Welcome back. As always, I’d like to welcome anyone just joining us to take few minutes to catch up with out study. You can start here: “Peace In: part I.” If you missed any other parts, you may click here.
The passage we’re dipping into today is so extremely exciting because it’s the first of two Peace Promises we’ll see before we’re done.
The Peace Prerequisites
Remember, peace is not a natural consequence of being a Christian. If that were so, no Christian would ever be afraid or depressed. But peace is a conditional promise offered to every Christian. All we have to do is do our part. Of course, we can never accomplish anything Christ-honoring with His power, so in the end, God is asking us to do things we can only do through Him to have peace only He can provide. It really is a win-win-win for us.
1. Find your complete and utter joy in nothing and no one else other than God and His Truth. Don’t let a job, spouse, team, grade, children, hobby, song, food, or house be your goal. Make God and His glory your preeminent mission in life. This means His Word and the work He has for us must be more important than our fleeting fancies.
2. Be gentle, gracious, and loving to all men. Men may call you their enemy because they side with sin, but no man should you ever consider unlovable. Peace with the antagonistic, unity with the brethren, and truth in love to all men should be our aim. Know that God provides power to accomplish this by His indwelling Spirit, and that He may return at any moment and wants to find us serving Him.
3. Never be anxious for anything. Instead of dwelling on the problem and fretting over the outcome, allow your thoughts to turn to God, His promises, and His throne. Bow before Him in humble submission, casting your care on Him with a thankful heart that He is using these circumstances to work in you and bring Him glory.
When you accomplish all of this with Christ’s power for Christ’s glory the result is and will always be . . .
The Peace Promise
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
WHAT AN AMAZING PROMISE!
Let’s break this down.
1. Peace – This is what we’ve been desiring. This is the balm that we’ve all wanted to salve our wounds. This is the missing element that turns life from a frenzy of panic and anguish to an enjoyable wash of confident soul rest. But it’s not just peace, it’s . . .
2. God’s Peace – This is the peace that only God can give. In His farewell benediction, Jesus calmed His disciples by telling the to be at peace, but then He told them,
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27
The world cannot afford this peace. There is no psychiatrist, medication, book, relationship, or job that can rest our souls as God’s peace can. The divine, all-powerful God of the universe has everything necessary to provide you exactly the amount and kind of peace you need. Nothing else can do that. But it’s not just God’s peace it’s . . .
3. Incomprehensible – As I mentioned in Part I, this peace cannot truly be explained in words man can understand, because it defies man’s ability to grasp it. The nous (comprehension) comprises the whole of man’s ability to know and understand. This peace surpasses that. It isn’t until you’re in the midst of suffering and you bring your life and responses parallel with the Peace Prerequisites that it dawns on you that though it doesn’t make any sense, you are perfectly at peace with the situation. Those around will likely look at you in astonishment because they literally will not be able to understand how you’re so calm, and only those who have experienced this peace before will knowingly nod and thank God for the work He’s doing in your heart. But it’s not just an incomprehensible peace from God it’s . . .
4. Heart Guarding – The Greek word for “heart” in this passage technically refers to the organ in the chest (kardia), and though less stress would probably protect your from the threat of a heart attack, the biblical implication is far greater. The word “guard” is a military term that gives us the picture of an internal garrison led by the Holy Spirit Himself. No principality or power stands a chance when coming to blows with the “military” strength of God’s spiritual protection. But what is this idea of the “heart”?
Kardia appears 150 times in the New Testament. The heart may be best defined as the seat of the soul. It’s not merely mental machinations, it’s our inmost desires that grow from our beliefs and influence our mind, actions, and emotions. This is the part of us that God’s peace guards. But it’s not just a heart guarding, incomprehensible peace from God, it’s . . .
5. Mind Protecting – The same fortress of protection afforded the center of our soul will also extend to our minds. This word refers simply to our thoughts. This makes sense because as our desires breed our thoughts, so a peaceful seed will yield a peaceful plant. We need not worry about nightmares, daytime phantasms, pessimism, complaining, or evil plans when we’re being bastioned by God and His truth. But this peace is not merely a mind and soul guarding, incomprehensible peace from God Himself, it’s . . .
6. Empowered by Christ – The center of our peace command – the very hub of operations – is none other than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! He is the one who personally guarantees our soul protection. He is the one who will wrap His hands around our heart and mind. He’s the one who pours forth this peace that doesn’t even make sense to us. He’s the author and finisher of our peace.
WOW, WOW, WOW!
This is the kind of peace that puts anxiety to flight, anger to rest, and sadness to death. This is the peace that offers a cool head and clear mind to answer the tough questions with God’s wisdom. This is the peace that perplexes the lost individual and makes them wonder what we have that he doesn’t have. This is the peace that preaches.
This is the peace we’ve been waiting for.
This is the peace we need.
And this is only the first Peace Promise we’ll see from this passage!
Join us next week on Part VI as we read the last Peace Prerequisite (a significant list within a list), for if we do not meet the requirements, we cannot have this divine soul garrison of incomprehensible peace.