READING: Philippians 4:1-7 & 4:8-9
“And God’s peace, which excels above understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds…” How can peace be a guardian of the heart and mind? It should come as no surprise that Paul considers peace to be supreme over understanding. Many times we scramble to make sense out of circumstances or decisions with the mistaken belief that clear understanding will produce calm assurance. Paul suggests to Euodia and Syntyche a different (Christ-like) method: be calmly reasonable with each other (v.5 & 2:4), include non-demanding postures towards God (v.6 & 2:6), then allow peace and humility to win-out over principle and personal rights (v.7 & 2:8).
“Put these things into practice, then the God of peace will be with you…” Do you grasp for peace like a commodity that you can buy on Amazon or at City Market? The goal of faithful thinking isn’t a preferred set of thoughts or emotions. The goal is to access the heart and mind of God who is the source of peace! As well-trained consumers, we often express a sense of distance from God. We place our order for God’s presence, then expect God to show up on our doorstep like a cardboard box with a smile on the side. To experience the sequence of success Paul has outlined, we will need to engage faithful practices!
What does that have to do with Advent? This season sets the bar for consumer-based living. Every time we exercise our prosperity, let’s remember the true gift: God with us! Paul reminded his partners about the path to real peace beyond an end to strife and infighting. Receive mature PEACE from God while awaiting Jesus’ Second Advent!
Mark Hill, pastor