Thoughts from Philippians 4:7-9.
With this text as a basis, I will be writing for a few days about “Practicing God’s Peace.” The apostle Paul said: “7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.”
It is easy to think of many peaceful scenes. We think of breezes gently swaying the leaves of island palm trees, the shaded paths of the forest, the almost silent flowing of a stream gilded on the edges with well-manicured blades of grass, and a quiet mountain hideaway with its beauty advertising the creative powers of God. We can have true peace in such situations, but unfortunately, many times peace escapes us.
In contrast, it is just as easy to think of many stressful scenes. We may think of having enemies all around, of being in the heat of the battle, of circumstances arrayed against us, with sickness that saps our energy, of a lack of financial security and well-being, and dangers in the environment. We can be overcome with worry, but fortunately, with trust in God, we can be at peace.
Thankfully, true peace exists. The Bible often speaks of it. Our text exalts it. There is an objective side to peace; it exists whether we feel it or not. But there is a subjective side to peace as well; we can experience it, feel it, and rest in it. My next “thoughts” will deal with both sides of peace. Meanwhile, may God fill your heart, and felt experience, with peace today!
More Thoughts from Philippians 4:7-9.
Today, I will continue our discussion of God’s peace. Because true peace is God’s peace, it objectively exists whether we feel it or not. True peace originates in God. He has this peace.
God sees over the tops of all the mountains and has transversed the depths of all the valleys. He isn’t frustrated or nervous. He doesn’t quiver at the sound of turmoil. He takes it all in stride. He doesn’t pace the floor. God has nothing to be nervous about. He is all-powerful, holy, and pure. There is no hidden flaw in His character. He has no feeling of emptiness or lack of fulfillment.
Our text calls His peace “the peace of God.” This is the peace that passes all our understanding. Because our finite minds cannot comprehend God fully, we cannot completely comprehend his attributes.
Christ perfectly experienced God’s peace. This is why, despite the foreboding of the awful events of crucifixion eve, Jesus can say to his disciples, “the peace I give to you” (John 14:27). Through Christ, this peace is made available to us. Because of His atoning work we have been put right with God (Romans 5:1). This is the cornerstone of our house of peace. Because we have been justified through Christ and are in Him, we too can have God’s peace.
We will continue our discussion of peace in my next “thoughts.” We will discuss what God does and what we can do to experience the “peace of God.” Your comments are welcome.
More Thoughts from Philippians 4:7-9
The peace that we experience comes to us in two ways: (1) as a product of God’s work and (2) as a result of our cooperation with God.
First, our subjective peace is God’s work. As we have noted it is a gift. Jesus said, “The peace I give to you” (John 14:27). The peace that God gives produces peace that we experience. As Paul says, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (verse7).
If we think of the heart as indicative of emotion and will and the mind as indicative of thought then we have thinking, feeling, and willing all guarded by God’s peace. The Philippians were used to the sight of Roman sentinels standing guard. God’s peace mounts a guard at the door of our hearts and thoughts. His peace will prevent the disruption of our peace.
Second, although God’s peace is a gift, we must learn to cooperate with Him. Verses 6 and 8 bracket what Paul says about God’s peace in verse 7. These verses tell us how to cooperate with God and “practice” God’s peace. In verse 6, Paul says: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” In verse 8 Paul says: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”
Paul concludes this admonition by saying, “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you” (verse 9). This can be a day when we practice God’s peace!
More thoughts on Philippians 4:7-9. We have been talking about “Practicing God’s Peace.” Today, I will write a summary of my “thoughts.” Objectively, peace exists in God. He has peace and He gives peace. He has this peace whether or not we feel that peace in our experience.
Subjectively, when we follow God, His peace can be our experiential peace. The Psalmist wrote: “He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake” (Ps. 23:3). We see in this verse the close connection between peace and righteousness. When we do the will of God, we experience His great peace in our lives.
We can cooperate with God by doing His will. When we do this, His peace flows into our lives. Isaiah wrote: “The steadfast of mind Thou wilt keep in perfect peace because he trusts in Thee” (Isaiah 26:3 NAS). In the King James translation, we read: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
George M. Flattery, Ed.D., is the founder of Global University and Network211.