“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:7
Where We Left Off
Peace Offense and Defense
Most of us think of peace as something to attain or get. We have a view of peace as being that “warm and fuzzy” feeling that makes anxiety and uneasiness go away. Peace does do that. But when we look at what peace means it helps us understand the offense and defense of peace.
Don’t Let Your Guard Down
There are a several things that can help us understand how peace can guard us as well as calm us, and over the next few articles, we will look at them individually.
Peace is the loudest when there is nothing said.
In the last blog post, I mentioned how peace speaks the loudest when it says nothing at all. But what do I do when I am uneasy or anxious? This takes us to the next step in making sure peace continues to be a guard over our minds and hearts.
The Battle in the Mind
What got you to this point of uneasiness? Was it a worry, a fear, bad news, uncertainty, or a doubt? You see, these things start in the mind and turn into emotions. Emotions are so strong sometimes they seem to be the dominant force in us. But in reality, it is the thoughts that trigger the emotions to manifest.
Peace of mind starts by controlling what our mind does and how it thinks. For instance, when you worry about something, your brain starts to develop circuits that create a pattern or habit of worry. The same goes with fear, depression, and other issues we all may face from time to time.
Peace guards the mind and heart to prevent this pattern of development. But when the mind steps out of the “parameters” of the fence that is guarding us, it is vulnerable to all kinds of “attacks.” The only way to stay inside of the parameters that guards us is by controlling the mind.
Think on these things.
You see, peace is a result of where you allow your thoughts to go. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.” This scripture implies you can be with someone eating and drinking but you yourself aren’t there. Your mind has taken your heart some place else. Thus, as a man thinketh, so is he.
Don’t let your mind take you away from the peace that you’re allowed to have in any situation. There is always an answer, a solution, a hope, and the promise of a new day. The way we allow peace to stay as a guard over us is by not stepping out of the fence where there is no hope, no solution, and no promise. We keep our mind stayed on the things that brings peace, not destroys it.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things,” Phillippians 4:8. You can think about anything you wish. But what good does it do to think the worst about a given situation? It takes the same amount of energy either way.
James 4:8 says, “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” In other words, make a decision of where you want to take your mind. This takes discipline and is a constant, daily, minute by minute, and moment by moment practice.
I have seen war movies where a soldier’s buddy made the wrong choice to run outside the fox hole (the place of protection) because he panicked in fear. As he runs out of the fox hole, his buddy wants to try and save him. The story ends up with both dead. Peace is like the fox hole, it is guarding us. When we began to panic because the artillery is flying all around us, the worst thing we can do is get out of the fox hole. There is no protection, so stay in the fox hole! Stay with what God says about you and your situation. Think on the things that are there to keep peace as a guard.
When we get down to it, it is about trust.
Where there is love, there is trust, and where there is trust, there is peace. Notice the main scripture. “And the peace of God…” It’s not just any peace we are talking about. It is God’s peace. Our peace is only good for short distances, but it is God’s peace, the peace He gives, that is able to sustain us through the long haul.
We are responsible for our own actions and decisions. God doesn’t make us love people or forgive people. I hear people say, “the devil made me do it.” Well, just as the devil can’t make you do it, neither can God. We are all free agents to choose how we act and think. I have to make choices everyday. Just like the scripture tells us to “think on these things.” You see, when I choose to think on things that are just, that have virtue, or of good report, I am placing myself in a position that God can work on my behalf. But when I do the opposite, I am out of the “fox hole,” all alone with no covering, no answers, and no direction.
Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Based upon this scripture, there are going to be things in life I don’t understand and won’t have the answers to. There are going to be times where things are beyond my understanding. There will be things that may not go my way. But peace isn’t about things going my way, it isn’t about me understanding everything in my life at that moment.
Peace is about being whole whether they go my way or not, or whether I understand things in my life or not. Paul said, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” Philippians 4:11-13.
Peace, real peace, is about being content and remaining calm, knowing that eveything will work out during times in my life that I may or may not understand.
You see, there are many who have everything but have no peace. And there are those who have nothing and lost everything, who equally have no peace. Peace isn’t about what we own or how much we own. Peace isn’t even about relationships we may or may not have with other people. Peace is about being secure in Christ and His righteousness, the Guardian of Peace. Read the main verse again, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Through Christ I can do all things and through Christ, He is the Guardian of my peace.
So peace is offensive and defensive. It can calm us but also guard and protect us from losing ourselves and our character. Peace can guard over us while the arrows of terror seem to be aimed right at us. But I have to stay in the fence. I stay there by keeping my mind focused and fixed.
“You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3
I am faced with two choices everyday: Peace or no peace. Which will you choose?