by Dena Green
Philippians 4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 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. 7 And the PEACE of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of PEACE will be with you.
Recipe books by our favorite television chef or cute little recipe cards neatly stacked in a dainty box on our kitchen counter somewhere are nice to have. The ingredients on those recipes are listed there, but unless we make an effort and take the time to purchase the ingredients and actually prepare a meal, they are pretty much just sitting there gathering dust and are of little use to us.
God shows us clearly in his word a “recipe” and the “ingredients” that we can apply to our lives to have that supernatural peace that He provides. In our world that seems to be spinning completely out of control, we can experience the peace of God in our lives. He even says that it surpasses all imagination, this peace that He will provide. I don’t know of a single person that doesn’t desire peace in their life, but I can think of many who don’t have peace. Are you searching for peace? Read through the verses for yourself and see what ingredients are present in your life.
- Rejoice and rejoice some more! Always. Not in our circumstances, but in the Lord.
- Be reasonable and get along with others. Broken relationships disrupt our peace.
- Do not be anxious…Oh, how I struggle with this one sometimes. One of my wise teacher friends says that we have to command our soul to trust God just as David did in the midst of trouble. (Psalm 62 1-2) God commands us to be still and know that he is God. (Psalm 46:10)
- Pray for yourself and for others. Let your requests be known to Him. He cares so much. I Peter 5:7 Cast your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
- Think on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. Dwelling on these will lift your spirit.
Are you missing some ingredients?
I love to cook. Sometimes, if I am missing an ingredient, I will use a substitute. For some dishes that I prepare, that is fine. But for others, a substitution can be disaster. It is clear in Philippians 4:4-9 how to have peace. God laid out the plan. We need to follow it. We can’t substitute what we think will work – people, possessions, having things our way, or any other thing you may be seeking. They don’t work in God’s recipe. In order for a recipe to turn out as you desire, you must follow the instructions and add the ingredients that are called for. Notice that God’s word says you WILL have peace. Follow His plan. You must be deliberate. He says to practice these things. “Practice makes perfect” we’ve all heard, and in this case, it makes perfect peace.
Notice that these ingredients turn our eyes away from ourselves and our situation and turn our thoughts outward to God and others. Our circumstances may not change, but HIS peace that passes all understanding is deep-seated in our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ even in the saddest and darkest moments that we experience in this life.
One of my favorite parts of this whole passage in Philippians is the part that I have overlooked until just recently. “The Lord is at hand.” All of the other things that we notice in the scripture instruct us on what we should or should not do in order to have peace. But the writer reminds us who is close by just waiting on us to realize He is there! How wonderful is this reminder that our creator, the one true and living God is near us. His presence is close and what comfort and peace we can experience in knowing and believing.
What ingredients for peace do you need to add to your life?
Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.