“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
— Philippians 4:7 esv
This week’s verse is a continuation of Paul’s instructions to the church at Philippi. The great love for this local congregation is obvious with each stroke of his pen. Having warned them to be “anxious for nothing” he now gives them the absolute assurance that it is possible and profitable for them to abide in a state of peace.
Peace is a misused and misunderstood word. A simple look at the Webster’s dictionary states that peace is …
· a state in which there is no war or fighting … an agreement to end a war … a period of time when there is no war or fighting
For the sake of this week’s study I want to remind you that Paul has a much deeper meaning and understanding of the word “peace” than this. The beloved Apostle has just affirmed that because of God’s complete control over everything and in light of the reality that God’s purpose is always for our good, he exhorts his readers to live inside the “Peace of God.”
In his letter to the Romans Paul said plainly
“Therefore having been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”
— Romans 5:1
thus reminding us that once a person has been saved he is no longer at war with God and can enjoy the peace of God in his daily life. The “peace of God” reminds us that He is in complete control over all. You and I do not have to struggle with keeping it all together because we have the internal assurance of knowing God.
While it is true that we may not always understand all that is going on in life, we have the assurance that nothing catches God off guard and therefore we can abide in His peace. The ways of God are so far above human reason and understanding that we can never fathom the supremacy of God. Remember, the “peace of God” is supernatural and sufficient for every circumstance in which we find ourselves.
Not only does it surpass our understanding, it alone is able to guard our hearts and minds. Far too often we allow our head to get in the way of our heart. The word Paul uses for “guard” is a military word that means “as a soldier stands a post” to protect a city. This is a picture that would have been very understandable to the city of Philippi where Roman soldiers were stationed to project their treasures in that part of the world.
The good news of this week is that God’s supernatural peace, which comes at conversion, is all we need to guard our hearts and minds. Thank God for that “peace” today!