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Monday, February 1, 2021

p.e.a.c.e.

By Clifton Angel

    Peace. Even the word itself sounds calming and tranquil. Paul's prescription for true peace is recorded for us at Philippians 4:4–9.
    Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing 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. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
    With this text in mind, let's use the acronym P.E.A.C.E. to outline the prescription.
    Positivity. "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice" (4:4). Can anything negative be said about true joy? Notice also the positive mindset Paul encourages a few verses later, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (4:8)."
    Expression to God. "Be careful (anxious, worrisome, CRA) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God" (4:6). In some cases, depression and anxiety have been linked to complaining. So, if we have a problem, and we're tempted to complain, let's talk to God about it.
    Appreciation. See "thanksgiving" in Philippians 4:6. Giving thanks when we take our complaints to God will help us reevaluate our complaints. Furthermore, an attitude of appreciation in every situation is going to make us more delightful people. Paul says, "In everything, give thanks" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Notice, he does NOT say, "Give thanks for everything."
    However, in every situation, we can find something for which to be thankful.
    Christ. True peace is impossible without Christ. Peace with God through the washing of our sins is only possible through Christ. We contact his sin-cleansing blood in baptism, first having faith, being penitent, and having confessed His deity. "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). Once we have put on Christ in baptism (Galatians 3:27), we can: (1) Rejoice (Philippians 4:4); (2) Know things that are truly praiseworthy (4:8); (3) Pray to the Father (4:6); (4) Be thankful in every situation (4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7). Paul also said, "The Lord is at hand" (4:5).
    Encouragement to Others. "Let your moderation be known unto all men" (4:5). The word "moderation" can be translated as "gentleness" or "reasonableness." If these characterize us, then we are approachable because we are encouraging. Taking the time to encourage and lift up others helps us get the focus off of our own problems, relieve ourselves of unhealthy self-pity, hinder us from complaint, and encourage us to be more thankful. If we are positive, prayerful, appreciative, and find peace in Christ, then we can be an encouragement to others.
    Finally, Paul says, "Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you" (4:9). Only one thing is greater than the "peace of God." That is "the God of peace.
- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website: http://www.coldwatercofc.com/


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