While living in Africa, physical exercise for us is walking and hiking. So at the end of last year Patty suggested we memorize Scripture during these times. The verse she chose to start us out was Philippians 4:8:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
Oh to have a young and fresh mind again. Needless to say we were in the text for a while. Which was actually a good thing as it made me think about the context of this portion of Scripture.
The theme of this section is about living an anxiety free life by being filled with the
“Peace of God, which transcends all understanding, which will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” Vs. 7
The Holy Spirit knew I needed to dwell right there. I needed that perfect peace of heaven to “swim in” in the midst of seas of uncertainty. And I believe the Spirit is calling each one of the Father’s children to dwell in this shalom, as there is such an absence of it in our polarized world motivated by fear.
Fear brings anxiety, which leads to a desire to control everything around us. Which only brings more stress as we realize we really are not in control of anything.
What a glorious passage the Spirit gives us for a plan for peace. This plan permeates powerfully in vs. 4-9. I challenge you to memorize these verses in 2024. I continue to return to these life-giving words of truth in my mind whenever my neck aches. As this pain is my body telling me, “Tim you have lost your peace!”
The battle for peace always begins in my mind. So that is why Paul emphasizes the importance of training your mind to think on whatever is “true, noble, right…” If you have trouble memorizing the entire list just focus on the first word, “TRUE,” which defines the 7 words that follow.
The Greek word for “true” means doctrine or right teaching, which point us directly to Jesus, who is “the way, the truth and the life.” Jesus is the “True” WORD from the Father to us. He is our anchor in the midst of the storm. He is the one that calls out to the winds and waves in our lives “Peace be Still!”
If I spend too much time churning over the news or even fretting over difficult situations in my life my neck tells me my focus is off. I need to take a deep breath and think on Jesus. I try to picture the Revelations 1 Jesus-who when John saw Him- he collapsed before His glory as one who was dead. If you read John chapter 1 before ingesting the news media, I promise it will alter your perspective.
Notice what the Revelation 1 Jesus did and said to John:
“Then He placed His right hand on me and said; “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One: I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever! I hold the keys of death and Hades,” (vs. 17-18).
Peace that is beyond your understanding starts with a faith that focuses on the resurrected, conquering, living King Jesus. He holds life and death in His hand. And He holds you! Turn around in faith and look at your Glorious Savior!!
In the next two blogs I’ll focus on worship and walking by faith, grounding us as believers in TRUTH. The hope is that we can experience peace no matter what battle we face or fears the world tempts us to pay attention to.
I hope you will make time to dwell in these verses and perhaps even memorize these timeless truths from Philippians 4:8 and perhaps even do so while exercising.