The Peace That Passeth Understanding

 

 

Philippians 4, Verse 7

 

Let me read to you  Philippians 4, verse 7.  It’s a commonly quoted verse, that I’m sure we’re all familiar with.   It says;  “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”   That’s a wonderful thought isn’t it ?  The peace of God, keeping our hearts, and keeping our minds.  That meaning there is that the peace of God, guards and protects our hearts and our minds.  That’s one of the blessings that a Christian has, but a non-Christian doesn’t have.

That’s talking about an inner peace.  It’s talking about peace in our hearts and minds, in our spirit, no matter what the outward physical circumstances might be.

Jesus said, in  John 14:27;  “Peace I leave with you;  My peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives, do I give to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  

“MY peace I give to you”, Jesus said.   That’s not outward peace;  That’s inward peace!  The world can’t give inner peace to our hearts and minds;  To our spirit.  The best the world can do, is maybe give us some very temporary “rest” from all the tribulations of life.  But Jesus says..  That’s not the kind of peace that I give.  I give “MY” peace.  Peace in your heart, no matter what the world brings.

 

I read a statement that a man made last week, pertaining to this “peace of God”.   He said;  “If you call yourself a child of God, but you don’t experience peace and rest, and instead your life is filled with strife and confusion, something is wrong.”

What do you think?  Do you agree with that claim?  I believe I agree. If God tells us, that as Christians, we can HAVE such peace through Jesus Christ, so as to guard and protect our hearts and minds, (in other words to not ALLOW our hearts and minds to be full of strife, and uncertainty, and confusion)  but yet we don’t FEEL like we have that peace inside then yes, something is indeed wrong.

 

Here’s a comment I received just a couple days ago on this lesson..  Respectfully, I must disagree. There are Christians in the Ukraine who, despite their faith, find their lives quite literally filled with strife and confusion as their homes are bombed and they flee for safety. Does that mean they’re faithless? Not at all. Their Christian faith may be all that they have left as all else is ripped away.)

This person is misunderstanding the peace of God.  Of course we all understand what he’s saying, And he’s confusing inward peace of heart and mind, with outward circumstances, which may be the complete opposite of peaceful.   I’d say that Christians in Ukraine who are faithful to God, in the midst all the terror, DO INDEED posses the “peace that passeth understanding.”  That’s how you STAY faithful, in the face of all the tribulation that the world gives you.  

 

Do you have that kind of peace?  Do you feel that kind of peace?  And do you feel it every day of your life?  If you don’t, what do you think is wrong?   Is God not making good on His word?  I doubt that could be the case.  The problem must lie elsewhere, not with God.  And not with God’s word either.

What do you think could rob you, or what could rob us, of the peace that could be ours?  The peace that should be ours!  What could do that?   Let me suggest three things that might rob us, of the peace that we should have in our lives.

 

#1.  Worry

 

Do you think that WORRY can rob us of our peace of heart and mind?  Worry about this, and worry about that.  Worry about every little thing.  Instead of truly trusting in God in everything, there’s worry, about so many things.  There’s probably not much peace to be had, when you’re always worried about something.

Proverbs 3, verses 5 & 6  tells us;  “Trust in the LORD, with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”   I suppose that we DO have need to worry, when we don’t trust in the Lord!   Why, you might ask?  Well, it’s because  “..the way of man is not in himself: It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”  (Jeremiah 10:23) 

God knows what’s in us, because He put it there!   And He knows what’s not is us.  And knowing what’s best for ourselves, is not within us. Psalm 37:23  says;  “The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And he delights in His way.”   We should be absolutely delighted, to walk in the steps that God has ordained.  And we should find peace, trusting in those steps.

Ephesians 2, verse 10,  tells us;  “For we are His workmanship, (God’s workmanship) created in Christ Jesus,   (Remember,  “.if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”   2 Corinthians 5:17)   

So let me start again with  Ephesians 2, verse 10;  “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that we would walk in them.”  And so again, we should be delighted to walk in the ways that God has ordained for us.  He’s not going to ordain something that’s not good for us.  And knowing that, is a part of trusting in God.

And as I quote so often..  Romans 8, verse 28  says;  “And we know that God works all things together for good, to those loving God, to those being called according to His purpose.”   And exactly HOW do we know that?  We know it because God’s word says it, and because we trust God!   And so we have peace, instead of the worry, that takes away our peace.  Trusting God, creates peace in our hearts, and in our minds.

 

#2.  Bitterness

 

Do you think that an attitude of bitterness can rob us of the peace of heart and mind, that we so easily can have, in Christ?

I want to go back to  Philippians chapter 4,  and use it as an example. And even though we don’t have any specific details about this example, I think that it is indeed dealing with bitterness of some sort.   So let me read  verses 1 thru 3;  “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.”  

So we begin with an encouragement to stand firm in the Lord.  But now a problem is mentioned;  “I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.  Yes, and I ask you, my true yokefellow, to help these women, who have labored with me for the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.”   

A contention had arose between two women of the congregation.  And not only a contention, but I believe that it must have become a bitterness, since the Lord inspired Paul to say something about it.  Suffice it to say that it wasn’t just a difference of opinion that got ironed out.  And not only was it a problem between two members of the Philippian congregation, but it was a problem that the whole congregation was being called upon to assist with.  The bitterness had to end.  Why?  Well, for one thing, contention and bitterness isn’t a proper attitude for a Christian to possess.  But another reason, is that it was no doubt robbing those two members of the peace that they should have both been enjoying, in Christ.  And it may well have been affecting the peace of the entire congregation!

No one can harbor bitterness in their heart and mind, and at the same time enjoy peace in their heart and mind.  It simply cannot be done.  Even if you felt bitterness toward someone that you only saw or thought about occasionally, that bitterness still resides inside you.  And it robs you of true peace of mind.  True peace of mind, and true peace of heart, comes only through being, of the same mind as Christ!

 

Let me read to you from  Philippians chapter 2, verses 1 thru 7;  “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.  Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;  Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.  Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.”   

Sometimes we’ve simply got to “empty ourselves” in order to be like Christ.  We’ve got to empty ourselves, of everything that robs us of the peace that passeth understanding.   Ephesians 4:31  commands us;  “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.”   And  verse 32  commands us;  “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”   

#3.  Un-Thankfulness

 

Do you think that un-thankfulness can rob us of  “the peace of God that passeth understanding”?  Let’s go back to   Philippians 4,  once again.  This time,  verses 4, 5, 6 and 7;  “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”   What do you think will make us rejoice the most?   It might just be thankfulness.   Thankfulness to God.  Thankfulness for all of our rich blessings.  And not just our rich material blessings that we’ve all been given.  But thankfulness for the spiritual blessings, which are in Christ!

And so..  “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentleness be apparent to all.  The Lord is near.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  Don’t be bitter, but “let your gentleness be apparent to all.”

Don’t be anxious, in other words, don’t worry about everything!  But rather, trust in the Lord.  And don’t be Un-thankful, but rather,  “by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God.”   

And then what happens?  “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

 

The bible says in  1 Peter 1, verse 3;  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are KEPT by the power of God, through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.”   Now that expresses thankfulness;  And that thankfulness translates into peace.  Peace of mind, peace of heart, peace in Jesus Christ.

And  2 Peter 1, verse 3  says to us;  “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.”   And because of all those spiritual blessings, we’re thankful to God.   But listen now to  verse 4;  “For by these (by these spiritual blessings) He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them, you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”   And those “precious and magnificent promises, lead us to the peace, that surpasses all comprehension.
But what happens if we’re not thankful?  What if we just take, and take, all these wonderful blessings from God, with no thankfulness of heart, and with no acknowledgment of mind, that it all comes from the God of the universe, the creator of all that exists, and from the giver and the sustainer of our very life!
The bible says in  Acts 17:25;  “..He Himself gives to all people, life and breath and all things.”   And  verse 26  says;  “And hath made of one blood..   (Some versions say, of one man)  “He hath made of ONE,  all nations of men, to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.”   And then  verse 28  says;  “For in him we live, and move, and have our being..”   
But what happens if we don’t acknowledge all that?  Well, what happens is we teach ourselves to become unappreciative, and we teach ourselves to become greedy!   And the greedy, will NEVER have peace!
We’re told in  Ecclesiastes 5, verse 10;  “He that loveth silver, shall not be satisfied with silver;  Nor he that loveth abundance, with increase: This is also vanity.”
Un-thankfulness, robs us of peace from God.

Let me close with three verses, from  2 Thessalonians chapter 2..  Verses 15, 16, & 17;  “So then, brethren, stand firm, and hold to the traditions (or, the teachings) which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.  Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.”   

 

 

 

 

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This article has 2 Comments

  1. “‘If you call yourself a child of God, but you don’t experience peace and rest, and instead your life is filled with strife and confusion, something is wrong.’ Do you agree with that statement? I do. “

    Respectfully, I must disagree. There are Christians in the Ukraine who, despite their faith, find their lives quite literally filled with strife and confusion as their homes are bombed and they flee for safety. Does that mean they’re faithless? It at all. Their Christian faith be all that they have left as all else is ripped away. The same is true in Cameroon right now, and what Christians survive in Syria and Sudan have known nought but strife in years.

    It’s much easier to be faithful when you experience peace and rest. When your life consists of strife and confusion— not to mention torture, rape, and the death of all whom you love— and yet your faith in God never wavers? That is faith under fire, and true faith indeed.

    Respectfully,

    Francis Zanger, D.Min.

    Seattle, WA

    1. Hello Francis. Thanks for reading and for commenting. I certainly understand what you’re saying, however I think you misunderstand what kind of “peace” that the scriptures speak of, and that I’m referring to. We’re not talking about physical peace in our lives, or physical confusion in our lives due to the terrible circumstances that can befall us, just like what we are hearing about in Ukraine. But rather, the bible is speaking about spiritual peace. That’s the kind of peace that “passeth all understanding”. And that’s the peace that I’m referring to in this article. All of us suffer tribulation in this world. Jesus assures us that we will! But Jesus also assures us that we can overcome all those tribulations, through our faith, and the result is spiritual peace, that surpasses all comprehension. Jesus teaches us that no matter what befalls us in this life, we can still (and we should) have peace in our spirit, (in our soul). And no one can that peace from us, no matter what we suffer physically. Thanks so much for your comments, and may God bless you in the study of His word. Sincerely, Jim.

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