READ PHILIPPIANS FOUR
“Peace begins at home. Peace begins with me.”
This is something you will often hear around our home. Austin and I often talk about the situation of “the world” – from politics to famine to refugees to the lost. It is often so overwhelming and so all-encompassing that I throw my hands up and say, “I can’t do anything to help! I can’t bring peace!” And Austin gently reminds me: peace starts right here. If I don’t seek peace in my own home, there’s not a chance I will seek it in broader culture. And, to seek peace in my own home, I have to seek it in my own heart. Peace begins at home. Peace begins with me.
Paul has just encouraged the believers to seek unity with one another because of their union with Christ, and told them to cease from anxiety and ask God for help in their situation. The promise is this: the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds.
Yesterday, I shared how my thought life has helped me seek disunity, and how, by the power of God, the Lord has changed my heart and mind to enable me to seek peace with others. In this vein, he continues:
Read Philippians 4:8-9. How does this relate to 4:4-7?
Paul knows the truth that Austin and I often remind each other of: peace starts right here, in my own heart and mind. Paul has promised that the peace of Christ will guard the believers’ hearts and minds in Christ Jesus – in a way that doesn’t even make sense to our finite imaginations! God, he promises them, will do a transformative work so great that you won’t even be able to understand it. He will bring peace where there is division.
Now, Paul gives the believers a command: they are to fill their minds with a certain kind of thing. In partnership with the incomprehensible work of the Spirit in their minds, they are to meditate on things that meet a particular set of requirements.
Take a brief moment to consider each of the “qualifications” Paul gives for the believers’ thought life. What do you think each of these mean? What kind of thoughts are represented by each of these attributes?
What do they all have in common?
Is there any one thing/thought that meets all of these requirements? Is there something the believers can think on that has all of these attributes?
The only One who meets all of these attributes is God. Paul wants the believers to think on the Lord and on things that reflect His character. And, as they practice what Paul has taught them, they will know the peace of God. With a mind filled with God’s truth, they can’t deceive themselves about other believers’ motives. With a mind filled with purity, they can’t get themselves all riled up about arguments that haven’t really happened. With a mind filled with excellent things, they can’t mentally slander those they disagree with, crafting witty little jabs to use when the opportunity arises. With their mind filled with thoughts of God and things that match His character, there’s no room for division. There is only room for peace.
How does your thought life need to change to match this list of attributes?
Are there thought patters that don’t reflect God’s character that you need to repent of?
Are there thoughts patterns that do reflect God’s character that you need to adopt?
What reminders can you put in your home/work space/car/etc that will remind you to think on these things?
Praise God for His Spirit! When these things seem too hard for us, we are right – they are too hard for us! But they are not beyond the power of the Spirit.
PRAY & REFLECT
Thank God that nothing is beyond His power. Ask Him to grow your thought life into one that gives Him glory and reflects His character. Ask Him to help you. Ask Him to give you peace as a result.
P.S. – This concept that peace starts at home has been huge for our home as week seek peace among ourselves and with other believers. I want to help you keep it in front of you, so I created this free print with the prayer that it might help you live a life of peace by the power of Christ: