This week we are wrapping up our time in the book of Philippians. As we shared in previous weeks, the Apostle Paul wrote this while he was in prison. The church in Philippi was known for sending him generous provision, specifically food (prisoners were not fed during this time!) and company. Throughout the letter, Paul expresses his appreciation and in today's devotional, offers the church one more exhortation on how they should live.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 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.
Questions to Consider
- While Paul is in prison, he tells the church to rejoice and to not be anxious about anything. Even though he is in such a difficult situation, how do you think he is able to say this?
- What does it mean to present your requests to God? According to the passage, what do we receive when we do this? (v. 7)
- What do you think it means when Paul talks about peace guarding our hearts and minds?
- List the things Paul calls us to think about (v. 8). Which of these seems the most challenging to you? Which of these have you seen yourself grow in?
Virtual recruitment. Abolish Greek life campaigns. Covid outbreaks in fraternity and sorority housing. Campus calendars continually changing. There is much uncertainty and anxiety as we approach this new school year. Do you long for a peace that transcends understanding? I know I do.
Paul tells us that if we present our requests to God, that he will give us that peace. Sounds simple right? But to be honest, we often let the worries of our lives consume us before we ever talk to God about them. Take a moment and think about how you handle anxious thoughts and circumstances. Do you talk to God about them? Or do you binge on Netflix, alcohol, or something else to avoid them? This provides only a temporary peace and then the worries rush in again.
For true, lasting peace, Paul tells us that we need to "present our requests to God." So don't over think it. When another worry-inducing event happens, grab your journal and talk to God about it. Or even talk to him outloud. Go for a walk and be honest about what's bothering you. Ask him for what you need to deal with the uncertainty. God is faithful and he will give you a peace that transcends understanding.