"Prerequisites of Peace"
"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 prerequisites, as taught by the Apostle Paul:
1. The determination to not be governed by fear.
2. Prayerful fellowship with God.
3. Supplication, or humbly acknowledging our need for His help.
5. Specific offering of requests for God's help.
Before closing our consideration of the prerequisites of peace, I'd like to emphasize the point that in our present existence, tranquility of heart and mind often exists concurrently with thoughts and feelings that seem in conflict with the still waters of a Christ-secured spirit.
"As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" (II Corinthians 6:10).
The Apostle Paul confirms that conflicting sensibilities sometimes characterize the inward experience of born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. "The flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary one to the other" (Galatians 5:17). As we have considered, the realized peace of Christ does not involve the elimination of conflict, but rather the overcoming of it. "This is the victory that overcometh the the world, even our faith" (I John 5:4). We can fulfill the prerequisites of peace in genuine faith and submission to our Heavenly Father, but still experience conflicting emotions, thoughts, and even physical sensations. Paul testified to such experience in his own life and walk with the Lord: "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair" (II Corinthians 4:8).
We must realize and remember this truth so that we may not be discouraged when battles still rage even through we have committed our trust to the Lord. This includes internal conflict. We don't always feel better, and thoughts may still course through our minds that belie our confidence in God. By definition, a "kept" heart and mind exists in venues that requires its keeping. Thus, we expect our enemies to challenge us when we trust the Lord. We counter by remembering the truth of God we have believed, and by affirming we have believed it. Having chosen confidence rather than fear, along with prayerful fellowship, humble supplication, grateful thanksgiving, and specific requests as our chosen path, we make our stand in the face of all challenge. "My heart is fixed, o God, my heart is fixed!" declared the Psalmist (Psalm 57:7). We declare it with him, regardless of feelings, thoughts, and physical sensations to the contrary. "I believed, therefore have I spoken" (Psalm 116:10).
Our Heavenly Father desires our realization of peace far more than do we ourselves. One day, such grace will be perfectly manifested as He delivers us from the presence of conflict. This is not that day. This is the day of challenge, and of "the good fight of faith" (I Timothy 6:12). We know the peace of Christ even as battles still rage around and within us. Thus, the experience of peace requires both God's bestowal through Christ, and our response to His grace. The prerequisites of peace lie before us, as proclaimed in God's Word. Our fulfillment of them, as enabled by the Holy Spirit, leads to a secured heart and mind in the very midst of our enemies' attacks. This is the will of God for us, and this is the way of God for us in our present existence. How greatly He is glorified as we walk in His peace freely given, and His peace faithfully received.
"God is our refuge and strength; a very present help in trouble."
Weekly Memory Verse
I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for Thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.