I crafted this post awhile ago… and I have mulled over it and pondered it. I am sharing it now. Scripture is so rich. I can study it every day forever and it will still keep revealing itself to my heart again, and again in new ways and with comfortable familiarity that is a refuge to me. Textures and depths. Forever.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.(bold italcs mine -ESV)
This passage of Scripture is one which has been a strength and help to me over many years and in many different seasons. And I have prayed to overcome anxiety and I have laid out my requests one by one…as best I can… and I have built my faith meditating on the supernatural peace of God which surpasses all understanding.
However, Scripture isn’t a band aid that you just slap over a problem and voila! (in this case) – no more anxiety. No.
Yet- It is-
power. It is life. It is hope. It is help. It is guidance. It is light. It is something to practice to elevate our experience from natural to supernatural. (We do not elevate it ourself- it is the Spirit of God)To release the supernatural within us- that is our inheritance through the Spirit of Christ within.
I personally have experienced sometimes constant guilt as I battle anxiety and have been quoted Scripture after Scripture and yet I am not just turning around and walking in peace. It feels wrong to admit how scared, worried, helpless or hopeless you truly feel to other members of the body of Christ. I ponder: How hard am I willing to battle for the Peace of Christ? I think this is a relevant question for me- because even though all is given freely in Christ- there is still a warfare in our members and the spiritual battle is real. It is a battle just to show up in the morning, in the time and place I have appointed.
How hard are we willing to battle for anything worth having in the Lord? Purity, Love, Holiness, Peace, a rich family life, a Christian heritage- for example.
So, I have pressed hard- and missed the mark, too. Trying to grind my way to righteousness, to holiness-
God wants everything. Everything is ours to lay before Him. Nothing too futile, too small.
There is gentle simplicity.. There is child-like coming. There is true power. But it is not mine, it is Christ’s. It is released in my obedience and faith.
I love this. ‘Practice’ these things. Be like a little child, doing the same skill over and over and over and over. Simply. Faithfully. Until it becomes a part of you. You own it and its yours.
Do not worry over all the areas that are so far from this perfection. Simply begin and practice one by one. I need that guarding and I need that peace. And more than anything, I need that supernatural peace of God and His ability actively working in my life.
To practice something is to perform an activity or skill regularly in order to gain or maintain proficiency. We practice to increase our excellence. We practice so that when a time of need arises, the “muscle memory” is there to answer the need. Practice is needed to learn a new skill and gain mastery. Practice is needed to maintain a skill you have already gained.
Practices are activities we engage in to build virtue, invite an atmosphere, and form a new reality. Practices are also activities we engage in to cement skills.
I practice Philippians 4:4-9 by making it a part of my Bible Time often. Sometimes, I journal it through Scripture journaling. Very helpful. Writing the verse out helps my mind to slow down and focus on each word. And then, I sit with it, working through and applying every verse to my life, myself. It is an exercise I engage in. I practice Philippians 4 when I turn my mind to it in the midst of a battle. I begin choosing the good, lovely, pure, excellent. I put my trust in God. Trust that He will flood me with His reality and answer the petition of His Word. When I get up, and am overwhelmed again by an anxious circumstance… I do not condemn myself. I walk on. Hopefully, the verses rise to the forefront.
And the next day, when I rise,
I am practicing again.
Grace and Peace,