September 24, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 4:6–7 (NKJV)
In writing to the church of Philippi, Paul makes an astounding statement regarding the peace of God. He describes it as having the ability to guard our hearts and minds. Now the specific Greek word he chooses to use here for “guard” is actually a military term. It’s a term that could be used to describe a group of soldiers assigned to protect a particular objective from hostile invasion.
Maybe there’s a bridge that can’t fall into enemy hands, or a city that’s under siege and must not fall. In the course of warfare, certain things must be defended at all costs in order to be victorious. And that’s what the peace of God is for us as we battle our way through life.
This seems so counter-intuitive—that peace could also possess a war-like quality—but it’s exactly what Paul wants us to understand. God’s peace isn’t passive, it’s powerful—powerful enough to protect our hearts and minds no matter what we’re going through! It’s important for us to grasp this because all too often we doubt the power of peace. After all, we see peace agreements and accords fall apart within hours of being made. The peace of man’s making is fragile, indeed, and this can undermine our confidence in the peace of God. We view it as weak—weaker than all the anxieties arrayed against our hearts and minds.
Again, that’s not only untrue, but it’s a mistake we can’t afford to make. We need to understand the power of God’s peace if we’re to emerge victorious in the conflict that we’ve been called to as Christians. This conflict is spiritual in nature and our adversary, the Devil, is unrelenting in his attacks against us. There will never be a cease fire between the kingdoms of light and darkness. As long as we’re walking on the earth, it will be a spiritual battlefield for us.
But one of the mightiest weapons in our spiritual arsenal is the peace of God, which is powerful enough to repel any onslaught of anxiety aimed at us. God’s peace is as powerful as His power. There’s no question as if it can protect us. The only question is whether or not we’ll access it. The mightiest weapon in any given war doesn’t do any good if it isn’t used, and we need to see God’s peace in the same way. We need to lay hold of it for it to make a difference. How do we do that?
Notice how Paul connects God’s peace with our prayers. It’s only after we’ve prayed and made our requests known to God that the guarantee of His peace is given. In other words, we access the power of God’s peace through prayer; by simply and honestly going to Him and confessing our weakness and asking Him to supply the spiritual firepower we need. That’s how the peace of God which surpasses human reason protects our hearts and minds, no matter what we’re dealing with.
As we encounter the enemy’s attacks and are drawn towards anxiety, may we respond by asking and trusting God to protect us with His peace, which is every bit as powerful as He is!
Pause: What common misunderstanding do we make when it comes to God’s peace?
Practice: Reflect on our responsibility when it comes to experiencing the peace of God. Spend time this week in intentional prayer over things that make you anxious and rob you of peace.
Pray: God of all peace, thank You for loving me and for providing me with Your peace, which is powerful enough to repel any spiritual attack against me. When my heart begins to grow anxious, remind me by Your Spirit to call out to You, to confess my need, and to receive Your protection from your power-filled peace. Amen.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.