This past Sunday we went through Philippians 4:2-9. And in this passage, we saw seven antidotes or seven powerful ways to combat the poison of disunity: getting passed our fear and addressing it (4:2), discernment (4:3), a longing for restoration (4:3), divine confidence (4:4), reasonable prayer (4:5-7), never losing sight of God’s blessings (4:8) and by clinging to humility (4:9).
And in considering what we saw on Sunday I want to dive deeper in the last verse of the passage, Philippians 4:9. In the first half of the verse Paul says which says, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Now when the text says, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me,” it is referring to all that Paul has said in the letter to the Philippians, all he has already written in his other epistles and all his interactions with the people of Philippians themselves. Then Paul tells the Philippians to practice these things which means to live out what Paul wrote and live like he lived.
Now think about that for a moment. Could you and I say what Paul said in Philippians 4:9? Could you and I extend an invitation to the people of FBC (or your home church if you do not attend FBC), our families and friends to look at everything we’ve written on Facebook, Snapchat, in emails, text, or letters and how we’ve have acted, at all times, and say, “Act like me and the peace of God will be with you.” In my pride, I want to say yes, but the reality is there are some things in my life I have posted, written, said and done that if someone we’re to mimic they would be filled with anything but the peace of God. But in light of that convicting truth I am not going to just wallow in my failure. I am going to confess and strive to do what Paul is calling us to do throughout Philippians and his entire ministry. Today, I encourage you to do the same thing. Don’t just wallow in your imperfections, turn from them and seek to have a testimony in which one day you could write what Paul wrote in this passage. Paul was a false teacher, a murderer and bursting with pride at one point in his life. If he were to point to his life back then, and we were to follow it, peace would be absolutely absent from our lives. But Paul did wallow in that misery. No, he turned (repented) and began to live a life that we as Christians look back on, seek to emulate and find lasting peace by doing so. Today seek to be that example.
The next and last think about Philippians 4:9 I want us to consider is that peace follows action. It’s only after striving to follow Paul’s example (which is following and proclaiming Christlikeness) do we find/experience peace. So often we want the peace without action. We want the peace that comes with being near to God without talking to God in prayer. We want the peace of knowing who God is without listening to what He says in His Word. We want the peace of being surrounded by encouraging people without being involved with the church. We want the peace of knowing that we are making a difference in this world without proclaiming to the world the only lasting difference maker, the gospel of Jesus Christ. To put it plainly. We want the peace a relationship with God offers without having to put anything into the relationship. And what is the result, only frustration. Today, if you are wanting the peace of God to fill your life, look at your relationship with God and ask if it’s a one-sided failure or a two-sided joy and either do something about it if need be or continue to enjoy it.