do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)
Over the past couple of days we’ve learned that worrying is a problem and that praying is the way to address that problem.
God tells us to express our needs to Him instead of worrying. But notice that He does not tell us that our prayers will be answered the way we want them to. Instead, what happens as a result of prayer is that we gain “peace”. And not just any peace. We gain the “peace of God”.
Anyone who is a non-believer is an enemy of God. Enemies do not have peace between them. At the moment someone believes in Jesus for the forgiveness and payment for their sins, they have peace “with” God. They are no longer God’s enemy. Then, from that moment forward, that believer – who is one of God’s adopted children [John 1:12] – can experience the peace “of” God through prayer.
This is one of the coolest promises God makes. But notice it is only for His children. Enemies of God can never experience this peace. The world tries to create peace through treaties, legislation, and Twitter hashtags. None of this can bring true peace. Only by having a relationship with the one and only God can anyone experience true peace.
The peace God is talking about here is not just a temporary calming experience that gets us through a crisis. Nor is He talking about having peace because the crisis goes away. He is offering an inner peace that happens despite our problems.
This peace is so amazing that is cannot be understood (“surpasses all understanding”). When we cease worrying (i.e. looking at our own limitations) and instead trust God and His infinite abilities, we will have a calmness that cannot be explained. It is something we could never experience on our own.
This peace “guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”. The Greek word translated “guard” is a military term. Guarding in a military sense implies a hostile enemy who can do damage to something important. This is precisely what worry does. Worry is our enemy. It damages us as we learned a couple of days ago.
Notice that our “minds” are guarded by this peace. When we are anxious our thoughts get out of control. We take actions based on faulty information. God does not want this. He wants us to be calm. He wants us to live by truth.
God is never stressed out because He is the sovereign, omnipotent Creator and Lord of the universe. Nothing takes Him by surprise or makes Him bite His nails. This is the peace “of” God. This is what He promises to His children who stop worrying and trust Him.
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