“If there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Charging like a thoroughbred ‘round a racetrack, our thoughts hurl from one worrisome scenario to another. With time on our hands and minds on full alert, we contemplate the dreadful, the damaging, or the difficult, assuming the worst at every turn. Usually the medicine cabinet, glass decanter, or Internet search cannot offer sufficient remedy for such troubling maladies.
Flip the lamp switch, brace yourself against headboard or cushioned couch, and reach for the Testament propped on nightstand or credenza. On one page, in a dozen lines of print, is antidote for anxiety, relief from restlessness and choking fear.
Paul, sequestered in a prison cell and chained to Roman guards, reminds us of truth worth putting into practice: rejoice in the very place you find yourselves; rejoice some more, for it will do you good; do not allow anxious thoughts to rob you of that joy; choose prayer instead, lifting petitions large and small to God (Philippians 4:4‐6).
The result of this action is worthy of a first‐place-ribbon, of a garland of roses in the winner’s circle. A peace that defies all understanding, that cannot be truly comprehended, will be bodyguard and safety net, will put sentry at attention to protect your heart and your mind through the power of the Living Christ. This peace will transcend your situation and will cause another wondrous response in your mind and heart. Now you will be able to concentrate on what is true, honorable, and just. Whatever is pure, lovely, and commendable will be your focus and will lead you to think about the excellent and the praiseworthy, too.
Paul recommends that we continue on this circuit, that we allow the peace that comes from fixing our minds on these truths to lead the charge as we practice this ride around the paddock.
As we direct our minds to gallop in this field laden with truth, loveliness, and purity, the horse once foaming at the mouth with fear is reined in. Peace sits atop the saddle, holding the harness secure.