Thursday, January 5, 2017

“Prerequisites of Peace” Conclusion - "Peace"

"Prerequisites of Peace"

Conclusion  - "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.
4.  Thanksgiving.
5.  Specific offering of requests for God's help.

   In our present existence, a heart and mind kept in peace does not involve the absence of emotions or thoughts of uncertainty, worry, and fear, but rather the overcoming of such challenge.

   "We were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.  Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus" (II Corinthians 7:5-6).

   No less than the Apostle Paul testified to the fact of both outward trials and inward feelings of fear.  However, he also affirmed the power of God to transcend his challenges.  In the matter he addressed, the arrival of a fellow believer, Titus, served as the Lord's means of comfort.  Based on the Apostle's teaching in Philippians we have considered, we can be sure that "the coming of Titus" resulted from Paul trusting the Lord according to the prerequisites of peace.  He felt fear, but he chose to not be governed by it.  He prayed, in the attitude of supplication and thanksgiving.  He made request for God's help in the trial.  Thus, he experienced peace in the midst of the challenge, again, not the peace of a challenge erased, but rather the peace of God as known in the midst of the challenge.  The Lord sent Titus as an outward tool of confirming Paul's safeguarded heart and mind, but doubtless the Apostle first fulfilled the prerequisites through the power of the Holy Spirit.  

   This truth presents great encouragement and great challenge to our hearts.  First, peace is always possible through the Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of peace.  The realization of peace, however, requires that we fulfill the calling of faith as mandated by the prophet Isaiah: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee" (Isaiah 26:3).  As mentioned at the outset of these messages, there may be times when our Heavenly Father bestows a measure of peace with seemingly little response on our part.  We give much thanksgiving for these occasions of grace, especially in matters of severe trial and calamity.  However, this is not the norm.  Living relationship and fellowship with God requires active internal response on our part.  The Holy Spirit dwells within us to motivate and empower such faith and submission.  However, we must respond to His moving upon the waters of our trials when things seem dark, empty, and formless.  Paul's prerequisites of peace as provided in the epistle to the Philippians go far in establishing and maintaining peace of heart and mind.  We wouldn't want it any other way.  Despite the ongoing challenge that such faith and faithfulness involves, fulfilling the prerequisites leads us to consciously walk with the Life of our lives, and the joy of our hearts.  This is peace, as provided by the Prince of peace, the peace "which passeth all understanding".

"To be spiritually minded is life and peace."
(Romans 8:6)

Weekly Memory Verse
     I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for Thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.
(Psalm 4:8)

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