On a scale of 1 to 10 – if 1 = perfect peace and 10 = all-consuming anxiety…
How are you doing?
I want to be around 1 or 2 but if I’m being honest . . . I often run somewhere above 5.
We live in a hurry—late for everything, behind on payments, racing toward bigger and better—world. We’re bombarded daily with reports of pandemics, wars, and rumors of wars, escalating crime, and price hikes. It seems like the list of things to be anxious about goes on and on and on.
Is it any wonder perfect inner peace seems to elude us?
The Apostle Paul wrote a short recap of the chaos he had experienced. Talk about reasons to be anxious! He said that he had been imprisoned three times, shipwrecked three times, stoned, beaten with rods multiple times, spent a night adrift at sea, faced robbers, faced death, and whipped too many times to count. And he experienced sleepless nights and hungry days without warm clothing to fight the cold. (2 Corinthians 11:21–27)
In spite of all that . . . a few years later he wrote a list of things he believed would help us “experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.” (Philippians 4:7)
So, I thought it might be helpful to take a closer look at Paul’s list of things to do if we want to have inner peace.
5 Faith-filled Ways to Experience Inner Peace
1. Be Full of Joy – “Always be full of the joy of the Lord.” (Philippians 4:4)
Well, this may sound simple but it isn’t easy. Of course, we aren’t told that it’s going to be easy, we’re told that it will lead to personal peace. Being full of joy doesn’t mean we’re happy about our circumstances it means we’re choosing to trust God enough to find our joy in Him. It means trusting that He is our Provider and that His love is complete and perfect.
2. Be Kind, Gentle, and Caring – “Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do.” (Philippians 4:5)
Again, not easy but just imagine how much more peaceful your life would be if you replaced anger and frustration with gentleness and compassion. Not a doormat or weak, but kind and caring. It’s funny my body tenses just typing the words anger and frustration, and relaxes as I type gentleness, compassion, kindness, and caring. Hmm.
3. Don’t worry – “Don’t worry about anything.” (Philippians 4:6)
So when are we going to get to the easy ones? The truth is worry is a choice. Even in the worst of circumstances, we choose whether we will worry or give our concerns over to God asking Him to guide and direct us. Honestly, when was the last time worrying provided you with anything beneficial?
4. Pray – “Tell God what you need.” (Philippians 4:6)
This one is easier. Although, I wish I consistently remembered to pray before I worried. We are told that we can “come boldly”…
Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.Hebrews 4:16
We can approach God with reverent boldness because He promises to hear us and faithfully respond with unfailing parental love.
5. Give thanks – “Thank Him for what He has done.” (Philippians 4:6)
When I remember to thank the Lord for all He has done in the past, I am less likely to worry about the present. When I intentionally look back on the ways God has blessed and cared for me in the past I am more likely to trust Him with my present and future.
And here’s Paul’s counsel in context:
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.Philippians 4:4–6
Paul doesn’t stop there, he continues with this important promise…
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. v. 7
A Prayer to Experience Perfect Inner Peace
Father, Please help me faithfully remember to find joy in every day, to be kind and considerate to those You place around me, to give my worries and cares to You in prayer, and faithfully give thanks for who You are and all You’ve done. Please help me experience Your perfect inner peace . . . the peace that goes beyond my ability to understand.
Strengthen me by the power of Your Spirit and give me everything I need to trust Your heart and follow Your will. I believe that Your grace is sufficient for my needs today, tomorrow, and forever. Although the world is full of problems that threaten to rob me of my peace, please help me prayerfully turn to Your Word of truth that I might KNOW and LOVE You as my source of peace and strength. And prompt me to run to You in prayer before I give in to worry and anxiety. I ask this in the name of my Lord, Jesus. Amen.
Do you want to know the most humbling and amazing thing about Paul’s verses about peace and joy?
They were written in a Roman prison.
And the Life Application Bible Notes introduce the letter to the Philippians as “Paul’s joy letter.”
Paul had learned the blessings of inner peace and contentment and he summed up the secret in the very next verse.
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.Philippians 4:8,9b
Then the God of peace will be with you.
What you and I put into our minds influences what we think and what we think becomes our peace or our anxiety. So, let’s pray and give thanks, let’s be full of joy, kind, gentle, and caring. And let’s replace worry with thoughts that are true about the One who loves us more than we can hope for or imagine.
May the Lord be with you and bless you today with His inner peace that exceeds anything we can understand.
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