Phil Cox

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The secret of peace

6th March 2006

A few weeks ago, I posted a column entitled "the secret of contentment" which was a short study of Philippians 4 verses 10 to 14.

Immediately before this, in verses 2 to 9, Paul talks about the secret of peace - so here's a quick look at that.

I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.
Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Many make the mistake of taking verse 7 (or verses 6 and 7) out of context. I think this passage from verse 2 to verse 9 was intended to be read as one message. It answers the question "how can I be peace?"

Verse 2 says: If you want to be at peace, you need to be in agreement with all the other members of your church.

Verse 3 says: If you want to be at peace, you need your church to be at peace - so be a peacemaker. At all times, strive to maintain (or restore) unity between church members.

Verse 4 says: To be at peace, you must be willing to rejoice whatever happens. After all, God is in control of all things, and He does know what He's doing. It doesn't say "never weep, never mourn, never be sad, never feel a sense of loss" but it does tell us that it's possible to be rejoicing and mourning at the same time.

Verse 5 says: To be at peace, it is necessary to be gentle.

Verse 6 says: To be at peace, we need to pray, and our prayers need to include everything we would otherwise be anxious about.

Verse 7 promises that we will have the peace of God, if we obey verses 2 to 6, and it says that this peace is more wonderful than we can understand.

Verse 8 says: Choose to think about good things, not bad things. You will not retain your peace if you think or speak too much about the negative things. Instead,we are wise to fill our minds with good things.

Verse 9 says: It is wise to imitate mature Christains - see how they live in peace, and study to be the same. It also says that as we grow in all the precepts in these verses, the God of peace will be with us. And how cool is that?

I've kept this very simple. If you don't seem to have the peace that is available to every Christian, learn these verses, put them into practice, and grow in peace.

May the god of peace always be with you.