The Peace of God
If you watch Stephen Curry play for the Golden State Warriors, there is something so oddly unique about the young star. Every time I watch him play, I have always been intrigued by his extreme confidence and poise. Maybe it’s because his father played for the NBA – maybe he has his father’s DNA. Maybe because all the top Division 1 schools overlooked him so he was forced to attend Davidson for college. Anyone who is crazy enough to go against Kobe Bryant with so much feisty vigor gets my attention….
Then it all made sense
The camera caught a glimpse of his shoes in tonight’s game – He writes before every game with a sharpie on the front part of his shoe: Philippians 4 — Enough said. Apparently the kid thinks he can do all things through Someone – that being God – that being Jesus Christ. I’m just telling you what this kid thinks – I don’t even like him – he beat the Lakers tonight and he pissed off Kobe.
Philippians 4: 4-7 —
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Most of us would die happy if we could just experience peace from God. I mean the dreams, the ambitions, the desires — those are great. But the peace of God? – that’s a whole different animal. You can get success, but peace is a gift. You can be the best at what you do, but be anxious to the core. You can take my money, you can take my clothes, my talents, my everything – and just give me the peace of God – I will be more than happy. I’ve always said that if music would not give me the peace of God, then give me ANYTHING else in its place. I want God’s peace – I want it so badly that I’m willing to give my dreams for it.
Why is this peace so elusive?
Most of us pray to a higher being. I’m sure our prayers look like the lists we used to write to Father Christmas during the holiday season – yes I said Father Christmas – I imagine Santa Clause with a British accent. There is nothing wrong with our requests to God – but there is something ever so magical in Philippians 4 that can change the very nature of our being. We have to present our requests with Thanksgiving. Rejoice, and again I say Rejoice. The writer must have had some insight into what it takes to receive the peace of God. When in doubt, we rejoice. When we ask God for things, we rejoice. When we are mad, we rejoice. Thanksgiving changes the structure of our asking. It changes the frame of our petitions. It moves us from a sense of entitlement to humility.
The peace of God is said to guard our hearts and minds — MOST PEOPLE HAVE AN OPEN HEART AND MIND – meaning they are not guarded. This is why our generation falls for everything and everyone. We don’t have the peace of God so we leave our thoughts and feelings unguarded. Our brain and heart are imprisoned to external circumstances and scrutiny of others.
The peace of God protects. It secures. It comes when we rejoice. If I was a spiritual math teacher I would write on my blackboard:
Rejoicing + Praying our requests and desires = The Peace of God = protection of our hearts and minds.
How’s that for an equation? Peace, and much love to you – John Baptist!