‘the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:7 NRSV)
Whenever someone is experiencing a difficult trial, my mind turns to this verse as a source of comfort and solace for the individual or/and their family and friends.
Shortly before his death Jesus promised his followers a gift:
‘I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.’ (John 14:27 NLT)
The trouble is we are prone to worry when a severe trial comes our way, and our anxiety can rob us of Jesus’ gift of peace. We worry about the future and what might happen, yet none of us can alter those things by worrying, hence Jesus’ command:
‘I tell you, do not worry about your life…do not worry about tomorrow.’ (Matthew 6:25,34 NRSV)
Easier said than done, of course, and so the question is how can we stop worrying and enjoy peace, the shalom of God, in our lives?
An Old Testament prophet gives us a clue.
‘You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!’ (Isaiah 26:3 NLT) As we lean on and trust God, fixing our thoughts on him and not the problem before us, then we are promised his perfect peace.
Rather than constantly chewing over the issue that is causing us to worry why not take some time meditating on God? On how good he is, how much he loves you, and how he longs for a close and intimate relationship with you that will last on into eternity; way beyond the issue that is causing us anxiety.
That is why Paul, after talking about
‘the peace which surpasses all understanding’, says:
‘whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.’ (Philippians 4:8-9 NRSV)
Our circumstances may not change but we can have the peace of knowing that God will be with us during our experience. In place of worry, develop that intimate relationship God wants to have with us, and take everything to him in prayer
(v.6); in doing this his peace will be a guard for our hearts and minds
As we begin to experience God’s peace it will change our perspective on life, and those around us will notice a difference about us. It is then we can share our experience and point them towards the God of peace for the troubles in their lives.
Father, may your peace which surpasses all understanding, guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Have a peaceful week,