Updated: Feb 15, 2019
"Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7
We often pull this verse out when we are anxious or worried. But this verse begins with the word "then".
"Then" is like "therefore". Maybe you've heard the phrase, "If you see a 'therefore' in Scripture you need to see what it's there for." This serves as a warning not to take verses out of context and make them mean what we want them to mean, making them fit our particular need or situation. The same can be said of "then".
In English grammar the word "then" is an adverb and it means: at that time; immediately or soon afterward; next in order of time"
What is the "then" in verse 7 of Philippians 4 pointing us to? (Just a side note: some versions begin verse 7 with the conjunction "and" which means then.)
We need only look one verse before to discern the secret to experiencing God's peace. Verse 6 says:
"Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] request known to God." Philippians 4:6 AMP
Before we can experience God's understanding-transcending peace we must do three things. Anytime we feel anxiety or worry welling up within us, whatever the circumstance or situation, big or small, we must:
1) Pray specifically for that circumstance or situation.
We are anxious, we pause, we pray.
We are worried, we pause, we pray.
2) Petition God's presence to come into the circumstance or situation.
We are anxious, we pause, we pray, we petition.
We are worried, we pause, we pray, we petition.
3) Give thanks to God in the middle of the circumstance or situation that has us anxious or worried.
We are anxious, we pause, we pray, we petition, we praise.
We are worried, we pause, we pray, we petition, we praise.
Pause, pray specifically, petition God's presence, praise God for His past faithfulness.
THEN, immediately or soon afterward we will experience God's understanding-transcending peace. We cannot have God's peace without first having prayed, petitioned, and praised.
Next time you are seeking God's peace in a circumstance or situation and it just doesn't seem to be coming, ask yourself:
Have I prayed specifically about this situation? Have I petitioned God's presence to come into this situation? Have I praised God for His past faithfulness in my life?
It's easy to take Philippians 4:7 out of context and think that because we are a believer we will automatically have God's peace in every circumstance or situation. That just isn't true. We need to look at verse 6 and apply the things we are told to do before we can experience God's peace.
God bless and keep you.
Until next time,
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