And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 ESV
The Peace of God Surpasses all Understanding
Peace is not only too wonderful for all human understanding and comprehension, but it is stronger than all understanding of men, it can accomplish far more than any human mind. What human mind, reason, and understanding cannot do the peace of God can accomplish with ease. It keeps the heart in check, it watches the mind, it guards against all mere human affections and sinful thoughts. And this is possible only because the efficacy of this peace is based upon its connection with Jesus Christ. It rests in the Savior of mankind. For through Christ the peace of God, with God, has been gained. If we have a firm stand in Christ Jesus, we shall think and do such things as are pleasing to Him. Krezmann
The peace of God guards our hearts and minds.
Guards is a military term and it reminded me of where Paul urged, “Finally, let the Lord and His mighty power make you strong. Put on God’s whole armor, and you will be able to stand against the devil’s tricky ways (Eph 6:10-11). Stand, then, “having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace” These shoes indicate preparation for war with evil spiritual forces. We are prepared with the gospel of peace. “And He/Christ Jesus “came with the good news of peace to you who were far away and to us who were near, since by one Spirit He enables both to come to the Father” (Eph 2:17).
God is the source and ground for shalom/peace.
Shalom is the Hebrew word translated peace in English. Shalom is a word full of rich meaning of which much is lost in the English translation. Howard Snyder has written books about it. Here’s just a taste of his spiritual insight.
God is the source and ground for shalom.
The Old Testament teaches that God’s plan is to bring a universal peace (shalom) to his creation. This means more than the absence of conflict and immensely more than “inner peace” or “peace of mind. “In the Old testament sense, shalom might be called an ecological concept. It carries the sense of harmony, right relationship and the proper functions of all elements in the environment.
The New Testament builds on the shalom promises of the Old Testament when it speaks of the gospel of peace. The apostle Paul, for instance, tells us that the kingdom of God is “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17). Peace is at the heart of God’s reign.
The New Testament theme of peace ties the kingdom directly to Jesus Christ. To know Jesus is to be in the kingdom. At Jesus’ birth the angels announced “peace on earth” as the meaning of Jesus’ coming (Lk 2:14). Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Is 9:6); like Melchizedek he is “King of Peace” (Heb 7.2). God reigns through Jesus Christ, and the meaning of that reign is peace. Excerpts from: The Kingdom as Shalom Howard Snyder
With the foregoing in mind, let’s consider the Scripture Paul wrote in context, noticing especially what we are to do.
4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5Let your reasonableness/gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 ESV
In order to comprehend the blessing of the peace of God, it helps to apply everything Paul wrote in those few words.
Rejoice in the Lord always.
11Finally, brothers [and sisters], rejoice. Become mature, be encouraged, be of the same mind, be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.
13The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Cor 13:11-13 HCSB
11 Therefore exhort one another, and build each other up, even as you also do. 12 But we beg you, brothers, to know those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you, 13 and to respect and honor them in love for their work’s sake.
13 Be at peace among yourselves. 14 We exhort you, brothers: Admonish the disorderly; encourage the faint-hearted; support the weak; be patient toward all. 15 See that no one returns evil for evil to anyone, but always follow after that which is good for one another and for all.
16 Always rejoice. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Messiah Yeshua toward you. 19 Don’t quench the Spirit. 20 Don’t despise prophecies. 21 Test all things, and hold firmly that which is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.
23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 1 Thessalonians 5:11-23 Cf. Mt5:12; Lk 10:18-21; Php 2:12-18; 1 Peter 4:7-19.
Let your gentleness be evident to all.
1 Remind them to be in subjection to rulers and to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, not to be contentious, to be gentle, showing all humility toward all men. 3 For we were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love toward mankind appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy, he saved us through the mikveh of rebirth and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly, through Yeshua the Messiah our Savior; 7 that being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:1-7
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by his good conduct that his deeds are done in gentleness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t boast and don’t lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition are, there is confusion and every evil deed. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:13-18
8Finally, brothers [and sisters], whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 ESV
Natural man has only man’s wisdom and cannot comprehend the peace of God.
But God has revealed His peace to us by His Spirit. But we have the mind of Christ.
9But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
14But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:9-16 KJV