Author: Ron Graham

Enlightenment

Peace Will Be With You
—How to be happy no matter what

Paul longed that his beloved brethren "stand fast in the Lord" (Philippians 4:1), and that God's "peace be with" them all (Philippians 4:9). Paul tells the Christians at Philippi how to achieve this blessed state (Philippians 4:1-9)

1 Live together in harmony and joy

Paul thinks of his brethren in Philippi, both men and women, as "true comrades" who hold something in common that trancends all petty differences —their "names are written in the book of life" (Philippians 4:3). So they should "be of the same mind" (Philippians 4:2) and "rejoice in the Lord always" (Philippians 4:4). Paul urges these feelings in God’s family, because without solidarity they cannot stand firm against their Enemy.

2 Get rid of anxiety

Paul says, "be anxious for nothing" (Philippians 4:6). Anxiety creates tension, hence agression and conflict. When people see conflict, they lose faith. When free of anxiety, they can let their "gentleness be known to all men" (Philippians 4:5). Anxiety (if not a symptom of mental illness) vanishes when people trust that "the Lord is near" (Philippians 4:5) and let their "requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6). Through their "prayer and supplication with thanksgiving" they escape anxiety and enjoy "the peace of God" (Philippians 4:6-7).

3 Think constructively

It's not hard for most people to find things true, noble, just, pure, lovely, reputable, virtuous, and praiseworthy to dwell upon (Philippians 4:8). The trick is to keep their minds on these things, and not to be distracted by the bawling of the world. Right thinking is realistic thinking, and the reality is that God is in control and evil doesn't have the upper hand. Thinking based on that fact breeds boldness in standing for the Lord, and cheerfulness on the pilgrimage through life.

4 Practise the teachings of Jesus Christ

These teachings were "learned" by revelation. They were "received" by the church at Philippi having been, "heard" in the ministry of those who laboured so faithfully among them, and "seen" in the fine example set by those who obeyed the voice of Jesus (Philippians 4:9). They were expected to "do these things" as well (Philippians 4:9). In the doing, there is discipline, hence strengthening, hence salvation. Don't let anyone tell you that people are saved without works. If people would stand fast in Jesus, they must not only receive his words, but "these things do."

In the light of these things, let us promote harmony, confidence, constructive thinking, and good works among ourselves. In this way and with God’s help, we will be strong in our Lord, joyful in life, sure of salvation, and know God’s peace.

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