Reflection on Philippians 4:6-8
God longs for us to live at peace. Conceptually, I think we all know that. Every Christmas we sing about “Peace on Earth and Good Will toward Men.” The emphasis is on peace with one another and between nations. But God has another message for us individually. He longs for us to be at peace on the inside.
Sometimes I think it’s easier to live at peace with my family, neighbors and community than it is to live at peace within myself. How can I possibly live at peace within myself when my head is so often a swirl of worries, cares, and burdens?
His instruction is to take everything that makes us prone to worry and literally give it, present it, to Him. The visual I have of this is taking all of my struggles, worries, sorrows, disappointments, anxieties, fears, and points of anger, and gathering them up into a great big, ugly, unwieldy bundle. And then, with a great sigh, heaving the enormous bundle over to God.
It takes but a moment. A few moments in prayer and then it’s done.
I call it The Great Transfer. I give God the big messy bundle, and what am I left with?
Nothing to fret over that is. When I present my messy bundle to God, He frees me up on the inside to receive what only He can truly offer. Peace. His peace. Paul calls God’s peace “the peace that passes all understanding.”
And how do I stay in this place of perfect peace? By choosing to let my messy bundle stay with God and choosing instead to let my now freed-up mind focus on things that He wants me to focus on, like—
things that are true (not imagined fears about the future),
things that are honorable (not the bitterness I hold against another),
things that are right (not the wrongs I see all around me),
things that are pure (not the bad I see in myself),
things that are lovely (not the anxieties that keep me up at night),
things that are of good repute ( not the lies and gossip that I hear and may have an urge to share),
things that are excellent (not my failures and shortcomings),
and things that are worthy of praise (focusing on who God is and not who I am).
Our minds can only focus on so much at one time. Our focus will either be directed toward our messy bundle of worry, anger, and fear, or on those things that bring us sustained peace.
The choice is really mine to make every day. And repeatedly throughout each day.
It’s a wonder I don’t choose peace every day. Why shouldn’t I choose The Great Transfer more often? Why do I insist on holding onto my messy bundle when God is offering me perfect peace?
God really does want us to live in peace. The choice is mine to make.
What will I choose today?