This evening I went to a Bible Study at a local Anglican church in the neighborhood where I am currently living in England. We studied Philippians 4:1-9 and it was really good for me to stop and truly reflect on nine verses. I have read this passage many times but tonight I received more revelation and felt compelled to share it with you all. I hope you find it encouraging.
The passage states this:
"Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
2 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."
Here are some of the notes I took from the study:
-You can't have peace if you aren't at peace with God.
-Peace comes when we: rejoice, give thanks, and pray. (verses 4-7) It also comes when we think positive things. (verses 8-9)
-Remember God's faithfulness in the past because it helps us to "rejoice in the Lord always" when we trust in the Lord because of His character, not our circumstances. We build this trust as we get to know Him (intimacy) and He gives us opportunities to put our trust in Him. As we spend time in prayer (communing with Him) and reading His Word, we get to know who He is (His character) and the more time we spend in His Word and with Him, the more we are able to see that He is actually trustworthy and faithful.
-Always begin praying with rejoicing and giving thanks for we can always find something to be thankful for
-When a conflict arises (as the two women were in conflict with their beliefs according to the second verse needing to come into agreement), we must handle it with the following: gentleness, rejoicing, not being anxious about anything, praying about everything, making our requests known to God, and peace will follow. As we follow this process, our hearts and attitudes will change and we will end with peace in our minds and hearts that surpasses knowledge.
I'm sure you may have read this passage before and have been encouraged by it as I have. Another thing we acknowledged tonight is that anxiety comes daily and we have to choose to go through this process in order to receive God's peace. I have to admit that sometimes I read the same verses over and over again and even to the point of memorizing them, but don't actually put them into practice in my life. That has happened with this verse for me. I know it very well, but still experience anxiety and don't go typically choose the process in this scripture in order to receive God's peace. What about you? How do you handle conflict or anxiety? I encourage you to memorize this scripture and ask God for it to go from a revelation in your head to a revelation in your heart. I am going to begin memorizing this even more to the point where I do not lose it because the Word also says "I have hidden your word in my heart that I may not sin against you." in Psalm 119. Therefore, it is important that we meditate on this scripture and let it sink in our hearts before we are given the opportunity to activate it in our lives. Let's not just go through the motions of reading it but make it a lifestyle to do what the Word of God says.