Philippians 4:6-7 is one of my favorite passages in the Bible, and I know I’m not alone in that. A lot of Christians find the verses particularly comforting, especially verse seven.
“6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
These are lovely verses, no doubt, but I’m afraid that a lot of times, Christians overlook all that verse seven means. Too often, I think we read Philippians 4:7 and think, “If I pray and “present my requests to God,” He’ll grant me a subjective feeling of peace.” While that’s certainly part of it, a “deep-breath-wash-the-stress-away” peace is not the only type of peace our Lord promises. Take a look below at my thoughts below on understanding Philippians 4:7, practically.
Note: The thoughts below are indeed my own, but they were prompted by and rest heavily upon a sermon outline by Charles Spurgeon, included in my Spurgeon Study Bible.
PROFOUND PEACE OF INTELLECT
When we abide in God’s Word and take all things to Him in prayer, we will gradually come to a greater understanding of His character and His works in redemptive history. Addressing this point, Spurgeon wrote that “the soul finds rest in the [doctrines] and precepts of the Word.” How true that is.
Contrary to what unbelieving scholars might have you believe, the Bible is not contradictory or ridden with loopholes. It is a precisely detailed narrative with more glorious continuities than any other document in existence, and when you read it with a prayerful heart, God will grant you with a profound peace of intellect in regards to its teachings.
At this point, some of you may wonder what exactly intellect has to do with faith and love. You might be asking yourself why it isn’t enough to just love God and have faith in Him and why you need “peace of the intellect” anyway. Well, first of all, I should clarify…you are saved by grace alone through faith alone, so I suppose you could appropriately say that faith is all you need (Ephesians 2:8-9). Think about it in terms of a romantic relationship though. You cannot love someone and have any true faith in his or her character until you know them at least a little bit. And the more time you spend with them and the more you get to know them, the greater capacity you have to love and trust them. It’s similar with God. The more you know and understand Him and His ways, the more deeply you can love and trust Him. Profound peace of intellect matters because it is a vehicle that allows you to love God more.
PERFECT PEACE OF EMOTIONS
I think this is the type of peace that comes to mind for most of us when we read or hear Philippians 4:7. Just because it’s the most commonly thought of, doesn’t mean it should be disregarded. It is true; when we pray earnestly to God, He soothes our feelings of fear and dread and replaces them with the peace of Christ. It is true; “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).
“As Your love, in wave after wave, crashes over me, crashes over me…For You are for us, You are not against us…No fear can hinder now the promises You’ve made.” – Bethel, You Make Me Brave
ENDURING PEACE WITH OTHERS
Reading Scripture and praying over it also helps us, as believers, establish enduring peace with others. As Spurgeon noted in his sermon, “With all men, we are at peace. Jesus gives us love even to our enemies. Humility, calmness, and holiness secure this.” That is not to say that as Christians we will never experience a scuffle with another person. Of course we will. In fact, we will quite often, because every single one of us struggles with sin without and within.
The good news though, is that through the peace of Christ, reconciliation is possible. Even following conflict and strife, enduring relational peace is not beyond the reach of God’s restoring hand.
ETERNAL PEACE WITH GOD
If there’s one type of peace that comes through Christ which makes our hearts sing, may this be it. We were once steeped in sin and enemies of God (Colossians 1:21). In His great mercy, He sent His Son to be our ransom…to buy our peace (Mark 10:45, Colossians 1:20). Because of Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection, we have eternal peace with God. We are free from the punishment of sin, for who the Son sets free, is free indeed (John 8:36).
What peace we have in Jesus.
I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Let me know your thoughts on Philippians 4:7 in the comments section below. Also, if you’ve yet to take my survey, you can do so by clicking here. Thanks, friends!