By Clarence L. Haynes Jr., Crosswalk.com
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7
Whenever there is unrest, the cry that prevails is the need for peace. For many, peace is simply the absence of conflict. However, there is a peace that God promises to you that has nothing to do with the absence of conflict. In fact, this is a peace that flows even in the midst of conflict. This is known as peace that transcends our understanding.
What we need to know is...how do we access this peace? How can you and I experience the peace of God which transcends all understanding as promised in Philippians 4:7? Let’s unpack what this verse means, and how understanding it can strengthen your journey.
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What Does Philippians 4:7 Mean?
Let’s look at the verse in its entirety:
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Then let’s break it into three phrases for more clarity on the meaning of this verse.
1. And the peace of God…
When you look at the word for peace in the Greek, the word means quietness, rest, or peace. The Amplified Bible uses the term “that peace which reassures the heart.” When you consider these meanings, you understand this peace gives you a sense of quietness or reassurance of heart that God will come through.
Notice also that it’s the peace of God, which means that it reflects who God is. Since God is never rattled or anxious over any situation, he is sharing that part of his character with you.
2. ...which transcends all understanding…
3. ...will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The word for guard here can actually mean a military guard. This peace will work to defend your mind from all invaders. It will take whatever defensive or offensive action is necessary to protect your heart and mind.
Let’s put this all together for a full understanding:
The quietness or rest of God, which surpasses any understanding of your mind or anything you can reason, will watch over your heart and mind and will take whatever measures are necessary to keep them at peace.
Another way to think of it is...when you consider your situation and the peace you have in the midst of it, it won’t make logical sense. You should be worried, but you’re not. You should be panicking, but you’re not. You should have anxiety, but you don’t.
This is the kind of peace God offers. It’s not a passive peace but an active peace that is fighting on your behalf.
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4 Biblical Translations of This Verse
AMP - And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].
CEV - Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.
ERV - And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds.
MSG - Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Context Around This Story in Philippians 4
Paul was writing to the church in Philippi while he was in prison, so I’m sure he had to do what he was encouraging the Philippians to do. This portion of the letter was written as one of Paul’s final exhortations.
Think of it like this: Before I close this letter, here are a few things I want you to remember. Paul had to practice what he preached. With this meaning and context established, let’s now look at how to experience the peace of God which transcends all understanding which is promised in Philippians 4:7.
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What Is Asked of Us to Receive this Transcending Peace?
As it is with many promises of God, there may be some conditions attached. This promise is no different. There is a specific way to get to the peace. The way to this peace is found in the prior verse.
Let’s call this God’s formula for how to experience the ‘peace of God which transcends all understanding’ promised in Phil. 4:7 —
Prayer + Petition + Present Your Requests + Do all three with thanksgiving = Receiving the peace of God.
In prayer, you acknowledge your need of God’s help.
In petition, you make God aware of your situation.
In presenting, you ask God to solve the problem.
In thanksgiving, you acknowledge his response, before the problem is solved.
When these things are present in your life there is no room for anxiety, because God floods your heart and mind with his peace.
10 Life Situations Where God Offers Surpassing Peace
When you are sick, God offers the peace of comfort.
When you are afraid, God offers the peace of his presence.
When you are confused, God offers the peace of his wisdom.
When you have sinned, God offers the peace that comes from his forgiveness.
When you are in financial difficulty, God offers the peace of his provision.
When you are weak, God offers the peace of his strength.
When you are tired, God offers the peace of his rest.
When you are discouraged, God offers the peace of his joy.
When you are rejected, God offers the peace of his love.
When you breathe your last breath on this earth, God offers you the peace of eternal life.
The peace of God that he offers has nothing to do with any circumstance or situation you will ever face in this life. It will cut through every situation and do whatever it must do to guard your heart and mind.
So how can you know and feel peace that’s beyond understanding?
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How to Know and Feel God’s Peace
When you look closely at this verse, you see that the peace of God is really an exchange. You bring all your anxieties, worries, and concerns to the Lord and leave them there (by the way, this is important).
Many people bring their anxieties to God, pray about them, and then pick them up and take them back when they finish praying. You must bring them and leave them. If you do, and you walk away thanking God for the answer (before it comes) God will flood your soul with his peace.
If you walk away and take them up, then you will not experience God’s peace—because you are holding on to the source of your anxiety. God is saying: if you will trust me with your situation, I will supply you with my peace.
Regardless of what you need from God today, give it to him.
Trust that he will answer.
Thank him in advance.
When you do this, God will flood you with his peace. The better part is, you don’t have to try to feel it or even know it. God will give it to you. All you have to do is receive it.
A Prayer for Surpassing Peace
Lord, teach me how to follow your word and bring every care and anxiety to you. Help me to trust that you will answer and that you will handle the situation in a way that is best for me. When I do this then fill me with your peace allowing me to know everything will be alright. Amen.
I hope you have a little better understanding of how to experience the ‘Peace of God which transcends all understanding.’ It’s promised in Phil. 4:7—but it can be lived out in your everyday life.
I would encourage you to get into the habit of bringing every situation to God. When you do, you will begin to walk in this wonderful peace. In the middle of all of life’s chaos, you can face it with great peace knowing God is truly in control.
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