Philippians 4:7 (NIV), “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Everyone desires peace. Especially when we are going through challenging times or need quick solutions. The Apostle Paul gives us instruction on how to gain peace which brings a calmness to our minds and settles our attitude. He makes the statement in Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding…”. Paul’s revealed truth begs the question… how can God’s peace come when we are experiencing racing thoughts of worry or our mind is being consumed to find solutions? These kinds of thoughts do not bring peace, but more anxiety and stress. Paul is incredibly confident that this principle, when practiced, it will bring God’s peace and other added benefits.
We can agree that God’s peace is perfect. Unlike the peace that materialistic items or temporary circumstance bring; God’s peace is not flaky or flighty. God’s peace is rock solid. His peace goes deep to the foundations of our faith and brings them to our soul and spirit so that it is quieted. The question is how do we achieve this kind of peace? The kind that keeps us “still” during the storms of life. The keys to this principle is found within the context of Philippians 4:4-7.
Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV) “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
We observe five instructions in Philippians 4:4-7 that will achieve God’s peace for a worried mind:
- A Choice to Rejoice. Don’t miss the fact that Paul emphasized this twice. “Rejoice IN the Lord”. We can choose to either rejoice in who God is and what He brings into our life, or we can choose to be so focused on our challenging situation that we forget that God is with us and He has all the resources to help us. The word “rejoice” literally means to celebrate. It takes appreciation to another level. Appreciate the life that God has given you and act like God is with you. That is a choice, not a feeling. This is something that Paul challenges us to do ALWAYS. Not sometimes or only in certain situations, but always. It is a choice that only we have the power to make. We choose to find one of the many things about God that we can celebrate. Practice every morning celebrating, rejoicing one of God’s many blessings in your life. When a challenging situation arises, rejoice over things you do have, what has been accomplished.
- Stay Cool, Calm and Collective. Paul says let your gentleness be seen. It brings God glory when you say you are a Believer who places your trust in God as you are going through troubling circumstances, but you don’t freak out. Rather you are an example to other people in your life, when you “let your gentleness be evident to all” as you go through tough situations. Your example of faith and trust is an incredible draw for other people to want a relationship with Christ like you have. When we acknowledge that the “Lord is near” it calms us. The power of the presence of Christ changes the atmosphere. So we say it in faith, “the Lord is near”. One of the Hebrew words for God, depicting one of His many attributes, is Jehovah-Shammah, meaning, “the Lord is There” (Ezekiel 48:35). God promised that he would never leave, nor forsake. When we remind ourself that God is there, He is in the midst of our crisis our circumstance, this truth becomes an act of praise.
- Take an Ax to Anxiousness. Paul is very straight forward… “Don’t be anxious about anything.” He gives no exceptions about practicing worry or being anxious. Sometimes you will have to simply tell yourself that you refuse to worry. Take an ax to your worries and fears. Don’t play around or coddle them. Paul gives a way to replace anxiousness by creating an action step. The action step is found in point four.
- Don’t Pout… Pray. When we are faced with troubling situations, a crisis or a problem, what we do next will determine whether we will bring God’s peace or create anxiety. Creating a void in our mind will create worry and anxiousness. We create a void by failing to pray and by not speaking God’s promises over the situations that arise in our life. When we don’t pray we have a tendency to pout and complain. Paul is trying to get us to God’s peace, therefore he says to pray in EVERY situation. It is a huge mistake to neglect prayer and to avoid God’s Word. For every situation in your life, God has already spoken to it through His Word. Sometimes we may not know what to pray, but if we go to the Scriptures, God has a Word already written. When your words don’t seem to be enough, use God’s Words.
- Deliver your Requests with a Heart of Thankfulness. The highest form of faith is to believe with a thankful heart. When you are able to be thankful for something you are asking for, you are saying you already believe you have received it. If I ask you for a favor and thank you for it in advance, then I have already believed in my heart you are going to fulfill that request. Paul is saying to us, bring your request to God with thankfulness. As you are asking, thank Him for providing. Jesus gave us the same teaching in Mark 11:24, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” This disposition will challenge the worry and fear. You will not be able to operate in faith and fear at the same time. One will win. The one that wins, is the one you will feed. Feed your faith by being thankful that God hears you and will answer you.
When we follow these four instructions, Paul says it will bring God’s peace that goes beyond our human understanding. If we try to figure it out with human understanding alone, then we miss the formula to experience God’s peace.
We cannot overlook the other benefits in what God’s peace brings to us as Paul reveals in Philippians 4:7, ““And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus“. God’s peace will guard your heart and your mind from fear and worry.