Tuesday, December 27, 2016

“Prerequisites of Peace" Part 1

"Prerequisites of Peace"

Part 1

    "Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7). 

   The Apostle Paul offers five prerequisites of peace in his command and counsel regarding the secured heart and mind of born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

1.  The determination to not be governed by fear.
2.  Prayerful fellowship with God.
3.  Supplication, or humbly acknowledging our need for His help.
4.  Thanksgiving.
5.  Specific offering of requests for God's help.

    First, Paul commands that we choose to overcome fearfulness - "Be careful for nothing".  Such determination involves faith rather than personal grit or discipline.  A life governed by fear actually reveals weakness in our knowledge and understanding of the only One who can legitimately deliver us from the trepidations of a fallen world.  Whenever we realize that insecurity rather than confidence directs our inward atmosphere of heart and outward actions of body, we must ask the question, "What of God and His Truth am I failing to know, understand, and believe?"  We do not legitimately overcome fear by deciding to be strong in and of ourselves.  We rather seek to "be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might" (Ephesians 6:10).  Only thereby do we experience the true peace of the Lord Jesus as the fruit of His assuring presence in our hearts and working in our lives.  "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because He trusteth in Thee" (Isaiah 26:3).

   Temptations to fearful insecurity, regardless of measure or mode, offer opportunities to remember, affirm, and respond to God's promise of peace.  In fact, our Lord promises the transcendent tranquility of a "peace, which passeth all understanding".  Thus, challenges of fearfulness provide the possibility of knowing true peace in a way we could never access if our enemies did not seek to foment fear in our hearts and minds.  We discover the Lord's peace rather merely overcoming insecurity by human attempts to make the best of situations and circumstances.

    Finally, the determination to "be careful for nothing" involves a matter of obedience to God.  The hard truth is that we sin against Him whenever we allow fear to control us. The Biblical case can be made that the opposite of faith is fear, and vice versa.  Failure to trust our Lord leads to fearfulness.   Thus, the choice to be walk in confidence rather than insecurity results from the chosen knowledge of God and response to His Truth in times of temptation.  When we realize we that fear rather than faith controls us, we do well to humbly repent and confess our sin in confidence of our Heavenly Father's forgiveness and cleansing.  Then we make our determination: "I will be careful for nothing.  I will not be afraid, fearful, or insecure.  And I will do so not by my own strength or discipline, but through the power of Christ and His Truth."  This is the first prerequisite of the Apostle's path to peace, as provided in his teaching to the Philippians, and to ourselves.

"Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always by all means."
(II Thessalonians 3:16)

Weekly Memory Verse
    Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
(II Corinthians 11-14)

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