And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:7
Peace. We seek it. Well, I seek it. Not sure about the rest of the world.
Sometimes I seek peace at all costs. Too often I settle for this and it costs me more but like those who pay no money down, the costs are deep in the detail and are paid back with interest. I compromise on things I value so I will have peace, which is not peace. It is only the absence of conflict, yet the conflict remains.
On the surface, it seems I am trying to care for those around me but truth be known, I just want them to like me, not have an issue with me, or not think less of me.
This is no peace. It is not even the absence of conflict. Externally, I have made peace (resolved the conflict) but internally the battle rages on. At times I have seceded when I am right. Other times my struggle comes not in knowing right from wrong but good from best. But most times, I am just stubborn and unwilling to admit my own faults (Wouldn’t want someone to think poorly of me!).
And the peace of God…that conjunction points us back to all Paul has written.
Rejoice. Let your gentleness be evident. Don’t be anxious. Through prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God.
AND…The peace of God does not come through my seeking peace, peace at all costs, my bartering or settling. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). World bartered peace does not last, nor is it peace. Remember: World War I was the war to end all wars. How did that work out?
Rejoice, even when people disagree with you. They may be right. They are talking to you. Do you want them to stop speaking into your life? Granted, there are those we ought not listen too, but who do we allow to speak into our life? Shut them up often enough and long enough, and the very people God may be using to direct your path may become silent and you will follow the path you are on to a very dark place.
Let your gentleness be evident to all. Listen without prejudice. Hear what they are saying. Gentleness communicates “I am listening to you. I value your opinion.” Even if they are wrong (not saying they are) you may discover other nuggets of wisdom and truth through their words.
Don’t be anxious. I have trouble being gentle when I am anxious. Anxiety raises my blood pressure and ignites the fight or flight reflex.
With thanksgiving, which seems opposite of anxiousness, pray and petition God.
AND the peace of God. I long for this. Peace, a quiet confidence of God’s provision and protection in the midst of the storm, brings confidence and courage to face life’s storms, temptations and troubles. Peace like this comes in the midst of conflict. Paul elsewhere reminds us that in all things God is at work for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).
And the peace of God…So God is at work in this mess for my good.
Which transcends all understanding…it won’t make sense according to conventional wisdom.
Will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus…God’s promise protects me.
So rejoice. Be gentle. Don’t be anxious. With thanksgiving, pray and petition God.
Peace. God’s peace.
O, that I would be found resting in God’s peace! Faithful.