Another heartbreaking announcement, another marriage terminated, another deadly diagnosis, another life wrecked, another day of pain, do you ever wonder when it will end? Are you losing your last bit of hope? Has the light grown so dim you struggle with feelings of desperation and despair?
We live in a fallen world, a world tainted with every imaginable disease and corruption. And what’s worse, we were made for something more! Since sin entered the world, an easy life has not been promised, nor a bed of thorn-less roses. Yet, God in His merciful grace sent His Son to make a way for a life of purpose. A life that can look past the here and now, and look with enthusiasm to reaping a great reward in the glorious here after! But how can we look past all the heartache in the here and now and live with a steadfast passion? How can we be purposeful in our oftentimes painful existence?
We never have to wonder. We only need to look intently in the Word of God. There we find everything we need to have a life of purpose filled with joy. We are told to “Fix [our] thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8, NLT). The Apostle Paul, moved by the Holy Spirit of God, wrote those words; A man who had experienced persecutions of all kinds. In spite of all his imprisonments, beatings, and ailments, he practiced what he preached and experienced “the God of peace” (Philippians 4:9) and the joy of the Lord (see how many times the word joy appears in Philippians). Our great teacher, the Apostle Paul, tells us not to worry (Philippians 4:6). But more than that, he explicitly declares not to worry about anything! Instead of wasting our time on fretting or worrying, Paul instructs believers to spend time in prayer, praying about everything. Now that’s a novel idea! Another Scripture passage tells believers to pray without ceasing. And once again when we practice God’s commands, we are promised God’s peace. “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
From my earliest years, carrying the load of worry has depleted hope many times over; anxiety has wearied my walk. Yet, as I’ve grown to know God more and understand what He asks of me, which is for my good, I’m able to change my fixation on worries and rest more on God’s amazing attributes and loving care of His creation. Those times when I allow the Spirit to fill me and lead me and sit on the throne of my heart, I have experienced the level of peace that exceeds anything we can ever muster up. Oh, how I long for that peace on a day-to-day basis! However, it doesn’t come in my own strength. It comes when I’ve spent time in the Word, time in prayer, praying for the worries and seeing them replaced with peace. The Bible says we reap what we sow. That applies to gaining the peace of God. But it’s well worth the time spent to gain the peace that passes all understanding. There’s just nothing like it!
When we fix our thoughts on the commands of God, the God of peace will be with us. It’s a promise! Paul reminds us of another promise that should provide some needed motivation as well, “Remember, the Lord is coming soon” (Philippians 4:5b)!
Is your hope fittingly fixed?