A Lesson From Philippians 4:9
by Anna Balsamo
Heart Song Worship Center
"Whatever you have learned or heard or received from me put it into practice. And the peace of God will be with you." (Philippians 4:9)
Do you feel discouraged because you keep struggling over certain sins in your life? Does the Holy Spirit keep bringing to mind specific things you should or shouldn't do or say and no matter how hard you try, you keep doing them anyway?
It could be your inability to say "no" to that dessert or snack after dinner when you're not hungry at all or it could be the sarcastic tone directed at your spouse when you're tired. It could also be the gossip that flows so easily from your lips or even the task you know God is placing on your heart and yet you are avoiding it whether out of fear or just plain disobedience. We look at other Christians who seem to be growing in their walk with the Lord and we feel like we are just not as good a Christian as they are. Sometimes we grow so frustrated in our failure to obey because it seems like we keep falling into the same old habits, so we just give up. Sound familiar? This was happening to me in a specific area of my life that I knew God wanted to change. Yet for months (even after much prayer), I couldn't seem to break free. Dissatisfaction settled in my heart until the Lord brought the above verse to my mind.
I suddenly realized He was showing me that change doesn't happen all at once. Yes, the moment we accept Jesus as our Savior we are saved - instantly, and some of our bad habits are changed almost as quickly as the Holy Spirit delivers us and He makes us new. ("Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Cor. 5:17) But other sins have been strongholds for years and practicing freedom, ("It is for freedom that Christ has set us free" Gal. 5:1), and walking in it is a daily task until finally we are walking in a way that is pleasing to Him.
So today, a little here and a little there, put into practice the things you have learned from His word like "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger" (Eph. 4:31), or "Do everything without complaining" (Phil. 2:14). When we commit to actually doing the things we know He wants us to do daily, before too long they will become new habits within us - ones we know will please Him and bring Him Glory - because we have practiced them.
Listen to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit telling you what to do, and then do it. When your husband wants a back rub and you are just way too comfortable sitting on the couch, get up and do it. Show a little selfless love. Practice it. When someone in the car next to you cuts you off and uses a gesture that isn't too nice, "Bless and do not curse" (Romans 12:14). Practice it.
Today when I really feel like gossiping with my cousin about someone at the family party, I am choosing to obey and put into practice what I know is pleasing to Him. When my friend needs someone to listen; really listen, I will stop what I am in the process of doing and practice the art of listening to her.
Change doesn't seem to come quickly, but when broken down into manageable obedient steps daily, before too long we will be more like Him and then others will begin to see Him in us. Isn't that what it's all about anyway? Becoming more like Him!
Don't give in to frustration. Just practice what you know to be true - moment by moment; day by day. "And the God of peace will be with you".