S (Scripture): Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice! 4:5 Let everyone see your gentleness. The Lord is near! 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. 4:7 And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
O (Observation): Rejoice! Paul seeks joy for his people. He knows they have struggled. Yet, he also counsels them to rejoice and to focus on God’s work in and around them. This work of the gospel (worship, preaching, teaching, training, etc.) is not all on their shoulders.
Their requests are to be given over to God in the form of prayers and petitions. This is the way we seek God, and in God’s way, God will answer.
A (Application): I try so hard to do the right thing as a pastor: to lead God’s people in worship and prayer, in the process of making disciples, in reaching out to the community.
My failure is in trying to make sure each plan is perfectly worked out even before step 1. I want to pick the perfect people and the perfect plan.
What I’ve been finding out, and what this text reminds me to think about, is this: God’s Holy Spirit cannot be forsaken. And what am I doing? Ignoring and forsaking the Holy Spirit.
[Insert Homer Simpson saying, “Doh!”]
As a tool for discipleship, I teach folks (and need to pay attention to for my own self) the concept of Persons of Peace (POP). A POP is someone whose heart and mind God is already preparing to help you on your journey. A POP responds positively to your presence and mission, and they seek to help you on that journey.
So (when I’m following Paul’s advice) instead of just coming up with a plan on my own, I like start a plan, and seek POP’s that God is preparing. It’s trial and error. I discern, God does the work. And even as we start, we won’t have all of the POP’s on board. Some will come along later. Some will just “pop up” (pun intended). Some will be lifelong relationships. It’s all over the board.
So I have to learn to relax and rejoice! As we do God’s work, remember: God’s got this! Relax! Rejoice!
So who are Persons of Peace in your life? How are you helping one another on your journeys?
P (Prayer): Lord, you know who we need in our lives. Give us eyes and ears to look for and listen to the persons of peace you bring into our lives. Amen.