Philippians 4:1-23 – http://www.bible.com/bible/59/php.4
9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
We left the last lesson with a question of how many people you touch with a smile or a simple blessing each day. Today, make this an intentional part of your day – smile at strangers, wish them God’s blessing when you talk with them. If someone asks you why you do this, tell them it is because you know God loves them.
Changing how we think or how we act does not come automatically in our lives, it takes purposeful intent from us to put it into practice.
A few years ago I moved from a big city to a small town. In the big city I had built the habit of isolating myself when I was in a crowd. I did not want to be noticed. This habit moved with me to my new home – and people began asking why I was so cold and distant. Why was I so unfriendly? I didn’t even wave at people I passed while I was driving! (a custom in this part of the world – even if you have no idea who the person in the other vehicle could be).
Years of habitual-isolation needed to be broken and removed from my life. Believe me, it was not easy. Even now, after being here in this small town for ten years, I sometimes still have to think about it, and intentionally pay attention to what I do as I walk down the street or drive in my car to get my mail or groceries. I have to practice “seeing” people rather than ignoring them.
This is what our verse today encourages each of us to do – practice, practice, practice! Practice smiling. Practice waving (or whatever greeting is acceptable in your culture). Practice blessing people with God’s presence and goodness. It may never come easily to you, but do not give up practicing the good things you read in the Bible.
Now read the end of our verse again – your reward from God for practicing is His peace! Why would this be so? It is because as we practice doing good things for others we begin to forget about ourselves. We forget our pains and troubles. We forget our self-centered dreams for ourselves as we become God’s love to others.
*What effect does Ephesians 4:32 have on you as you practice God’s love to others?