Over the last few weeks, we have been looking at what I consider to be the most important mental health passage Paul ever wrote in his letter to the Philippians. Let us consider what will be studying today and what we’ve looked at so far, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”, (Phil. 4:4-6 NIV). Today in our blog we want to focus on “the peace of God that transcends all understanding”.
I think maybe the best way to consider the topic of “the peace of God” transcending our understanding is to look at one of the clearest examples of someone who had this kind of peace in the Old Testament. In the sixth chapter of the book of Daniel, King Darius makes a decree that no one should petition any deity except him for the next 30 days. Remember it was sponsored by those who were seeking to remove Daniel from his position of leadership in the kingdom. It was a very foolish decree and yet Daniel paid it no mind at all. Remember what Daniel did, he continued three times a day with an open window in his home to pray towards the city of Jerusalem and to pray to the great God of heaven. It didn’t bother him that he was threatened with being thrown into the lion’s den if he was to pray to his God because Daniel knew that his God was even bigger than the lion’s den. When Daniel is in fact thrown into the lion’s den, I would suggest to you that he slept better that night than even the king slept on his palace bed. Remember last week we were looking at the four phrases used in verse five to describe various aspects of our prayer life. We shared that one of the secrets of not being anxious or worrying about things is to live our lives before God and to have turned everything over to Him
Believers, like Daniel, who carry their burdens to the Lord will find peace and rest in their spirits. When everything is turned over to God there is a peace that will stand at the door and guard our hearts and minds, even when all around us might be falling apart. There is a glorious peace that is found in resting in the Lord Jesus Christ that our world cannot find nor explain. It is a peace that even as believers we might not fully understand or find hard to explain, but if you have ever experienced it, you know what I’m talking about. The “peace of God” that Paul refers to is more than just the absence of war. In the New Testament the term “peace of God” speaks of one’s relationship to God and harmony in human relationships as a result of our peace with God. The word “peace” stands for total well-being which is closely associated with the experience of salvation that is found in the Lord Jesus Christ. A preacher of a past generation, J. Campbell Morgan wrote this, “The peace of God is beyond our power of thinking. That means two things – first, the peace of God is so wonderful that we are not able to fully comprehend it. Second, it means that the peace of God, being the result of the wisdom and might of God, is far more wonderful than any cleverness of our own”.
Peace always is a companion to thanksgiving. When we’ve turned everything over to God, we are trusting that He is going to work all things together for good (Rom.8:28), because He’s promised us He’s going to do so. The word “guard” in our passage is a military term. It pictures a fortress with guards on duty. God’s peace is like a sentinel that has been sent to mount the towers of our heart’s door. Some problems, like Paul’s imprisonment in Rome, cannot be relieved by rational or logical approaches to problem-solving or by medication. The answer flows from an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, which was at the heart of Paul’s theology. The “peace of God” which Paul was experiencing wasn’t connected with circumstances, as he was securely locked in a Roman prison, and yet his heart and affections were centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ. That means that regardless of the storms on the outside we can have a quiet confidence and assurance that God is with us and the Lord Jesus Christ, who promised never to leave us or forsake us, will sustain us even in the midst of our current dilemma. My prayer for you my readers is that you like Daniel may experience peace in the midst of the storm that transcends all understanding and is trusting that the living God of the universe will not forsake you and will indeed care for you and your individual needs.
Resting in the Peace of God,
Pastor Rich Sivo