Do what you have learned and received and heard from me, and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Did you play an instrument? Train in a sport? Even if you haven’t, most of us have heard the proverb: Practice makes perfect. My daughter trained in piano through her freshman year of college. She practiced faithfully and performed music by Chopin, Bach, and Beethoven. I, on the other hand, did not. One day my piano teacher told me to memorize a song for an upcoming recital. The week before, the instructor told me to play the piece from memory. I didn’t even know the first note.
But what if we take the proverb further? Practice makes peace.
Practical Tactics for Peace
In chapter 4 of Philippians, Paul urged the church to train their minds by practicing all the actions he had modeled and that they had seen. He also gave them how-to steps.
Are you anxious? Spend time reading the Bible. Quiet your mind by focusing on God and His attributes and characteristics. Do you worry about everything? Recite all the things you are thankful for. Are you afraid your worries will come true? Tell God precisely what you need, then rehearse Paul’s advice again the next day.
Not Perfection, but Peace
We can relax because Paul is not demanding perfection but offering peace. Some days, we’ll forget to practice. The mind will roar like a race car, but Jesus offers grace. His Spirit will nudge us back to whatever is true, noble, and right, and He’ll supply the willpower to persevere.
Practice takes time, though. My daughter trained many hours a day, several days a week, for many years. As with any hobby, sport, or profession, we need to persevere. Yes, we may model poorly, but the peace we crave will come through training the mind. When we train our minds, our practice will make peace—the peace only God provides.
Take a moment now to consider what is weighing you down today. How can you take the things to the throne of grace? Reflect on what “practice” can look like for you today as you pursue the peace that Jesus offers. How can you imitate Paul’s counsel?