- Phillipians 4:6-9 (NLT)
Life today is loaded with stress. We go through busy days and face constant and relentless changes and then, when we go home, all we see on TV is strife, conflict and continuously loud talking heads telling us what we have seen which is completely different from what we think we saw. The age of jet travel and instant communications, while offering quick solutions to some things, creates many more. And while we so often think we can handle whatever we face on our own, we quickly find that it just isn't that easy. Then we worry, sometimes with good reason but often about things we cannot control and it causes us anguish, can adversely impact sleep, with the result being we start out our next day already exhausted and then the process endlessly completes itself. While we go through all of this, we fail to open our hearts to realize we really don't have to do this. There is an answer that will give us peace which can give us peace and bring tranquility which can allow us to rest.
The Apostle Paul, writing to the Christians in Philippi in the verses which open this commentary, knew how to quell the anxiety and the pain it can cause. He knew because he had been just like we are, going about his day perform a brutal assigned job with all of his energy until he had his wake up moment. On the road to Damascus to capture Messianic Jews who had taken up refuge in a foreign land, his mission was to bring those lawbreakers back to Jerusalem for imprisonment. Suddenly, however, things changed as he was overcome by the Light of Life and actually saw Jesus, who spoke to him. Those with him thought he had a stroke or some other malady, for he was in a state of what they thought delusion. They carried him on to Damascus where he was put to bed and, just a few days later, he realized that he had been changed by the Lord. Paul, now destined to be a great missionary for the budding faith, was now committed to passing on what he had been given to others and he spent the rest of his life spreading the Good News all over the lands bordering on the northeast and northern shores of the Mediterranean.
At the time of the passage quoted, he was in prison. Now Paul spent time in a number of prisons, but the most accepted location according the scholars is that he was imprisoned in home confinement in Rome in 61 A.D. at the time of the writing of Philippi. It was in Rome where he would ultimately be put to death by Caesar but at the time of the writing, he was able to continue his mission work to anyone who came to visit him. His letter to the Philippians was to tell them where he had been and his plight but primary to explain the joy he had in his heart and the peace he felt due to his personal relationship with God.
So, how can that be of benefit to those of us who find ourselves stressed and lose sight of the real solution that will give us peace and resulting tranquility? Well, just read the words or, better yet, read the entire book of Philippi. It's only four chapters in length and it provides so much of the peace, love, joy and wisdom that Paul attained through his special relationship with the Lord. We can do that, too, if only we open our eyes, read the Good Book and pray with an open mind and allow the chains to fall away from our hearts and let the Holy Spirit out from within us. Then, like we see here from Paul, no matter what we face, no matter how painful and difficult it might be, we can deal with it with a smile on our face if we just turn it all over to the Lord. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that God can't do and in this case, if we believe that and live it, when the trials of earthly living are done, we will join Him in His Kingdom for eternity. That sounds like perfection to me and it can be for others as well. Try it, you might like it and it will capture your soul.