How do you have peace in all circumstances? Paul was apparently full of peace as he suffered unjustly in prison. How is that possible and can we all experience that same impossible peace? This week Pastor Caleb Baker shows us how to have peace even when our lives are filled with storms.
Well, welcome to Central. Wherever you are watching from we're so glad that you're with us today. Hey, if you have a Bible, go ahead and open it up to Philippians chapter four. We're going to be spending the majority of our time today and Philippians chapter four, starting in verse six. That's where we're going to be, spend our time.
So I'd like to open us up in prayer and then we will, we'll get going. Let's jump in together. God, we're thankful for today. We're thankful for who you are. And we're thankful for this time, God, to open up your word and to learn and to get better and to be challenged and to be encouraged and to have our eyes open to new things, God that you want to show us today.
So we pray that you'll do that, that you'll move by your Holy Spirit. That you'll, that you'll encounter us. God, that you'll be here, that you'll be close to us. Reveal yourself to us now. God, in the next few moments, we love you so much. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen. Hey, before we get into it, I just want to say to all the dads out there happy father's day, we mean it.
You mean the world to us. We, we honor you. We see you. Thankful for you. I've only been a dad for about two and a half years. And so a lot of dads listening are way farther down the road than that. And I'm really, really grateful for the example and keep going. We're looking up to you. Thanks. Thanks for your hard work.
Thanks for your gentleness. Thanks for your discipline. Thanks for your love. I'm not just saying. Following your examples. So thanks so much to the dads out there for all the stuff that you're doing. My biggest parenting struggles so far is having to sit through episodes of cocoa Mellon, and which is pretty rough.
If you don't know what cocoa melon is, just thank God for that. Seriously. It's really rough. We're in our summer series called the credentialed life. And we're working all summer through the fruit of the spirit that we find in Galatians chapter five, by way of recap, let's read through a couple of verses in Galatians five to figure out about the fruit of the spirit.
Paul says this in Galatians five, he says, but the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control look at this last line. This is insane. This is so powerful. Against such things there is no law. Against this fruit of the spirit, there is no law it's beyond sort of the rules and the human regulations that we try to put on things.
The fruit of the spirit is powerful. And if you remember, if you've been with us in this series, you remember that we've, we've talked about these fruit of the spirit and how the fruit is produced by God. I can't work hard enough to just be like, I'm going to bear the fruit of love. I'm going to be.
Self-control I'm just going to know this fruit comes from the Holy Spirit as it's filling us, as it's sending us out. We've talked about the fact that the fruit is for the benefit of others. Fruit isn't to be impressive. It's not like here's my top five fruit look how spiritual I am. It's not for you.
The fruit of the spirit is coming out of you for the betterment of others. And lastly, we've talked about the fruit of the spirit. And we said that this fruit is observed by the others and our lives. You can't just sort of like self declare the fact that like, man, I'm living out gentleness, for sure. I'm so gentle.
Like my wife and my neighbors and my kids and my coworkers, they would disagree, but I'm gentle on my promise. I think you're missing the point here. Right? That's not how this works. An orange tree. Can't be a good enough argue or to convince you that it's an apple tree either. There are oranges or there aren't.
And today the fruit that we're going to talk about is this idea of peace. And I love this peace is such an interesting one because it's something that we talk about all the time. Everybody talks about peace. Everybody wants peace. But the problem with peace is that if we're being honest, we really don't have any idea how to get it.
Right. Even though we talk about peace all the time, we all say we want peace from a fourth grader to the leaders of nations, all throughout the world to, to girls running for miss America, we all want world peace. This is something that we all want to achieve. We just don't no how to get there. We don't know how to actually find it and have it in and live out this idea of peace.
I think this problem is two fold. There are two things that we're doing that are making it difficult for us to really understand peace in a meaningful way in our lives. The first part of the problem is that we have the wrong perspective on peace. We have the wrong lens that we're looking through to understand what peace is.
Oftentimes when we think of peace, we think of whatever the world tells us it is. Whatever our culture tells us peace is. We just kind of go with it. All right. That sounds good to me. Sure. Peace is just for the hippies. And so put on your tie shirt and your round glasses and listened to Bob Marley. I wasn't alive in the seventies.
I have no idea, but maybe that's peace. Maybe that's what we mean. Or sometimes we think that peace requires us to be oblivious, right? Like if someone is trying to live peacefully, they're just naive or they're, they're ignorant, or they're just kind of in their mind, like frolicking through a field of flowers or something like this, person's out of touch.
How could they be peaceful? Right. We think that peace must mean that there's never any conflict that if we want to have peace, if we want to keep the peace, we have to avoid conflict at all costs. Like we've got to make sure we're doing everything we can to sweep any conflict under the rug. And this is such a cheap understanding of what peace is.
This is the wrong perspective. Yeah. It lacks any sort of compelling thing for us to strive for it lacks any sense of intentionality, any sense of accountability. It takes all the pressure off of us to actually live for this to actually try to achieve. In our lives and with our lives, right? Like when we hear peace, if we're not accountable, we can just sort of roll our eyes and be like, oh my God, gosh, that's never going to happen.
That's not possible. We have long perspective about what peace is. That's the first part of our problem. The second part of our problem after we start with the wrong perspective is that we often have the wrong approach. So you can see why this is why we're so far from what we were made to be. If we're looking through the wrong lens about what peace is and what it can be and where we're having the wrong approach, we're going to be pretty far off from what Jesus intended.
We usually try to maintain or manage or create this peace ourselves. We think we can just do it on our own. Maybe if I work hard enough or maybe if I'm good enough or rich enough, or if I have a big enough house with a big enough fence so nobody can see in or out, then I'll just be able to figure peace out for myself.
We jumped straight into all the things that we always do. Right. We try to control everything. Maybe if I'm in control, if I just hold on tightly enough. If I don't let anything in and I just get to decide what goes out, then I can keep this piece. I think this is why social media is so appealing to our culture because we have absolute control over what the world thinks of our lives.
We're at peace. I don't want him to see the ugly parts. I'm going to control all of this. And we worked so hard to control ourselves. Maybe if I'm, maybe if I'm disciplined enough, I'll be able to find peace. Maybe if my entire day, every day is planned out with the right rituals and practices, I'll be able to achieve peace.
A really common one that we try to find our peace through control with religion. God. If I tied perfectly, if my church attendance is good enough, if I laugh at the preacher's jokes, if I raise one hand during worship, if I go on a global trip, if I give $5 to that fundraiser, if I memorize verses, if I only listen to Christian radio and you're like, man, I'm exhausted.
Just reading this list. Imagine living that way. We try to control with our religion, with our rules, with our practices, even though Galatians five says these fruit they're against these things, there is no, but we want to control it. The news for us today is that that's not God's heart for you. That there's way more to life than that.
There's way more to following Jesus than that. Maybe. Yeah. You try to control yourself through some sort of substance, right? Like I just need to take to, to take the edge off. Or every day I get home from work. I need to smoke so I can, so I can chill out a little bit. It's just so stressful. That's how I control things.
Or that glass of wine after work turns into a bottle of wine or two bottles of wine, or I forgot to pick up my kids from school bottles of wine, because everything feels out of control. So maybe man, if I can just manufacture this sense of peace or calm or stability in my mind, and maybe that's how I. Or maybe your control isn't about controlling you at all, but you're trying to control the environment or you're trying to control your kids or your spouse or your coworkers.
You want to control others. You think that's going to ultimately lead to peace. The problem with us being in control obviously is that we're not very good at it. A lot of times, if we're in control, since we're wrong, often enough things tend to spiral out of control. So control doesn't work maybe to achieve peace.
We just need to avoid everything. Just avoid what's happening. No, no, no, no. We're good. We're good. We're good. No, it's a storm out there. No, but if I don't look at it, it's not a storm anymore. If I can just avoid it and we have these things to escape too, right? Maybe for you it's shopping or maybe it's eating, or maybe it's watching Netflix for nine hours.
You've seen every episode of chef's table. You're like, what am I doing right now? Maybe it's playing video games. It was whatever we can do to sort of transport ourselves out of the current pain. This hurts too bad. This feels too chaotic to actually engage with. And so I'm just going to escape. I'm just going to avoid it.
I'm just going to do something that can numb the pain that I'm experiencing. And you know that in more substantial circumstances, we might use drugs to escape or alcohol, to escape or porn to escape. And those things only ever, ever lead to addiction and pain and destruction. And it's sad that we escape from our pain with things that tend to bring more pain.
So control doesn't work, avoiding it. Doesn't what do we do? How do we find peace? And our lives and in our world, not just a temporary fix, but like, how can we actually find this? How do we bear this fruit? I think we need to be honest about where it all starts. I think we need to change our perspective. I think we need to change our approach.
So as we read these verses from Philippians four, we're going to see that Paul is going to call us to something higher. He's going to ask us to address the conflict that's within us. The things that are not at peace in our hearts and in our souls, we're gonna have to look in the mirror on some things.
Essentially, Paul is going to make the argument that peace is possible within. By the power of the holy spirit, because there's a big God that loves you enough to give you that, that you can actually bear that fruit with your life. If you'll be intentional, if we'll be honest, if we'll be humble, if we'll be diligent, we can, we can do this peace is available to us today.
Jamie Winship is a, is a guy he and his wife were just doing incredible work all throughout the world for the kingdom of God. He has an awesome quote about conflict. It says this all external conflict originates from internal conflict, all external conflict originates from internal conflict. This is so convicting to me.
We have to look inward. We have to grow this on our tree. We have to work on ourselves. We have to start with us. So let's go ahead. Let's jump into Philippians four and see what Paul has to say more about peace starting in verse six. It says. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, verse seven and the peace of God don't miss this.
This verse is massive and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ. Part of me wants to just read verse seven for the next 20 minutes, because if we could start to get this, it would change everything and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
So Paul's first answer for how we find peace in ourselves. It's an easy church answer for some things are cliche for a reason because they're true. It starts with prayer. That's where we have to start. He says by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And prayer is something that we do in church all the time that we talk about in church all the time.
But I would guess that most of us would admit that we don't think we're very good at it. Like when it comes to prayer, I know I'm a Christian. Wow. I grew up in the church, but like, man, prayer is intimidating. I don't know how to do it. Right. I don't think I'm, I don't think I'm saying the right words or I don't know how to stay focused or I never feel anything.
I just, when I pray, I feel like my words are just bouncing right back to me. Prayer is so vital to our lives, but it can be really intimidating. I would, I would argue that we simply can't survive without prayer. We can't find anything good in this life. If it doesn't start with prayer. There's verses in Matthew six that say that when we pray, we're praying to a God that knows exactly what we need.
Even before we ask him, isn't that awesome news. He's the God of the universe he's created each and every one of us, he knows every single thing about you. So what that means in regards to prayer is that when we pray, we can come to God, more honest than we talk to anybody. We can come to God completely unfiltered because he knows everything that there is to know why, why would we beat around the bush?
Why would we sugar coat anything? When we pray to God, what does he need to know that he doesn't know already? There is no need for pretense when it comes to prayer. There's no need for icebreaker questions with God. First date, you don't have to be awkward. And like, do I have a stain on my shirt? No, God knows everything about you.
And if we present our requests to God, as Paul puts it, we can have absolutely zero filter. You're his son. You're his daughter. I mean, come on, you can come as honest as you for our, to our God, we don't need to proofread. We don't need to worry about whether or not he's going to receive it the right way.
Prayer should be so refreshing because we have to go through our whole lives, filtering everything depending on who we're around or what setting we're in or what we're talking about. But when we pray to a God that knows everything there is. We can pray with no pretense. He's an all-knowing God, your prayers should be the most Onyx, honest expression of who you are.
Good, bad, ugly. All of it. We can pray to our God. We can know that when we pray, we're praying to a God of love, a God of intimate relationship. Always more ready to answer than we are to pray that God doesn't just meet us halfway. He came all the way to bring us home that he's done all the work to allow us to have an intimate relationship with him.
It's not 50 50. It's not God going well, come this far. If you'll get off your butt. No, he's gone. I did everything so that we could have a relationship. I want to know you, the Psalms say that he's close to the broken hearted, that he cares that he sees you. He's created us for relationship. He wants to know you.
He wants you to know him. He craves relationship with us. We were actually made. We were made to be in relationship with God, so you can see why the more we go about our lives outside of relationship with God that we seem to drift farther and farther and farther away from who we really are. We're getting away from our design.
We're getting away from our design. It was never meant to work that way you weren't supposed to this on your own. You were always meant to need God. And when it comes to peace, And if we're trying to find some sort of peace on our own, we're just not going to get there. We need God to find this piece. We are not creatures of peace.
I have a two year old at home. I can tell you she is a creature of war and disagreements and throwing things at me. Prayer is essential. We need God to find peace in our lives. When we pray, we're confessing to God that we don't understand the big picture. We don't see it all. We don't understand. What's all going on here.
It's acknowledging to God. Hey your God. I'm not, I need you. I can't do this on my own. I don't have what it takes. God. I need you to show up. I need you to get involved. Here. If I'm going to find peace in my heart, if I want to find peace in my life, it's going to have to come from you. Prayer is confessing to God that we're trusting him enough to make this all work out.
God, I'm not going to, I'm not going to try to do this on my own anymore. I'm not going to try to do do this anymore. I need you to take the wheel. I need you to drive. I need you to be in charge because when I'm in control things, just spiral out of.
No, I already read it like 4 million times, but like Paul says in verse seven, the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ. Jesus. This peace is of God and God alone. It's not some good government peace or financial peace you can't learn this piece in a classroom.
This peace is of God. And while we might not be able to understand it fully, we need it to survive. This should be incredibly hopeful for you today that we can stop trying to understand everything. The Bible is telling us that this transcends understanding. You don't got to keep trying so hard. You don't have to try to be smart enough or to get it.
We just got to surrender and go, God, this piece is from you. You are the God of peace and this is the peace of God. That the only way we achieve peace is through you. We can't get it. God, you're so much bigger than me. You're bigger than the storms I'm standing in. You're bigger than the giants that I'm facing.
I need you to get involved. So we start with praying. Let's keep reading. Finally brothers, Paul says, 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. Verse nine, 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. So after prayer, after we start with prayer, if we could think about our hearts, like our souls, who we really are, if we could think about that, like, think about this picture of soil. If we can think about our hearts as soil, then we can ask the question. What are you planting in that soil what's growing in your heart?
What are you putting in there? What are you planting in your soul? What are you thinking about? What has real estate in your brain and in your soul? What are you giving time? If we know that peace comes from God and God is the only one that gives us peace in our lives, then what are we doing to cultivate that type of stuff in the soil of our hearts?
What are you thinking about? There's three different places in the Psalms that I just want to read through really quickly that I think do like a 30,000 foot view of the things that we can be thinking about. Good things to plant in our soil. I want to read these really quickly to you. There's a verse in Psalm 48 that says this within your temple
oh God. We meditate on your unfailing love we meditate on your unfailing. Love we plant ourselves. We dig our heels in. We sit, we stand, we remain. And your unfailing love that your love will not quit and will not fail. There's a verse in Psalm one 19 that says my eyes stay open through the watches of the night that I may meditate on your promises.
God, that I might meditate, that I might spend time, that I might fill my head thinking about your promises and the fact that you promise that you're good and that you love me and that you made a way for me. And you're the type of guy that always makes good on his promises. I'm going to meditate. The last one, I want to read Psalm 1 43 verse five says I remember the days of long ago, I meditate on all your works.
Think about that. I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. Do you see a pattern here? How do we find peace? Well, what are you thinking about? What are you, what are you planting in the soil of your mind and in your hearts and your soul? I think these Psalms frame, this mindset of God's faithfulness and God's love, and God's proximity, how close he is to us, to you.
And to me right now in our lives, these three songs, you could find about a million more examples, but these three songs focus on God. I'm going to fill my mind with your unfailing love. I'm going to plant that deep into who I am. I want that to be the thing that's filling my mind. God, your love cannot be stopped or overcome.
Your love is undefeated. Your love will not quit on me. Even when I run far away. God, your love doesn't fail. Your love. Doesn't have a specific zip code that it can't go into. Your love is unfailing. You haven't given up. You have plans for me. I'm going to meditate on your love for me. I'm going to meditate on your promises.
I know you're a man of your word. I know you promised that you're going to do what you say you're going to do. And even when I cheat, when I fall short, you're faithful. You make good on your promises. Are you planting these types of things in your heart? And in your mind, are you feeding the soil, so to speak with God's love with God's promises with God's faithful.
Because I can promise you that if you're filling your mind with, with the internet and all the things that we're seeing on the news and happening everywhere and how bad things are, and who's, who's lying to who and this new catastrophe and how wrong everybody is on Facebook. If that's what you're filling your mind with, look at me, that's the fruit that you're going to bear in your life.
If your, if your heart, if the soil in your soul, You're planting division and you're planting hatred and you're planting political arguments. And this person's not really a Christian and the Datto and do more examples. So I don't want to get in trouble if that's what you're filling your heart with.
That's the fruit that you're going to bear. You get to decide what you plant in your soil. It's like Paul says in verse eight, finally, brothers, whatever is true. Whatever is noble, whatever is lovely. Whatever is admirable. If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things, fill your mind and your heart and your soul with things that are going to produce the fruit of peace in your life.
That peace that only comes from God. Let's keep reading. Look at verse 10. Paul says, I rejoice greatly in the Lord that it lasts. You have renewed your concern for me. Indeed. You have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I'm not saying this because I'm in need for, I've learned to be content, whatever the circumstances, I know what it is to be in need.
And I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Look at verse 13, you might've heard this one before. Everything through him who gives me strength.
just in case you didn't know this guy, Paul, that's writing this letter to the Christians in Philippi. He's writing it from prison. I mean, Paul has a, has a very difficult life. This guy that's talking about being content in any circumstance and finding peace, no matter what he's writing this letter from prison.
I tell you that because I think sometimes we assume that if I'm ever going to find peace in my life, it's going to have to be because of a peaceful life. And that's just not true. It's not what we see in scripture. Paul did not have very much peace at all externally in his life, but he was at peace within himself because he was planting thankfulness.
He was planting gratitude to God. He was filling his mind with God's word. That's what was in his soil. So even in prison, he's going, I don't know how to be content. My content is not based on my circumstances. I can be contained. My peace comes from God. I don't need to not be in prison to have peace. I don't need to be rich to have peace.
I don't need to have a perfect family to have peace. My peace doesn't come from that. My peace comes from God, Paul, literally in prison, writing about this peace that transcends understanding, writing about this piece that will sustain us through any moment. And look at me, his life is not going that. By any standards, definitely by our standards, but this peace that's found in God can not be taken from us.
I love that. Paul's like, man, I've been poor. I've been rich. I've been free. I've been in prison. I've been through it all. But if your peace comes from God, you get to stand in any store. And any darkness you get to live with the lights on when, when your peace is found from the holy spirit, filling you, there is nothing that can shake you from that.
There's nothing that can knock you off. If your peace comes from God, it doesn't mean that life won't be really hard. Sometimes it definitely will, but you are strong enough in Jesus' name, by the holy spirit, filling you to stand in the middle of the storm to keep your peace that comes from.
Paul says, I figured out how to be content. It has nothing to do with what's going on around me, has to do with God, has to do with the good news of Jesus Christ coming all the way down to pay the price for the sins and the death for all people for all time. And that's where my peace comes from. If that's true now, what can you do to me?
What do I have to be? What do I have to be afraid of? What do I have to lose if I have all that to gain, and then that's true. What conflict can we not step into as peacemakers? What darkness is too big for us with that peace in us to go and make peace in any city in any situation, no matter how hopeless it seems.
What do we have to be scared of?
I want to reread the end of verse 13. Cause I just love this so much. Paul says I can do everything through him who gives me strength, everything. There's nothing too big for you. There's nothing big enough to take away your peace. If your peace comes from God, this is what Paul lived by. This is what we can live by too.
This peace is available to us today that this is the type of fruit that we can bear in our lives to close out our time today. I want to do something a little bit different and lead us through this guided prayer model. That would be awesome. I think if you would just take and replicate this in your life, this is simple as something that you can do every day to center yourself on God, to begin to plant good things in the soil of your soul.
It's an acronym because we're in church and we love acronyms in church. This particular prayer acronym is called trips, and we're going to end our time today by me, just kind of walking you through letter by letter for what this stands for. Hopefully this will take root in our hearts. So the T and trip's stands for thanks.
Simply to give thanks. And just like Paul wrote to the Philippians, just like the Psalms that we read when we pray, when we acknowledge who God is, we can give thanks to him in a powerful way that actually makes our lives feel lighter. That actually helps carry our burdens. If we live with thankfulness, we can live lighter.
We can live with the lights on, we can, we can go about our lives. Like we really do have peace within us. So I would encourage you, man, take some time this week as you're going through this prayer exercise and really thank God for who he is. Thank God for what he's done. Thank God for the promises that he's made and that he's kept.
I want to take a couple seconds right now and just thank God before we move on to the next letter. God, we are so thankful for you. You're good. You're faithful. And you love us.
And even though we don't have enough words to say, we don't have enough seconds in a day to thank you for all the things that you've done. God, we are incredibly thankful for who you are and the ways that you've provided for us. So moving on the AR and trips. So we start with, thanks. The R and trips stands for.
And I know repent and church can be a really scary idea. But if you remember what we talked about just a few minutes ago, prayer needs no pretense that we can come as honest as ever to God and repent doesn't need to be scary because whatever you're telling God, sorry for one, he already knows it too.
He's already offered you forgiveness for it. And so repentance doesn't lead to guilt and shame and Manoa guests I'm guilty. I got to go to jail. No repentance leads to. Repentance gets the darkness out of there. When we repent the lights, get to come and rush the darkness out that we get to finally be free.
We get to finally have peace when these sins, when this darkness is not still weighing over us, repentance leads to grace. God's forgiveness for us is eternal and it never runs out. So let me take a couple seconds and pray for forgiveness. God forgive us for our sins. Forgive us for how often we forget, forgive us for the wrongs that we've committed.
Forgive us for the people that we've hurt. Forgive us for the times. We've run from you. Got it. Lead us out of the temptations that feel too big for us. We love it. The I and trips stands for intercession. We're asking God to intercede for us. Maybe it's a sick person in your family or a situation in your life or something happened in your marriage or with your kids.
Something you need relief from it's a financial situation, whatever it might be. We know that when we ask God, we're asking a God that is close to the broken hearted, we're asking a God that cares desperately about us to get involved. So again, let me pray for a couple of seconds. For God, to intercede in our lives.
God, be close to us, help us carry our burdens. Give us the strength we need to get through this. Through this, give us the strength that only comes from your holy spirit. Give us the strength to rely on you. We can't do this on our own. God, we need you intercede in our life. The P and trip's stands for purpose and plan that God actually invites us to fulfill his purpose into the world, to use us to accomplish what he means to do everywhere.
This is incredible that God uses broken people like it, me as messed up as me as messed up as you to get involved and to bring his kingdom here. So let's pray that God would use us for his purpose and plan God, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Bring your kingdom here, bring heaven down and use us to that end.
And finally, the last letter S stands for share that if this is true, if we have this peace if we have this good news that can't be taken from us, I pray. And we ask God that he would send us out, that we would be the type of people that don't keep as good news to ourselves, that we share it with everybody that we come into contact with.
So as we close our time out today and close out this trip's prayer exercise, I'm going to pray to that end, that this piece that's within us. As we strive to fill our soil and our hearts with good things. That would be the type of people that take this piece everywhere that we go. So let me pray for us, father God, I pray that these words from Paul's letter
would become a part of who we are, that it would open our hearts and our eyes and our ears that we could step into a new way of living with peace. That can't be taken from us with peace, that transcends understanding with peace. That brings victory and hope for all people for all time, make us the type of people that share that make our neighborhoods different.
Make our offices different, make our church different, make our families different by the peace that we have or the peace that's available to all of us. God use us to that end. We love you so much and we pray this in Jesus name. Amen.