Thinking about – The Peace of Christ!

May 24, 2022

“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Someone once said: “Five percent of people think. Ten percent think they think, and eighty five percent would rather die than think. And the ten percent who think they’re thinking are just rearranging their prejudices.”

In his letter to the Philippians Paul challenges us to join the five percent and think. He also tells us specifically how to think. It’s as if our thoughts are sheep and we are the shepherd.

Paul challenges us to think about things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and good news. We naturally seem to think about things that are not true, dishonorable, unjust, impure, ugly, and bad news.

Paul’s prescription for peace agrees with the teaching of Jesus. Jesus taught us not to worry about the things we cannot control. He highly valued prayer in His own life and taught His disciples that we should always pray.

Jesus also taught that the difference between a life filled with light and a life filled with darkness is how we see things. His greatest discourse was eight attitudes that can make us one of His solutions in this world.

According to Paul, having and maintaining “the peace of God” is largely a matter of what we worry and think about all day.

What do you think about all day?

Dick Woodward, 26 May 2009


Adversity or Atrophy

October 15, 2013

“…  Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress…”  (Psalm 4:1 KJV)

Just about every emotional challenge we experience today was faced by the psalmist many years ago.  If we will observe what he did when he struggled, and receive from God the grace to respond as the hymn writer responded, we can often overcome our emotional challenges.

In Psalm 4 the psalmist faces the emotional challenge of distress.  If you drop the first two letters, the word becomes stress.  We all have stress.  If we do not have stress we atrophy.  I have not put stress on my legs for 30 years.  Consequently, my legs are the size of your arms. “If you don’t use it you lose it” is the way the physical therapists describe atrophy.

Our loving Father God knows that what is true for our bodies is also true in our spiritual life. God is fiercely committed to the proposition that we are going to grow spiritually.  If we have no spiritual stress we will experience spiritual atrophy.  He therefore will not only permit, but direct into our lives any stress that will grow us as He gives us the grace to cope with that stress.

God tells us through the prophet Isaiah: “I create calamity” (Isaiah 45:7).  Many of us can trust God for the good things that comfort and sustain us.  But do we have the faith and the knowledge of God to see Him in the challenges that make the difference for us between spiritual growth and atrophy?

The Greek compound word hupomone, translated as “perseverance” in our English Bibles, literally means “to abide under.”  To apply hupomone, we should ask God for the grace to abide under stress, grow spiritually, and not atrophy.