March 19, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”—Philippians 4:8–9 (NIV)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “True peace is not merely the absence of tension.” Sadly, we often settle for the absence of outward tension even as an all-out war takes place within. This is not what God desires for us and not what we’re created for.
You see, as Paul wraps up his letter, he reminds the Philippians of an essential aspect of God’s character: He’s “the God of peace.” In the Greek, the word for peace is eirēnēs. It describes wholeness, health, and harmony “when all essential parts are joined together” (HELPS Word Study). Think of it like a beautiful puzzle or Lego set where all the pieces are in their proper place.
This is who God is and what God gifts to those who are in Christ. This is why Christian peace is unique from anything the world has to offer; it’s “the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon).
So, how do we “stand firm in the Lord” (Philippians 4:1 NIV) and walk in this peace that “will guard [our] hearts and [our] minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 NIV)? Paul provides a three-fold strategy to experiencing the peace of God:
Yesterday, we covered prayer. Today’s passage covers meditation when Paul says to “think about such things.” The word there is logizesthe, which means, “to reckon inwardly, weigh, deliberate.” Paul encourages us to meditate on, reflect deeply, and deliberate on all that’s true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, of virtue, and praiseworthy.
Guess what? These things can only be found in Jesus and His Word. In Jesus, we’re set free by the truth (John 8:32, 14:6), we see incomparable nobility and honor (Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 25:31–40; James 2:7), righteousness, and justness (Isaiah 46:13; John 5:30; Romans 3:22, 10:4), purity and perfection (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 1:19, 2:22), we discover the true source of all the loveliness and affection (Matthew 9:36, 11:28–30, 14:14, 15:32; Luke 7:13; John 10:1–18; Romans 5:5–8; Hebrews 2:17), and experience all the excellence and grace of God Almighty (Hebrews 4:15, 7:26). These qualities of Christ can only be seen and experienced through relationship with Him and understood through the devotion to His Word.
Now watch this: The best way to learn how to put everything Paul spent four chapters teaching them and us is through discipleship and imitation within the context of Christian community. It’s vital for us to find someone like Paul in our lives, someone whom we can apply this passage to: “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1 ESV). Find someone who exemplifies what it means, looks like, and sounds like to follow Christ; someone who reflects Jesus.
Friends, peace is available to all of us who are in Christ. It’s found in intimate relationship with Him and His people, in walking with Jesus, in knowing Him deeply, and in living amongst His people.
Pause: What is the key to walking in the peace of God and having it guard your heart and mind in Christ?
Practice: Who’s example can you follow? Who do you know that can be a mentor and help point you toward Jesus? If you have that person, reach out and thank them for how they’ve helped you grow closer to Christ. If you don’t, please reach out to me. I will try my best to help you get connected.
Pray: Father, I ask for Your peace to guard and surround me in Christ Jesus. Keep me centered upon Your truth, Your Word, and Your character. May I continually, daily meditate on You and seek intimacy and closeness to You in all things. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.