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Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9 (NLT)

When you find something that works, you stay with it. After all, if ‘it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’

At first glance one might think the Apostle Paul is just an arrogant Bible thumping preacher. “Just do what I do and everything will work out just fine…” But a study of the life of Paul reveals quite the opposite.

This great orator and defender of the faith says in other writings, things like:

“Not that I have already attained it, but I press on towards the mark.” (Philippians 3:12)

“All those things I want to badly to do, I don’t do. Rather I find myself involved in doing the very things I hate.” (Romans 7”15)

“For I am the least worthy of any of the apostles” (1 Corinthians 15:9)

There are other places as well where Paul bears his soul to say, in essence, I’ve not attained the standard of living I desire in my life. I’m weak, I fail. I’m unworthy. Yet here, in Philippians 4:9 he offers a testimonial of hope to those of us who struggle on a daily basis. He encourages each of us to take a good look at reality.

Remember what you’ve learned [about your faith], he says. Too often life situations, doubts, and our own failures will lure us away from the fundamentals. A championship team in any sport is one that continually practices the fundamentals, the little things so that the victory can be won. Rarely does a team sound in the fundamentals, lose.

In the same way, Paul is telling us from his personal experience that as he has learned to follow the basics, he has seen God work in mighty ways.

Does that mean hardship won’t come? Unlikely, since Paul wrote this letter from prison.

Does that mean we won’t fail through our own weakness or outright rebellion and sin against the God we chose to love? Paul reminds us that we battle continually with the old sin nature. Only reliance on the Holy Spirit will change that.

We are instructed to be a holy people, separated unto God, to live a life above reproach. But holiness in the human realm doesn’t mean perfection, it means we deal correctly with sin as soon as it enters our life. We go to the throne of grace, confess our sin, as forgiveness, and repent (change our attitude).

Stay the course. Remember the simple truths you learned as a child, or seek them out from God’s word. Trouble will come. You will fail. Others will fail you. But as you remain true to the basic tenants of our faith (love, grace, forgiveness and mercy) the God of peace and comfort will encourage you today.

PRAYER: Father God, help me to live in such a way that I can say, as Paul says, that my walk with you has taught me the way to peace. Empower me with your Holy Spirit to live in the basic truths of my faith so that others may find the peace I have found. Amen.

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