Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Keeping guard.

When I was growing up, one of the people who lived next door to us for a while had an armed guard at the end of the driveway (no, this wasn't in England...).  He'd often sit just outside the gates with his gun on his lap.  I can't off hand remember his name, but he did sent me a Christmas card one year.  There's a fair chance we still have the card somewhere...  Anyway, I'm wandering off the point, which is the guard.

As it happened, the house next door never came under attack, but the guard was still there.  I guess if the house had come under attack, he would have protected it.
And this morning, I was reading in Philippians about rejoicing and the like.  Here's what I read:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  
Now, this includes (I'm talking basics here...) one thing to avoid, one thing to do, and one result.
Avoid being anxious.  Paul (the guy who wrote this letter to the Philippians) is talking about real stuff here.  The Philippians had reasons to be anxious.  We know from the rest of the letter and from other sources that life was always easy for them.  So Paul isn't saying, 'if something bad crops up, try not to worry about it', he's saying, 'you know all those things that you're struggling with at the moment? - Don't get anxious about them'.
Present your requests to God.  The Philippians are to do this with thanksgiving.  That will help them to focus on God's love and provision for them, and focus less on themselves.  They know full well that God can meet their needs - praying with thanksgiving will help to remind them of this.
The peace of God will guard your hearts.  This goes beyond our understanding, as Paul says, but the word he uses for 'guards' is like a sentry.  It's like the guy next door with his armed guard at the bottom of the driveway.  The guard stands there (or sits there...) and guards the house for him.  In the passage, it's God who guards our hearts, his peace that protects our minds.  And as guards go, that's a pretty amazing one to have.

What do you get anxious about?

What thankful requests can you bring to God?

What do you think about God's peace 'guarding your heart'?

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