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Finding Peace

(Philippians 4:2-14)

Lesson 12 -- third quarter 2010
August 22, 2010

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2010

Introductory questions to chew

How should I go about being "of the same mind in the Lord" with So-and-So?

Is rejoicing something that can be turned on and turned off?

Am I known for balance and self-discipline?

What place does thankful prayer have in me?

What do I do with thoughts that fail the test of verse 8?

Should others know that I have "the peace of God" and "the God of peace"?

How do I sharpen my awareness of and my concern for the needs of others?

Am I supposed to let others know of my needs?

Is the opposite of contentment striving to change my state or improve my situation?

Decide to rejoice

"I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free...." I like that song very much. But shouldn't there be a song or two that declares our decision to rejoice and sing because we have reason to be unhappy? Yes! In fact, it seems I have heard Habakkuk's declaration sung. Remember that this prophet lived in an agrarian society where personal crop and herd production were far more critical than they are to most of us today. Yet he affirmed his commitment to rejoice in Jehovah even when all the crops and herds were wiped out.

Listen also to the affirmation of a man who surely had reason to say something vastly different: "The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD" (Job 1:21). Had Job done differently, he would have sinned, charging God foolishly (Job 1:22). That ought to put a damper on our complaining spirits!

The Lord inspired the Apostle Paul to take this truth beyond an affirmation. From him we received the divine command to continue rejoicing, finding cause for gratitude in every situation.

"Rejoice evermore. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16,18).

"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice" (Philippians 4:4).

Without question, rejoicing is a function of our mind and will, not just of our emotions. Even if our feelings dictate otherwise, we must still decide to choose a response of rejoicing and thanks giving. May we remember that the next time we decide to be grumpy or the next time sadness and discouragement assault us.

Get Along?

Between me and at least three other brothers there exists a chasm. This chasm has been dug by some practical, philosophical, and/or theological differences.

Despite our oneness on a whole host of other issues, the differences strain our relationships.

What if God inspired someone to deliver us a message? And what if we could agree on the divine origin of the message? And what if the message were along the lines of the one the Apostle Paul delivered in Philippians 4:2?

"I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord."

I wonder how in the world I/we would go about obeying the message.

God wasn't appealing to Euodias and Syntyche to merely get along. "Can't you please get along?" is far below "Be of the same mind in the Lord."

Maybe verse one is intended as a lead-in to verse two.

"Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved."

Needed: Thought Screens

I used to run a grass seed cleaner. Seed came to us straight from the field with lots of chaff, dirt, and weed seed. We took it all and ran it over huge screens that jiggled and shook.

What didn't make it through the screens was discarded and hauled away.

My mind could use something like that.

Well, then, here is a series of screens:

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Philippians 4:8).

If I ran my thoughts through these screens, how much would be discarded?

Even more important is whether or not I will decide to use the screens.

This concludes my comments based on the passage for the International Bible Study. To read my comments on the alternate lesson developed by Christian Light Publications, click here: Zealous of Good Works.

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