As Christians, believing in God is what we do best! We believe in a God who is able to work all things together for our highest good and for His glory. We are invited to rejoice, but we are cautioned not to worry.
"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 4:6-7, NIV).
Paul's words are not a mere suggestion; he is seriously pleading with all of us who identify as Christians not to be worried about our circumstances or about the things that we see with our natural eyes. Paul is reminding us with fervor not to allow the events of our lives to throw us into an anxiety attack or cause a nervous meltdown.
Please don't spend another long night lying awake and worrying, but spend it in relishing all of the facets of His character. When we accept the invitation of the Holy Spirit to refuse anxiety and to perpetually pray, supplicate and give thanks, there is a benefit that begins to head straight toward us as a result.
The peace of God will override every human thought and act as a buffer for all of life's problems. The peace that we receive from the Father is not based on our circumstances, but it is based on His character. He is the Prince of Peace.
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Rom. 8:28, NIV).
The peace that is ours through Christ does not come delivered through perfect or serene circumstances, but it is a peace that rules in our hearts when we quietly acknowledge that He works all things together for our good and for His glory. It is a peace that is never delivered without His presence.
God's peace is more powerful than your brain could ever be! How can anything be too difficult when you realize that the one who knows you the best and loves you the most has promised to always be at your side?
As I picture Paul writing these words from a Roman prison cell, I can imagine he realizes that he needs to pass his mantle to those who will come after him. Paul was acutely aware that believers all over the ancient world had been closely observing his life as he preached, wrote, spent time in prison, dealt with storms and shipwrecks, was persecuted for the cause of Christ and encouraged those under his watch. Now it was time for a new generation of believers to lead with honor and a Christlike demeanor.
Paul reminded those to whom he was writing, "The God of peace will be with you" (2 Cor. 13:11c, Phil. 4:9b). And in those words, we discover the blessed assurance that encouraged Paul's heart and mind no matter his circumstances. I pray that the words that Paul wrote as a blessing over the early church will resonate in your heart as well.
One of the most cherished aspects of life this side of heaven is friendship with Jesus. Time with Jesus turns an awful day into an amazing day. When I settle down and spend time in prayer alone with Jesus, it revolutionizes a mediocre day into a magnificent day. When I choose to read the Word and ignore the distractions in my world, it delivers the peace that passes understanding. When I choose to sing myself to sleep rather than cry myself to sleep, it ushers me into His presence, where there is always fullness of joy.
Do not ignore the gift you have been given in Him. Paul's God is your God, and He is with you today just as He was with Paul in prison. When you stop that nasty habit of fretting and then begin the delightful discipline of rejoicing, praying, supplicating and giving thanks, you receive the most valuable treasure of your entire life: the peace of God.
Carol McLeod is a best-selling author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor.
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