Summary: This is the season of Peace. Peace on earth, good will toward men. Peace is the most sought-after ‘commodity’ in our hectic lives. Mankind will go to great lengths to compromise for the sake of peace.
Biblical Text: Philippians 4:1-9
“Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 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. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
This is the season of Peace. Peace on earth, good will toward men. Peace is the most sought-after ‘commodity’ in our hectic lives. Mankind will go to great lengths to compromise for the sake of peace. Governments have spent countless hours in negotiations with neighboring nations to ensure that they will remain at peace. Fortune 500 Board of Directors will give up a little more of their profits for the sake of peace. In our individual homes, parents have been known to compromise with their children for the sake of peace.
Yet, try as we might, peace often eludes us. That’s because peace has a great price. You can’t demand it; you can’t purchase it; you can’t invent it, or concoct it.
If I told you that there is a way to guarantee that you will always be satisfied with your present circumstances…that you will always be guaranteed peace…would you be interested in hearing about it? Of course you would. And I’m going to share it with you. But keep in mind that this six-step guarantee is only available to members of the household of faith.
For us, Philippians contains the secret – the six steps to peace. According to the fourth chapter, there are six steps that a believer must take to maintain the peace of God within his heart and life. If we fail to take these steps, we grieve both the Lord and fellow believers who have made a special contribution to our growth and look upon us as their “joy and crown” (Phil. 4:1).
When a believer loses his peace with God, several things happen...
He becomes self-conscious, and guilty, discouraged and defeated.
He becomes cantankerous, critical, and divisive.
He begins to slip back into sin.
The peace he once had with God and man becomes disturbed, and restlessness grips his soul. His restlessness stirs him into being a troublemaker or into sin or else it plummets him into despair and defeat. He has failed; therefore, he feels unworthy and unable to walk victoriously with God.
Unbelievers do not have peace with God. They reject, question, deny, curse, and oppose God. God feels no peace between Himself and an unbeliever. No matter how mild the unbeliever’s questioning and rejection is, it is still questioning and rejection and not peace. But when an unbeliever surrenders his life and accepts God, peace is made between him and God. Peace rules both within and between the person and God. In fact, God causes a flood of peace to surge through the heart and life of the new believer.
The question is this: once we have the peace of God flooding our lives, how do we maintain that peace? How do we keep the peace of God ruling and reigning within our souls? How do we stay aware that God’s very own presence is within us—stay aware that the God of peace lives within our very being? We have to follow the six steps that lead down the pathway to peace.
The first step to peace is standing fast. Paul has just stated that there are enemies of the cross of Christ…that the believer’s citizenship is in heaven…that the Lord is going to return and take us out of this world and transform our bodies;
So now Paul says, ‘therefore, stand fast in the Lord.” The word “stand fast” (steôkete) means simply to stand firm, persist, and persevere. Imagine a soldier standing fast against the onslaught of an enemy. He refuses to give ground no matter the pressure and strength of attack. He does not flinch; he is not unstable and he is never defeated. As Christian’s, we must stand fast, no matter how great the trial, no matter how strong the pressure of the temptation, no matter how great the influence and allure of the world.