20; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Acts 1:8; Acts 14:22; Acts 26:18; Rom 5:3-5; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; 2 Co 1:3-11; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Phil 3:7-11; Col 3:16; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Heb 3:13; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 2:9; 1 Pet 4:12-17]

Let Your Reasonableness Be Known

Now, when this says for us to let our reasonableness (or gentleness) be known to everyone, it is speaking of us being fair, equitable, gentle, just, and reasonable. And to be reasonable is to be sensible, realistic, rational, logical, and wise. So this is not about just being “nice” to everyone so that they will like us and think we are okay. And it is not suggesting that we should compromise truth and righteousness in order to not offend people, too. For Jesus was gentle (fair, wise), but he never compromised truth.

And Jesus Christ, although he was meek (gentle), he was not weak. He spoke some pretty strong words to the religious hypocrites, and he didn’t sugarcoat his messages at all. He spoke the truth straight out, and he made no apologies for the strongness of his words, either. And he said if we are going to come after him that we must deny self, take up our cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we don’t, we don’t have eternal life in him (Luke 9:23-26; Matthew 7:21-23).

So, we need to follow the example of Jesus Christ with our lives, and we need to not get caught up in today’s “Christian” culture which is trying to get us to compromise truth and righteousness, and which is encouraging us to alter and to dilute the truth of the gospel so as not to offend the ungodly. And then we are hearing this strong message which is saying we need to be positive and not negative, and so that is discouraging many people from sharing the truth of the gospel, for that is being considered negative.

[Isaiah 53:1-12; Matt 26:26-29; Lu 9:23-26; Lu 17:25; Jn 1:1-36; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 8:24,58; Jn 10:30-33; Jn 20:28-29; Rom 5:8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Rom 9:5; 1 Co 6:19-20; 1 Co 11:23-32; 1 Co 15:1-8; 2 Co 5:15,21; Eph 4:17-24; Php 2:5-11; Col 2:9; Tit 2:11-14; Heb 1:8-9; Heb 2:14-15; Heb 4:15; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Pet 1:1]

The Peace of God

Now, no matter what we are going through, we are not to be afraid, but we are to take all matters to the Lord in prayer, giving thanks to him in all things, and we should let our requests be made known to God. Now this is not teaching that he doesn’t already know what is on our hearts, for he does, but we are encouraged that we need to verbalize our requests to him. So this is really for our benefit, and it is all about exercising our faith, and it is about relying on the Lord Jesus Christ in all matters of life.

Now, when we learn to trust the Lord in all matters of life and with whatever challenges we must be faced with, the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. And I testify that this is absolutely the truth! For when we don’t trust the Lord, but we worry and fret, instead, there is no peace but only anxiety. And anxiety never changes anything for the good, and we will never benefit from it, but it will only destroy us from within.

But if we are not in true relationship with Jesus Christ, and if we are just going through the motions of religious practice, we will never know that peace. For to know that peace, our hearts must be surrendered to Jesus Christ, and we must no longer be walking in sin, but we must now be walking in righteousness and holiness in obedience to our Lord and to his commands. For if we don’t, but if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin, we will not inherit eternal life with God regardless of what our lips confess.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Near the Cross

Hymn lyrics by Fanny J. Crosby, 1869
Music by William H. Doane, 1869

Jesus, keep me near the cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.

Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.

Near the cross I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.

In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

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