“If/then” sailing with our pretty awesome God.
Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.
Remember the last high school English teacher who taught you grammar. Thanks to Miss Joan Olivia Peters, I CANNOT start a written sentence with a conjunction if I’m working on a formally written paper. Heaven help me if I start a PARAGRAPH with a conjunction; that major infraction goes against the very nature of the teacher I still admire today.
Paul, the author of Philippians, doesn’t start these sentences with a conjunction, but he is working the cause/effect — the if/then thing. He says, “IF you tell God what you need, and you thank him for all he has done, THEN you will experience God’s peace.”
How many of us truly tell God what we need? No, no, I’m not talking about the Biggie Needs, those once every other month one-sided conversations where you dump your Wish List on God’s lap as if you’re seven and God is Santa at the mall.
We all hit God up for the Biggies; we turn to God when things are really wrong; but here Paul is talking about the smaller stuff, particularly the smaller daily stuff. What do you need from God? Let God know. That’s first in this peace process Paul mentions. Second, give God thanks for being there, for holding you up when you couldn’t even crawl. When you do these two steps, then you will experience not only God’s peace, but also God’s presence.
In the children’s sermon tomorrow, I’ll be talking about handling things before they get too big on you; i.e., address issues while they’re small. Tell God what you need hourly, not on occasion. Tell God what you need throughout your whole day, not just when a Life Situation is an all out mess.
When you do have many micro conversations (mini prayers) with God, when you do learn from and plug into God through worship to bring about a deeper, richer prayer life, you’ll notice something: you easily thank God for His presence and His provisions. It is that Staples Easy Button. Here’s what Paul is ultimately saying: When you draw close to God, God does draw close to you (James 4:8). Experience God’s peace. How? Share with God on an intimate, regular basis all that isn’t so peaceful in your rocky world.
Said a bit differently, here’s that cause/effect/if/then sentence one more time: if I get in sync with God, then I sail with God.
Take that imagery with you beyond these words. Sailing with God? Yeah, that’s a good thing.
Dear Lord, I’m stopping to talk with You now. Hear me as I share with You what I need. Allow me to then to thank You and experience Your peace.