Explore The Bible Study: Joy Through Peace

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I recently did a search on the internet for “finding peace during covid” and discovered about 751 million results! It’s obvious by the articles and studies that people are struggling with finding peace at this time. And the lack of peace robs people of their joy. The Explore the Bible Study: Joy Through Peace, will examine Paul's advice in Philippians 4:1-9 regarding how one can find joy through peace.

As believers, we know that God is present in both the still moments and the storms, but we are tempted to forget due to the external and internal pressures we experience. Paul reminded the Philippians that peace was found in God’s presence regardless of the circumstances. The advice given to him from God to convey to the believers in Philippi and to us include the following:

We experience joy through the peace that comes when standing firm together – Philippians 4:1

Paul uses the phrase, so then, to point back to the preceding verses in which he explains that the church’s great hope is anticipation of the Lord’s return. Christ’s return will initiate our final and full transformation into His likeness, including a glorious body (Philippians 3:20-21). Because of this Paul desired for the believers to be at peace with one another so they could stand firm together, thus experiencing the joy that comes through unity. Paul’s use of the phrase "stand firm" reminded his readers of the way Roman soldiers would stand firm and remain in place during an assault. If all the soldiers would stand firm together, they knew they had a better chance at surviving the onslaught of the enemy.

We should learn how to stand firm together in the Lord (not compromising the gospel) even when we might not agree on certain issues that aren’t violating biblical truth. If we don’t, we will find it difficult to experience the joy and peace that comes when believers stand together.

  • What obstacles today keep you from standing firm with other believers? How does this impact the peace that you experience? How does it impact the peace that should exist in the body of Christ? 
  • Can you stand firm together while not agreeing on certain topics? If not, why? If so, how?

We can experience joy when we make peace with one another – Philippians 4:2-3

This passage discusses a conflict between two ladies in the church; however, we don’t know the circumstances of their conflict. It’s obvious that the rift between Euodia and Syntyche must have been causing ripples in the church because it captured Paul’s attention and prompted him to respond.

Paul urged both of the women to seek reconciliation from one another. They were both to agree in the Lord. He also appealed to a third party, referred to as a true partner, to help bring about their reconciliation.  He reminded all of the parties involved, the dissidents and the peacemakers, that their names were in the book of life. One must wonder how individuals who profess Christ can create such conflict with those with whom they will be residing in Heaven! There is great irony in conflict between believers who both profess Christ and claim to be going to Heaven. 

The message and ministry of a church are sorely impaired when dissension exists between members. Believers must stand firm together against the external pressure that might rob us of our joy and peace, and we must equally strive to resolve conflict between one another within the church so that church can be a place of joy and peace as well.

  • Are there believers with whom you need to make peace so that you and the church can experience the joy that comes through making peace?

Protect your joy that comes through peace by having the right attitudes – Philippians 4:4-7

These verses describe two attitudes that protect our peace in Christ:

  1. Attitude of REJOICING.
  2. Attitude of THANKSGIVING.

These two attitudes are not only evidence of peace but an expression of one who has peace. This kind of peace guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. It enables us to look at people or our circumstances through the lens of peace that comes from knowing Christ.

Recollecting that God has already supplied many thanksworthy gifts or benefits gives added faith to approach Him for current needs. To live with anxiety is to live with a robber of joy lurking in our hearts. The antidote to anxiety and the prelude to peace is the practice of thanksgiving and prayer. To be frequently asking but seldom thanking is unbecoming for children of a loving and generous Father.

When we possess these two attitudes – rejoicing and thanksgiving – we will have peace and joy! It will change how we view life, treat others, and pray to God. Through faith in Christ and His atoning death we have peace with God. When we have joyful and thankful hearts, God’s peace is ever active, giving us joy despite our circumstances.

The secret to experiencing joy through peace is to dwell on the right things – Philippians 4:8-9

Notice what Paul says believers should dwell on and how dwelling on these gives you peace and joy. We should dwell on things that are:

  • True: Anxiety results when false ideas and unreal or imaginary circumstances occupy one’s mind; therefore, you should focus on what is true. 
  • Honorable: The word honorable speaks of what is noble and worthy of respect. Majestic thoughts lift the mind above the ordinary or even sinful things that compose the world’s lusts and scandals. 
  • Just: Describes behavior that is upright in that it conforms to God’s standards or expectations.
  • Pure: Means that which is chaste and moral as opposed to what is shameful and sinful.
  • Lovely: Refers to what is attractive and pleasing. This results in togetherness in place of separation, fellowship instead of feuding, and peace rather than contention.
  • Commendable: Describes what garners people’s admiration, approval, and praise. 

What would happen if most believers quit dwelling on the social, moral, political upheaval or their personal temptations and focused solely on their relationship with Jesus Christ for a season? How would that bring peace? How would that restore the joy one should have from knowing Christ? How would it impact the lost world?

Finally, Paul went a step further by presenting himself as an example of dwelling on the truth, knowing from his own experience that in so doing, peace would be experienced. Paul could have dwelt on his shortcomings, his circumstances, or several other things, but he didn’t. He was to be theirs and our example.

Earlier in verse 7, Paul gave the Philippians the promise that the peace of God would be with them to guard their hearts and minds. Paul added the promise in verse 9 that God Himself, the God of peace, would be with them as they let their minds dwell on the truths they were reading in his letter.

Has a Lack of Peace Robbed You of Your Joy?

What about you? Is a lack of peace in your heart robbing you of joy? Have you quit rejoicing and quit giving thanks to God for his blessings because you have dwelt so much on what is taking place around you or the temptations that influence you? If so, take up Paul’s challenge to refocus your heart and mind on God and the relationship you have with Him. 

  1. Commit to standing firm with other believers.
  2. Pursue resolution of conflicts with others.
  3. Replace attitudes of worry, anxiety, and fear with the attitudes of rejoicing and thankfulness.
  4. Dwell on the right things. 

If you do, the God of peace will give you peace and your joy will be restored!

The downloadable teaching helps provide more details for this study along with some tools you can use in guiding a group Bible study. Be sure to use this as a supplement to your study of the Explore the Bible Study resources provided by LifeWay.

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