June 24 - Philippians 4:7-9

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Is it any surprise that Paul returns over and over again to the relationship between peace and basic good behavior?

But, the best part of this is not the words which are so familiar to us: whatever is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. No, the best part is what Paul says next.  “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or SEEN in me – put it into practice.”

You see, Paul had enough confidence in his own actions that he was willing to tell others to model their own behavior after his.

I would be fine with that, but other days … those days when I woke up with a headache or was annoyed the world or when I think there’s no one within my immediate vicinity who would know or care about me?  Those days I don’t want anyone to follow my actions.

My mother was absolutely certain that God had a good laugh at her expense and she was even more certain that he did whatever necessary to keep her in line.  Just like everyone else, she could easily be caught in the gossip of the day.  Once she was out with a friend for lunch and they got exceptionally pious about someone else from our community.  Now, they were in a much larger city far enough from home that she should have been safe, but all of a sudden her friend’s mouth dropped open and she quit speaking.  Mom asked what the problem was and all the friend could do was point.

In the booth right behind mom was the sister of the woman they’d been gossiping about.

That continued to happen to mom over and over.  We were at a concert in Des Moines and she got nasty about someone, who was standing not more than five feet from her. Over and over, Mom was reminded that her actions were seen by so many people and she needed to ensure that she was acting as a Christian should – rather than as the person she really didn't want to be.

People watch us.  The world watches to see whether or not we will acts as Christians.  You and I both know the disgust of seeing a driver cutting through traffic, ignoring the laws and infuriating other drives, then seeing the sign of the Fish on the back bumper or stickers proclaiming their relationship with Jesus.  Or Christian businesses who are so slimy in their business dealings that not only do they have a bad reputation, but they paint others with the same black mark.

Paul had confidence that he lived out his life in a manner which would point others to Jesus.  We should all live that way.