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“And the peace of God that is better than anything the mind can comprehend will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

(Philippians 4:7)

In this world of chaos “with devils filled,” how often we yearn for this peace but find it fleeting. Yet, the answer is not to doubt God’s promises, but to seek them out, trusting in God’s hand to provide them. Oh, Heavenly Father, bring this peace that we desperately need in these chaotic hours.

Yet, notice too, as Paul writes, the purpose of this peace. We often speak about the “peace that passes all understanding,” but usually we stop there. That is not where Paul stops, though. Paul goes on to say that this peace is designed to protect our hearts and minds. And thus, when we forego this peace, it is fair to say that we allow our hearts and minds to be exposed to attack. How defenseless we often leave ourselves.

Thus, as you are tempted to fill your days, ask yourself what is needful for your spirit as well as for your flesh. If you are honest, you will recognize that we tend to spend far more time caring for the things of this world that will perish than that which is eternal. When we pursue the things of this world, the best peace we will find is that peace that the world can offer…which honestly, isn’t very much. But when we pursue the things of God we will find God’s peace, a peace that is infinitely greater than what our minds can even begin to comprehend.

Grace and Peace to you…

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

(Philippians 1:2)

When you greet others who are Christians, how do you greet them? Do you have a sincere wish for them that God would give them grace and peace or do you greet them begrudgingly, perhaps because of something that has happened between the two of you in the past? Or, do you even think about these things at all? Do you just say, “Hello, how are you?” and then just keep on walking satisfied in the pleasantries but not really caring about the answer to your question. Isn’t it interesting, so often, that we want people to be genuinely concerned about our welfare or about what we happen to be doing but don’t have the same concern about our neighbor…even that neighbor who happens to be a believer in Jesus Christ.

Paul sets for us a model that would serve us well to follow. May God give you grace and peace. The idea expressed by Grace as Paul presents it is that of God having a disposition of goodwill toward you, that he might bless your steps and your actions and that the world indeed would see God’s hand in your life. This is not a health-wealth or prosperity Gospel, though. For the evidence of God’s grace is not seen in money or physical well-being, Paul presents the evidence of God’s grace as peace in your life. Peace denotes a resting in God’s hand of mercy. It is a deliverance from the Evil One and his power. And later in this letter, Paul will refer to this peace as that which “passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), because it is a peace that can be had despite the fact that you are facing trials in this life. Such peace, such resting in God’s mercy, is the result of God’s gracious hand upon your life (and while not always, often abundant wealth is a sign of God’s judgment…).

Yet, Paul also makes it clear where this grace and peace come from…God. Grace and peace are not found in wealth, careers, politics, sports teams, fancy cars, electronics, entertainment, computers, movies, status, fame, or anything else we might think of that captures our attention (and sadly also, our hearts). True grace and peace come from the hand of God and thus we should seek it in no other place but in God alone. How often we fall into the trap of looking elsewhere. John the Apostle closed his first letter with the words, “protect yourself from idols.” Indeed, how we need to here those words over and over again. And while we do that, may we train ourselves to take a genuine interest in one another’s welfare and the condition of their soul. Such is the heart behind the command to love your neighbor as yourself.