I’m awake…I look over at my phone for the time…4:43am. I want to close my eyes and go back to sleep, but I know if I attempt it, I’ll just toss and turn and wish I was asleep. So I take a moment to listen to the quite house. Pull my phone under the covers to hide the light from my sleeping husband, and open up my bible app. I’m feeling I need to read Philippians 4, and as I’ve discovered over the past few years, it’s easier to follow these prompts than attempt to ignore them. God has something he wants me to do/learn, AND HE’S VERY VERY PERSISTENT. I’ve tried to ignore and avoid him before, which resulted in a month long stale mate of me being woken at 3am, unable to fall back asleep. Eventually I was so tired and worn down that I gave in, obeyed and was blessed beyond measure. So now I just save both of use some time and sleep and get to it.
So I select Philippians 4 and start reading at verse 1 NIV version. I get all the way to verse 10 and I’m thinking this is awesome! Let’s see if the Message version gives me different insight. BINGO! HOME RUN, and not just any home run…one that’s hit out of the park and beyond.
The message I was reading wasn’t just for me (I love it when God does that) it’s also for a couple friends that I’ve been in conversation with about some struggles they are/were facing. YAY God wants me to share this message with them! But he also has something for me in here. Philippians 4:6-9 reads
6 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. 7 Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. 8 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. 9 Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
What I see in these verses is
2. Don’t worry
3. Focus on the good
4. God will bless you for following and practicing His ways.
5. God will replace worry with peace, contentment.
What I feel, contentment. Seriously, how did God put everything I’ve been learning and practicing over the last few years into the bible before I was born? and how nicely summarized this is. I’ve been learning how to do these very things. I’ve been learning how to help others remember these things. And what do ya know! God has been teaching me these things personally and he wants us all to learn them.
He wants us all to pray first then act. Let Him do the worrying, heck he’s got more practice at it, and he can see more of the picture than we can. Let Go and Let God.
I find more times than not, I venture away when I forget to prioritize. When I don’t keep the order in check.
#2 Family – and husband needs to be before kids.
When I follow this simple hierarchy, that contentment in verse 7 happens. When I add in focusing on the positive as verse 8 suggests, I find even more contentment. But I need to keep at it. It’s not a once in a while thing, it’s a work on it daily thing – verse 9. Add in praying when I don’t know what to do, or want guidance (verse 6) and the formula is complete!
So, what do you need to hand over to God today? What is diverting your attention away from good? What is keeping you from practicing what God has taught you, or is trying to teach you? What do you need to adjust in your life to mirror these verses?