The Apostle Paul was writing to the Church of Philippi from a Roman prison…a deep, dark, dank place filled with hopelessness and misery, yet he was exhorting his fellow Believers to live a life worthy of the Gospel…worthy of the calling they had received. Jude 3 calls it contending for the faith. Of taking the truth of the Gospel Message we’ve received and studying it, learning from it, believing in it, and finally, defending it. When we conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel we are fulfilling our duty to stand firm against those who may attempt to alter/ or change the grace of God into some man-made Religion. For the next verse goes on to say, “Stand firm in one Spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the Gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.” Philippians 1:28)
Two Scriptures that go along with this one are Romans 15:5, “May the God Who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.” and Colossians 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.” We are to actively endeavor to live at peace with one another…living in harmony as one collective body called the Church, of which Jesus Christ is the head. But unity and peace can be difficult to obtain, so what can we do? First, understand that the only person you can change is you. That’s why Hebrews 12:14 tells us that we should make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy. Or as the old song goes, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me…”
May this Priestly Blessing found in the Old Testament give you comfort today…whatever your situation. For it tells us here that God is guarding and protecting your very life at this moment…that He lifts up His head and His face brightens as He looks straight into your eyes with love and concern. Psalm 25:17 says, “The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish.” Sometimes all we long for is peace…and God wants to plant or establish that peace into your life today…replacing strife and turmoil with a sense of well-being, security, wholeness, and comfort.
We will all go through Seasons of our lives when sickness, loss, and life-changing trials will take us deep into that Valley of the Shadow of Death. But it’s not until we come out on the other side that we can then truly appreciate what we’ve learned from it all. For it’s then that God can remind us of His unfaltering Presence… His overwhelming grace and mercy…and His infinite love. We may not experience a lot of joy in the middle of that trial…but we can still have the peace that passes all understanding.
This verse is very specific in two points. The first relates to our responsibility in potentially volatile interactions. We are the only person that can control our own emotions, and what rests on us here in this verse is the obligation and charge to live at peace with others. The other point is that we can’t pick and chose who we live at peace with, for it states here we are to live peaceable with all human beings to the very best of our ability.
In the middle of desperate, troubling times our emotions can’t be trusted. But what can be trusted is what the Lord has done for us in the past…those landmarks of our life when God moved mightily. For it was in those turning points when we clearly were able to see His mercy and love demonstrated. And so It’s those remembrances we can fall back on today that will offer the most peace and comfort for our soul.