"Prerequisites of Peace"
Part 7 - "Why Prerequisites?"
"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.
We may wonder why God sets forth "prerequisites of peace" for born again believers in Christ, rather than merely bestowing a kept heart and mind as the inevitable fruit of His presence.
The answer lies in the nature of God, and of ourselves. He exists as a relational Being, to the degree that the Apostle John declares the Lord Jesus Christ to be "the Word" (John 1:1). The one God of Scripture is triune, eternally dwelling as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (I Timothy 2:5; I Peter 1:3, Hebrews 1:8; Job 26:13). This involves fellowship between the Persons of the Trinity, as clearly set forth throughout the pages of Scripture in terms both direct and implied. Moreover, God made man "in His image", and thus, as a being capable of relationship first with Him, and then with fellow human beings (Genesis 1:26). We exist to relate, even as loving fellowship eternally characterizes the existence of God Himself (John 17:5; 24-26).
In contrast, consider the laws of creation, also made by God. Motion and gravity, for example, work at His bidding. No relationship or fellowship between the Lord and these laws are necessary because motion and gravity are not conscious. They possess no heart, mind, or capacity for communication. They simply do what their Maker created them to do. Thus, they never know the joy of relating to God. Nor do they know the sorrow of failure to relate to Him. They just are, with no awareness of themselves, no freedom to be or not to be, and no capacity for relationship and fellowship. In the context of our current consideration, the laws of motion and gravity are not required to fulfill prerequisites in order to perform their purpose for existence. Again, they just are, as their Lord made them, and they just do His bidding. "The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof" (Psalm 50:1).
We may sometimes wish that this were the case with ourselves. Alas, however, those made in God's image must relate. We must respond to the Maker and Sustainer of our being. "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent" (John 17:3). We must know the love of God, and respond in kind. This constitutes the reason for prerequisites in our relationship and fellowship with the Lord, including the realized experience of His peace. Gravity and motion do not rejoice in the blessed goodness of their God. They cannot, because they lack the heart and mind of consciousness. People, however, possess this wonder of God-formed and enabled awareness and capacity to respond. Thus, to know and experience the peace of God, we must respond to Him in the manner He dictates. His Spirit dwells within us to enable our faith and submission. Thereby, during times of challenge, we make the choice to not be overcome by fear. We pray with the humble attitude of supplication. We give thanks as we pray. And we make specific requests to our Heavenly Father, as guided by His Word and His Spirit. These are the prerequisites of peace, as known in circumstances, situations, and conditions wherein peace seems impossible, but wherein our Lord reveals His heart and mind-keeping presence, involvement, and power.
"Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD."
Weekly Memory Verse
I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for Thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.