During every one of our worship services, we greet each other with these words: “The peace of the Lord be “always” with you.” Therefore, as we “pass” his peace, we do so with the expectation that the Lord’s supernatural peace rest upon the people we greet.
If you are at all like me, I seem to lose the Lord’s peace not long after I walk out the church doors. If God’s peace is supposed to transcend my worries and troubles, where does it go?
Paul’s words to the Philippians provide the answer. Even though the Lord wants us to walk in his transcendent peace, life happens. Cares and worries and struggles quickly chip away at the peace God wants for us.
So here are two ways to help us learn to walk more consistently in it. I pulled them from Paul’s same letter to the Philippians.
First, be sure to pray with a trusting heart. The process is simple: make general prayers, make specific prayers and make thankful prayers. When we pray this way, God’s peace guards our hearts and minds. Paul tells us that this peace is guaranteed because it is based on an unfaltering relationship with God our Father through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 5:1). Therefore, the same peace that Jesus shares with God the Father can overcome our deepest emotional struggles and calm our most anxious thoughts.
Second, be sure to fill your mind with excellent thoughts. Negative news fills our world. But Scripture tells us to combat the adverse reports by meditating on excellent and praiseworthy thoughts. “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” ( Philippians 4:8). Even if this is easier to say than do, it is still a powerful encouragement, especially since it comes from a guy locked up in prison, with nothing but struggle and negative news. What we put in our mind either serves as an anchor or a sieve for the Lord’s peace!
Whether we feel like we are on the mountain top or in the valley, Horatio Spafford’s hymn keeps us rightly centered:
“When peace like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say: It is well, it is well, with my soul.”
The Lord’s peace be with you.