20 September 2007

It is well with my soul (Philippians 4:6-7)--part 3

Part 1 here.
Part 2 here.

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Finally, we receive the COURAGE TO FACE OUR OBSTACLES.
Verse 7.
…the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

The NLT says it this way: …you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. So many people want world peace. Who doesn’t? It’s a noble cause. But guess what? It ain't gonna happen. James 4:1-2—Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain… There was a song that came out back in the ‘80’s called “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” It wasn’t a Christian song, but they were right. We will never have world peace until that day when Jesus comes to rule and reign and every knee bows to His name.

So, what is this “peace of GOD?” which surpasses all understanding? The peace that is more wonderful than the human mind can comprehend? It is the cross of Christ. Because before the Cross, we were enemies of GOD. We had no reason to expect that He would answer our prayers, or give us comfort when we needed it. We were on our own, given to every whim we or anybody else could imagine for us. We were lost in a sea of humanity until we were rescued by the one who is, as it says in Hebrews 2:10, the Captain of our salvation.
  • Isaiah 26:3—You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
  • John 14:27"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."
  • Colossians 1:19-20—For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
The notes in the MacArthur Study Bible describe this peace of GOD as:
“Inner calm or tranquility…promised to the believer who has a thankful attitude based on unwavering confidence that GOD is able and willing to do what is best for His children.”
Or, as one dictionary says,
“the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.”
How is it that this love, …surpasses all understanding? Let me put it to you this way: if someone came in and asked you if you would take a bullet for someone you’ve never met, what would you say? Or how about this: think about someone you don’t really get along with. Or someone that, before you got saved, you hated. Would you allow your child to be nailed to a cross for that person? But that is exactly what GOD did for us! When we were spitting in His face, He sent His Son to die a most horrible death for us!

Romans 5:7-8 is another verse that we use so often that we tend to lose its meaning. No one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But GOD shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. While we were standing there, shaking our fists and saying “NO!” to GOD, He sent His son to die for our sins! We were telling Almighty GOD to “Buzz off!” and He said, “No, I love you too much!” And that is a love, my friends, goes far beyond human reasoning.

This peace will …guard your hearts and minds… That word “mind” can also be translated “disposition.” When something is weighing heavy on our mind, our disposition can turn sour quick. Somebody says something, not meaning anything by it, and we snap. And we have to go back later and apologize. Then we walk around with the guilt from snapping at that person for no reason, and we’re worse off than before. But the peace of GOD is that peace that says,

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!

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come/Let this blest assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate/And has shed His own blood for my soul!

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought/My sin, not in part but the whole
Was nailed to the Cross and I bear it no more/Praise the Lord, praise the Lord oh my soul!

And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight/The clouds be rolled back like a scroll
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend/Even so it is well with my soul!

Nothing in this life—no trial, no tribulation is so great that the peace of GOD cannot give you the assurance you need to bring you through to the other side. That is the peace that He bought for us through the cross of Christ. Notice something—Paul didn’t say that when you make your requests known to GOD that He will make the situation just **POOF** go away. GOD never promises us that He will take the situation away. But He does promise that He will give us the strength we need to endure—to do His will and bring Him the glory. And that’s what it’s all about! Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be THY NAME, THY kingdom come, THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH as it is in heaven! Hallelujah! Even so, it is well with my soul!

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