September 15, 2018

The Peace of God

Philippians 4:4-7

The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

—  Philippians 4:7

The peace of God described in today’s reading is one of the many blessings God promises his people who pray.

Occasionally we hear people talk about having “inner peace,” and we can get the impression that inner peace is a personality trait that some people who are calm by nature have more than others. Other times, inner peace is described as something people can develop by following a pattern of relaxing meditation techniques.

But the kind of peace Paul describes is very different. It’s not something only a few people can experience; it’s a gift that everyone can receive. And when Paul says this peace “transcends all understanding,” he indicates that it is not something we can produce by our own efforts.

Paul is describing the peace that comes from God and that guards troubled hearts. The word translated as “guard” here is a strong military term. It refers to the close supervision a Roman soldier would have over someone entrusted to his care. In fact, in Paul’s day prisoners were often chained to the Roman guards assigned to watch over them.

The picture in this verse is compelling. Our prayers connect us directly to God. The best inner peace is the kind that God alone can provide. If your heart needs that peace, ask God to give it to you. He will surely do it.

Lord Jesus, thank you for giving me your peace. Thank you for assuring me that I am always protected by the power of your love. In your strong name I pray. Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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