Summary: The peace which exceeds understanding; Jesus offers it to you.
"How to be Sane in an Insane World"
A young white man, barely out of his teens, becomes obsessed with anti-black, white supremacy websites on the internet.
And although, some of the people he hangs out with and even considers friends are African American, he walks into a Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina and shoots 9 people for no reason other than the color of their skin and that he wants to start a "race war."
We watch the news and scenes of bloody conflicts fill the screen.
Locally, shootings are often the top stories of the day.
On news shows, people with differing views on political and religious issues scream at and talk over one another.
On a personal level, another loved one has been diagnosed with cancer.
A high school classmate has passed away.
A family member is living with a life-threatening condition.
On t-v sitcoms, what passes as comedy are crude jokes and put-downs.
The popular music, aimed primarily at an audience of children ages 9-19 contains graphic lyrics having to do with unrealistic sexual references, drugs and violence.
Children's minds are being filled with garbage!!!
Music videos portray fake people living fake lives.
We inadvertently cut someone off in traffic and the person in the other car passes us with angry looks and gestures.
We see people walking down our streets talking to themselves and living out of dumpsters.
We know children whose mothers and fathers are hooked on drugs and don't seem to care much about the future.
Pregnant mothers smoke cigarettes, while their babies go hungry.
Fathers are absent.
Church attendance is in decline.
And the churches which seem to get the attention of the world have a seemingly unbiblical, unChristlike worldview.
The pastors get rich at the congregation's expense.
The love and grace of the Gospel is replaced by legalism, judgmentalism, self-righteousness and fear.
Social justice is ignored while the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
This is all completely insane!!!!!!!
Are we doomed?
Is it possible to be sane in such an insane world????!!!!
When Paul wrote the Letter to the Philippians he was living in a Roman prison.
He was to appear in court soon to face the charges against him, and the verdict could lead to his execution.
The church he was writing to was undergoing a lot of persecution and having all kinds of difficulties.
So, Paul, from prison, writes a letter of encouragement to them.
"Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad!" Paul writes.
"Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people...Don't be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks.
Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus."
Peace--true peace--that can rejoice even in a Roman jail cell as one awaits the possibility of execution...
...what would people pay for this?
A "peace" that "exceeds all understanding" and keeps our "hearts and minds safe" even amidst the greatest torment--the worst this world can throw at us...
...how much is that worth?
...millions, billions, trillions?
But it can't be bought.
It is, in the truest sense, priceless!!!
Could this be the reason Jesus Himself compared it, in Matthew Chapter 13 to: "a treasure that somebody hid in a field, which someone else found and covered up.
Full of joy, the finder sold everything and bought that field."?
Or, again, Jesus said it's like: "a merchant in search of fine pearls. When he found one very precious pearl, he went and sold all that he owned and bought it."
It's worth everything we have.
One day a rich young man came to Jesus, in search of this peace.
He asked Jesus what he must do to receive it.
Jesus' answer: "Sell everything you own and distribute the money to the poor.
Then you will have treasure in heaven.
And come, follow me."
But, when the rich young man heard these words: "he became very sad because he was extremely rich."
And so he left...
Phillip E. Campbell writes the following: "Many in a rich country like the United States find themselves in a predicament not unlike the rich young man who approached Jesus because he knew something was missing in his life.
Jesus, diagnosing the man's spiritual ailment as his attachment to his wealth, told the man to sell his holdings and give to the poor.
The man went away sad, unwilling to part with his things, because of the grip they had upon him."
What has its grip upon you?
Is it Jesus only or is there something else holding you down--keeping you from the joy which exceeds understanding?
It's really important to remember that Philippians wasn't written to or by persons living on "Easy Street."