As we've been going through the book of Philippians, I have found myself feasting on the richness of this text. This morning as I was meditating again on Philippians 4, I was reminded of how important it is to ground ourselves in the goodness of God. To celebrate God all day, every day...to revel in Him as Eugene Peterson puts it in The Message. I don't know about you, but this is not my natural default. Especially in the midst of anxiety-filled days and difficult circumstances. But we are reminded - the Lord is near. He is with us. And the instruction is simple. Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.
Don't you love that? How many of us need to be immersed in the peace of God where we are keenly aware that God is bringing His shalom, His wholeness, His healing and grace, working in our lives to bring everything together for good? How many of us need this peace of God to invade our anxiety, so that our spirits can settle down into this reality of the kingdom? What happens when we ground ourselves deeply into this goodness and grace? According to Paul, wonderful things happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Next week, we begin a new series, Grounded in Grace and we will explore this foundational truth of grace and the wonderful things that can happen as we root ourselves firmly into the goodness of God. We swim in waters of anxiety in our culture - worry, stress, doubt and cynicism. But Paul ends this passage with this exhortation. Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.
So as the practicing church, let us put this into practice as Paul urges - today, this week and this month, let us journey together, knowing that as we do, God, who makes everything work together, will work us into his most excellent harmonies.
May you experience the peace that passes all understanding today.
When the path is simple, peace.
When the way is complicated, peace.
May Christ not only show you the way
but also be the way you travel:
way of blessing, way of peace.
*In the Sanctuary of Women: A Companion for Reflection and Prayer - Jan L. Richardson
Find time this week (5-15 minutes) to simply hold God's goodness in your life. Spend some time recounting and remembering all that is good. Let praise and thankfulness well up from within. Then turn your attention to the anxiety in your life and give it words, form, shape. Now slowly turn your heart and mind back to God's goodness. Go back and forth until you can hold them together. What changes? What pictures, words, emotions come up? Note or journal the exchange. End your time ruminating again on the goodness and grace of God, imagining yourself like a tree, with roots going down deep into the earth, drawing nourishment and sustenance for your soul. Practice daily and see what roots begin to grow.