Focus – A Formula for Peace Anne Pickup
by Major Anne Pickup –
This summer marks the 30th anniversary of the Six Day War in Israel–a battle which, according to statistics, indicated Israel was the underdog with defeat certain. But God performed a miracle, and the Arab nations were dramatically subdued.
This summer marks another 30th anniversary–my conversion experience. Another miracle! Since receiving peace with God I have sought the peace of God.
Paul, in writing to the Philippians, presented a formula for daily living that would result in the God’s peace guarding heart and mind.
“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.” Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord–The word rejoice suggests a celebration after an important accomplishment such as a wedding ceremony or victory in battle. It is a picture of people who have forgotten about themselves and their daily cares because of the joy of the occasion.
Often, our focus is on the circumstances and issues of our daily lives that rob us of gladness. Someone has said, “If I look at myself I get depressed. If I look at others I get disappointed. If I look at circumstances I get discouraged. But if I look at Jesus I am fulfilled.” We rejoice in who the Lord is and what he has done. His greatness, goodness and grace bring joy.
Gentle to All–Synonyms for gentle are “graciousness” and “forbearance.” It simply means to think of other people, going out of our way to see that someone else has their rights rather than demanding ours. We don’t do it because we have to, but because in our heart there is a love that controls our lives and causes us to be concerned for them. Paul is encouraging personal consideration of other people. This is the opposite of stubbornness, arrogance, thoughtlessness. Our sweet reasonableness should be experienced by those around us!
Prayerful–Rather than worry, we are to pray about everything. Worry literally means “to be pulled in opposite directions.” Our hopes pull us one way and our fears pull us another. We are torn apart by the cares of life leaving us anxious. Prayer, on the other hand, brings peace. Prayer is based on the fact that God cares and hears our needs. Prayer is based on the fact that God is capable of meeting our needs, for our greatest good and his glory.
Paul used three different words to describe prayer. The general word, “prayer,” carries the idea of adoration and worship. Supplication means an earnest sharing of our needs and problems with God. Thanksgiving means an expression of appreciation to God for who he is and what he does.
James Draper says, “It is exciting to know that God is concerned about everything we are concerned about. There is nothing we can’t talk to him about. There is nothing too great for his power to handle, nothing so small that his grace is unconcerned. He never gets tired of our letting him know what is in our hearts.”
There’s the formula! “If you do this you will experience God’s peace,” says the Living Bible. The peace of God functions as a guard, a “garrison” or “fortress” for our heart and mind. We have a defense, someone to shield us from danger. We are guarded. God’s peace will keep, will guard, will confine our hearts and minds.
Peace, perfect peace, far beyond all understanding.
Peace, perfect peace, left with us by Christ, our Lord.
Peace, perfect peace, through eternity’s expanding;
Peace, perfect peace! Peace, perfect peace!