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. Philippians 4:9 (NJKV).
The peace of God is with us.
Starting in verse 4, Paul blesses his friends with the peace of God that surpasses our understanding as they display gentleness while avoiding anxiety and what results from it. Then, here in verse 9, he blesses them with God’s peace as they meditate on the good things of God. He must want them (and us) to understand that God’s peace is present with us.
That’s good to know, isn’t it, especially in a world turning itself upside down over a virus? After all, these words were written at a time when it was common for villages to shun, even kill, people with leprosy (which is cured by modern antibiotics); when cholera, typhus, or dysentery could wipe out a city in days; when there were no blessings of medicines or sanitation to prevent and cure such things. They lasted through the Black Death that killed 60% of Europe (because people didn’t know about hygiene and fleas). They persisted through the 1918 Spanish Flu that came and went in a year but killed more people than World War I. They will be true when this passes by as well. In the meantime, they’ll get us through and provide encouragement when we need it…because He will actually abide with us.
Don’t lose sight, too, of Paul reminding us to put faith into practice. Let’s not just believe in Jesus: let’s do something with it. Now is the time for us to show people our faith by showing them our works because of it. The other night, I was talking with a friend who reminded me that Martin Luther exhorted Christians (during outbreaks of disease) to continue ministering to others out of Christ’s love. Care for people in real ways and share the medicine of Jesus. If someone is sick, find out what you can do to help them…bring groceries, cook them a meal, help with laundry or cleaning; anything. Yes, we should be preventive and cautious in how we conduct ourselves. But we MUST NOT allow fear or even government edict to prevent us from carrying out our faith in Christ by helping people who need it.
And in it, through it, God will be giving us His peace as we work to help each other get by. Today I’m praying that, when the crisis has passed, our world will be able to look back and see how God blessed us richly by the works and faith we believers can share as we served each other through it. Sin is a disease, too, and disease is a result of sin. God Immanuel is stronger than either.
For further reading: Romans 15:23, 1 Corinthians 4:16, James 2:18, Philippians 4:10.
Lord God, abide with us and grant us Your peace to better serve You by serving each other.