“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7 NIV
God is a god of order and Paul’s order of instructions to the Philippians in this passage is a great example. Part 1 of this blog series elaborates on conscious acts we can practice that enable us to more successfully “present our requests to God”. Part 2 is some of the thought processes that prepare my heart to “pray with thanksgiving”. I chose my hobbies by giving them a “good go” before deciding if they were beneficial to my life and those around me. Why decide something as important as faith without giving the proclaimed written word of God a “good go” before deciding if Scripture is reliable?
Laying our hearts desires before the King of Kings is in opposition to the ‘natural man’ instincts we inherited from Adam. Our desire to be in control of everything or the ease by which we can make excuses in the aftermath of a poor decision comes rather easily. Trusting an invisible God, not so much. Learning to ride our first bicycle took faith in our instructor, securing a good job took education, developing close friendships takes time and having a successful marriages takes commitment. Of course, each of these examples take a combination of actions, but the bottom line is our enjoyment of being under the direction of a perfect and loving God requires a free will decision and effort.
If your hearts desire is to be free of anxiety, dwell on the verses, first and foremost. Scripture has not been called God’s living word for hundreds of years without reason. When you invite God into your life HE WILL SHOW UP. It is His nature. Part 4 and possibly Part 5 will likely be my favorite parts to write when I get to opine on the benefits Paul describes! Who doesn’t want peace that transcends human understanding? …to be continued…..Steve
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