Think on These Things, Part 1

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God: and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:6-8.

It is an odd thing to consider, but have you ever thought about the phrase above, “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

This is an odd statement because there is no peace in the world today, even among the Christians, the very people to whom this statement is directed. It must not be a true statement.

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27.

However just because we may not experience something nor see it in the world around us, does that make it untrue?

It is untrue for most Christians because they do not pay attention to the preamble to this passage.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God…” Philippians 4:6.

“Be anxious for nothing” is not a “Don’t worry be happy” statement because those words are without content, a whistling in the dark image that has no real power.

“Be anxious for nothing” on the other hand has the promise of the dynamic power of God behind it.

The Christian is told not to stand around wringing their hands in anguish but to turn immediately to God in prayer. This is the key; prayer comes first, not as a last minute stopgap to a situation that has already started to disintegrate.

Now prayer in this case means fervent prayer, not something tossed into the air in hopes that something will happen. Supplication, which seems to mean the same thing, has a subtle difference, it means, supplication for that which has been asked for. So one prays fervently for a thing or situation and then continues to follow up with supplication for the thing asked for.

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.” James 5:16b-18.

I used to think that “God is not deaf”, so I would say a prayer for something and then leave it with Him. While there is some truth to this thinking, it is not God’s will that we pray that way.

“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: ‘There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, “Get justice for me from my adversary.” And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, “Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.” Then the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?’” Luke 18:1-7.

So real needs should be prayed for fervently and continually; real needs, not frivolous things like, God please help me win the lottery.

Yet everything counts otherwise, help me select the best vegetables, I cannot afford a new pair of shoes, help me find the right house to buy.

And most importantly, God save my loved ones and others on my heart. God preserve this nation.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

Continuous, serious, fervent prayer will bring results, and results will bring more faith when you pray, and faith augments prayer, and you will soon be able to trust God in Christ to the point of rejoicing.

In all of your prayers, do not forget to give thanks. This is important, a thankful heart is pleasing to God as well as it is to men, so give thanks for everything you receive, it encourages you and it blesses God.

If you do these things faithfully you will find that it is true that.

“…the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7.

Finally we are given eight things to meditate on. “Whatever things are true… noble… just… pure… lovely… of good report, if there is any virtue, and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.” All of these are found in Philippians 4:8.

Meditation is not the yoga type of far eastern thing that always comes to mind. The idea of meditation is the same as that which might be called rumination.

Rumination is what a cow does as she relaxes in a pasture. There are many other ruminants such as goats, buffalo, or sheep by the way.

Having eaten earlier, the animal later on regurgitates some of the food she has eaten and chews on it to break it down further, and then she swallows again. Meditation is also rumination because they have the same function, one physical and one mental.

For the Christian meditation is the act of reading or studying God’s word and then, right then, or later, ruminating on a whole passage or something that stuck out in your mind.

“Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes. With my lips I have declared all the judgments of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.” Psalm 119:11-16.

By doing this, a person will take Bible head knowledge and turn it into Bible heart knowledge.

“Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Your precepts. I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word. I have not departed from Your judgments, for You Yourself have taught me.” Psalm 119:97-102.

This is the same as a college graduate with a degree in engineering for instance, they have a ton of head knowledge, but when they get into the field they learn that there is a vast difference between what they know to be true and how to apply it in real life. Some of you old timers can attest to this.

As the young college graduate learns, so the Christian learns, life is going to give you a beating until you admit that you do not know everything.

Just as hard work, attention to detail and listening to the experienced folks around them will help the graduate become good at what they do, so the Christian will grow in their faith through listening to mature Christians, study and meditation on the Scriptures.

“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:12-17.

So then the eight words (true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtue, praiseworthy) from Philippians 4:8 are not just words on a page; they have real meaning which can change your life.

Think on These Things, Part 1 taken from posted on 7-27-16, updated on 12-9-19.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.

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