Read His Words Before Ours!
Couples often choose a passage in the Bible about love or marriage to be read during their wedding ceremony. 1 Corinthians 13, Ephesians 5, 1 Peter 3… all have great things to remember and reflect on as you begin your marriage journey.
During our engagement, we chose a passage to think of as our family verse. While we desired our marriage to be rooted in all of the Gospel and the Truth of the Word, we picked a few verses that summed up what we desired for our future as Christ followers entering into a marriage covenant. We had these words read during our wedding ceremony.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
These were easy words to smile along to on that happy day, but I’ve found myself running back to this passage when life hasn’t been so easy. When fear of the future and worry for the present felt overwhelming, I read these words.
When my joy is gone,
rejoice in the Lord always.
When I’m selfish and unkind,
let your graciousness be known to everyone. When I feel alone and left out,
the Lord is near.
When my future is unstable,
don’t worry about anything.
When I feel hopeless and powerless,
present your requests to God.
When tragedy happens,
the peace of God… will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Paul goes on to counsel the Philippians:
Finally brother and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy – dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8
Dwell. When I read this passage, the word “dwell” weighs heaviest on my heart. To dwell on something is to let it consume us completely. We can’t dwell on multiple things at once.
When my heart is dwelling on lies from the enemy,
I can’t dwell on whatever is true.
When my heart is dwelling on worry of the future,
I can’t dwell on whatever is noble.
When my heart is dwelling on the unknown,
I can’t dwell on whatever is honorable.
When my heart is dwelling on what isn’t going my way,
I can’t dwell on whatever is just.
When my heart is dwelling on what is dark,
I can’t dwell on whatever is pure. When my heart is dwelling on my imperfections and insecurities,
I can’t dwell on whatever is lovely.
When my heart is dwelling on shame,
I can’t dwell on whatever is commendable.
When my heart is dwelling on the worry, stress, anxiety, and fear, I can’t dwell on what is praiseworthy.
Paul closes this thought by saying, “the peace of God will be with you.” (v. 9)
God desires for His peace to rule in our hearts. Isn’t that what we desire, too?
Dwelling in the peace of God and standing firm in our victory through Christ isn’t easy in the midst of difficult circumstances. Trusting in God’s sovereignty and plan for our lives can be hard when the world tells us that stress is the appropriate response to every situation. Trusting God is a battle we face everyday.
The enemy is battling to replace our peace with fear and our joy with worry.
When we fear the future,
we discount what God has done for us in the past,
stealing our peace for the present.
When we worry about our circumstances,
we aren’t trusting that God is in control of every situation,
and we lose our joy in Christ.
My favorite part of this passage in Philippians is verse 7. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
This peace that God so graciously gives us through Jesus Christ surpasses all understanding. We cannot understand it. It doesn’t make sense.
Of all the good gifts that God gives, how sweet is it that He gives us His peace to battle our fears?
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