Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Peace, man....

One thing we need in life that dissolves stress, anxiety, depression and doubt is an overwhelming sense of peace.

When we are at peace with each other, understanding, care, compassion and practical help blossoms. Imagine the benefits of being at peace with God! Self doubt, self judgement, soul-deep anxiety and stress would melt away, replaced by a calmness and relief that would change you from the inside out.

In Paul's letter to the church at Philippi (Philippians) he has some wonderful practical advice on how to attain that peace. Bear in mind he is writing to people who have already become believers and followers of Jesus.

In chapter 4 he sets the scene with expressions of love and care - 'my brothers', 'you whom I love and long for', 'my joy and crown', 'dear friends'. Paul knew the power of speaking the truth with love.

In verse 2 he deals with interpersonal bickering - 'I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.' Paul doesn't take sides, but appeals to both parties to come to agreement and peace. He then calls on his trusted friend to smooth the way for this reconciliation. It is good to end divisions and restore friendships amicably. 

In verse 4 he reminds us of the bigger picture, our standing in Christ, and our response should be to naturally 'rejoice in the Lord always', rather than concentrate on petty differences among ourselves.

'Let your gentleness be evident to all' (v5), this is an outflowing from loving treatment of each other, where people see and note the way we interact.

'Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.' (v6). Paul reminds us that we are dealing with and relying on the God of creation, the Lord of all, and our everyday lives are in His hand and under His care. Our stresses are self induced, we are to 'let go and let God'. Whatever you are worried about, you are to present to God to take care of, and when you hand over your worries, thanksgiving will flow from the joy of relief. We are not to bottle up our cares and concerns, but to share them with our loving Father, so they don't fester and burden us.

The direct result of this is an attainment of peace that comes from living in the will of God (v7). This peace is of such power that it permeates our hearts and minds. Our emotions, fears, yearnings, thoughts, beliefs and desires are all infused with peace. What a wonderful way to live! All by dealing with the day to day interactions of ourselves with others, making sure we heal differences, looking to our Lord in happiness out of what He has accomplished for us, treating each other with dignity, respect and love, and 'casting all your cares upon Him'.

But wait, there's more! Maintaining that outlook of inner peace in our hearts and minds is important. We don't just want a 'one-off' experience... So Paul gives us some advise on how to keep living in that peace.

'Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.' What do you feed your mind with? What words and images do you digest? It is good to choose to listen to songs and speech that uplifts yourself and others. It is good to contemplate scenes that are positive rather than denigrating or destructive. There are many things we have the power of choice over each day, and we would be wise to filter out the depressive and demeaning to concentrate on the affirming and uplifting.

Practice peace, and rejoice in the God of love.


  1. I couldn't agree more. I also found that when things are tough prayers of gratitude are rewarded with not only the peace of god but a feeling of fulfilment like nothing else.

  2. awesome greg ... I needed to read this ... thanks

  3. My thoughts exactly!
    Thank you Greg!

    'It is good to contemplate scenes....'
    Oh yeah, I'm hearing ya!

    From one photographer to another!



Keep it nice :) or get kicked out :(