Think about such things

Devotional thoughts for the month of October 2019

(Click here to read Monday Musings ... where I discuss the thinking that led to this article.)

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8–9, NIV)

The apostle Paul refers to God as "the God of peace." This is an example of how God fine-tunes his provision for us. He puts on different hats (if you will) to reveal different things about himself. For example, every unsaved person faces the God of judgment, and unless they flee into the arms of the Savior, they shall experience the God of wrath. That’s one tough hat! But fortunately, he has others. To those who show a penitent heart, God will show his mercy.

But what about us? Does God have something in the here-and-now for those of us who are already saved? Yes. We have access to the God of peace! But if this is true, why are so many of us in turmoil?

We live in turmoil because the world surrounds us with troubles continually — and so much so that it’s reasonable to wonder if we’ll ever be at peace. We can be… although God does not force his peace upon us. Morally speaking, we are free agents, so we may choose to remain miserable if we want! In fact, we may fret and sulk or manifest any number of immature responses to the decidedly amazing lives that we live.

Peter was someone who lived an amazing life. He walked on the water to meet Jesus out in the waves… and in so doing he did a lot of things correctly: he acted on faith; he stepped out of his comfortable craft and he proceeded to do the impossible as he walked toward the Savior.

But when Peter shifted his gaze from the Savior to the troubled water around him, he began to sink… and that incident is analogous to the Christian life. We walk toward the Savior, and when we keep our eyes on him, we live in peace. But when we focus on our troubles, our hearts grow anxious.

Now, Peter didn’t have time to think when he began to sink… so he just cried out, “Lord, save me!” … and Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. That’s the solution. Call upon the Lord. But remember how Jesus addressed Peter after that failure. He called him “ye of little faith."

We Christians are just like Peter. We can sink into the waters of despair. This is rather like stepping into a tar pit where the more we thrash about, the deeper we go. The fix is to call out to the Lord for help. He will save us from the world, the devil — and even from the pits of despair.

You see, troubles abound — and we must engage with them! But we should not dwell on speculative woes. Instead, we should enjoy our lives because they are surrounded by things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report and virtuous. If we think on these things — instead of on woeful things — then we will feel God’s peace as he sidles-up beside us.

(Mainsail Ministries articles often have a preamble where I discuss the thinking that went into them. These are called Monday Musings — and if you haven’t read the one associated with this article about false gods — consider doing so at the following link: 20190930 Personal peace requires personal faith).

(For comments, or to join the Monday Musings mailing list, contact us at mainsailep@gmail.com)