If we were to become more of ‘who we really are,’ we would become more wicked and full of contention with one another. If it were not for the common grace of God, our world would fall apart.
We often find relational poverty even in the church, not just out in the world. We find in our own lives a severe selfishness that’s driving our ambitions and direction in life. We find a prayerlessness and lack of worship. We cannot accept the full victory and life of the gospel news unless we understand how fallen our nature is and how far from God we are.
In Philippians, Paul gives us good news that counters this relational poverty and selfishness in our lives. Embedded in this text is a world-altering promise.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:4-8, ESV).
The Lord is at hand. The peace of God will guard our hearts and minds. Without the knowledge of our own deep sinfulness and then this promise, we cannot know the joy of the good news of Christ coming, living a perfect life, his death, his resurrection and the imputing of his righteousness to us.