“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7, NIV84)
This is absolutely one of my favorite memory passages. There are so many profound things said and implied in this single verse. In the verse previous, Paul tells us not to be anxious because we have a Lord who is near and one to whom we can bring our prayers and petitions. If we begin at that point, as we must, then we can roll into the truths of this verse. Rather than anxiety, we will experience the peace of God. Stop there for a minute. I am quite certain that God is never anxious. I am certain that He is always peaceful because He knows and can do all things. Because we call on Him in our times of need, we can exchange our anxiousness for His peace because we are relying on His gracious providence.
Paul tells us that the peace of God “transcends all understanding.” When we experience the peace of God, it is nothing like anything this world can provide. The world understands peace as the absence of something. For God, and us, it is the presence of something. It is the presence of His Holy Spirit living in our hearts assuring us that God’s will is being done in our lives. We can find God’s peace in the most tumultuous times of our lives because it comes from God to us. It is not something we well up within ourselves.
I find it very interesting that Paul uses an active word like “guard” to describe what God’s peace does for us. We tend to think of peace as a passive thing. But Paul says that the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. God’s peace guards and protects the two things that might cause us worry or anxiety. Our hearts and minds, which can take us to a lot of bad places, are guarded by the peace of God that the Holy Spirit places within us. And where is all this rooted? In Jesus Christ! The grace and mercy of Jesus Christ move us to faith and open the door for the Holy Spirit to find a home in our hearts. As He resides there, He instills in us a peace that transcends our understanding and guards our hearts and minds against going astray.
May God’s peace be yours today and always.