By T.M. Anderson
"... Let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."--PHIL. 4:6,7.
When we make our requests known unto God by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving we are assured of receiving His peace through Christ Jesus. When we enter into the sacred Presence of the Prince of Peace, we enter into the place of perfect peace. The house of prayer is the sanctuary of peace.
Paul would have us understand that Christ imparts a measure of His own peace to our worshipping hearts when we make everything pertaining to life a matter of prayer. We can readily comprehend the possibilities of prayer when we perceive that mortal man can obtain a measure of the peace which the God of Peace possesses in His divine nature. It is not necessary for the children of God to enter heaven in order to enjoy the priceless possession of peace. Christ wills to give the heavenly heritage of His Peace to all the sons of God. He revealed this truth when He said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."--John 14: 27.
It is obviously true that Jesus has purposed that His own peace shall give His praying and believing people untroubled hearts in this world of trouble. He would have us understand that His own perfect peace shall confirm us in hope, and comfort us in heart. It is apparent that this heavenly heritage of the heart can be obtained in answer to prayer. God's peace is an essential quality of His divine nature. We saw His peace manifested in Jesus Christ, The Prince of Peace. Jesus was never excited and perturbed by the trickery and hypocrisy of the religious leaders of His day. He never lost His spiritual poise when persecuted and slandered by His enemies.
Jesus was always calm and composed in the time of trial. He was never intimidated by the threats of violence. He had an indomitable courage that confounded His critics. He never compromised truth to gain favor with men. His sublime silence in the hour of His trial caused the multitude to marvel. A faithful witness of the Saviour's sufferings said) "... Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow in his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." -- 1 Peter 2:21-23. Peter's testimony enables us to see how the peace of God behaves in this world of turmoil and strife. The quality of God's peace was exemplified in the sinless character and conduct of the Saviour. His life revealed the inherent nature of God's peace which passeth all understanding. God has designed that His peace shall keep our hearts and minds. He would have us understand that His peace shall be our guard when me make our requests known unto Him in prayer. When once we grasp the truth about this, and give it an important place in daily life, we will know what it means to possess the peace of God which passeth all understanding.
The heart is the center of man's spiritual being. It is the citadel of his immortal soul. The ambitions, the aspirations, and the affections reside in the heart. The will, the conscience, and the desires dwell in the heart of man. The Word says, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Prov. 4:23. It is God's purpose to expel the indwelling sin of the soul by the power of the indwelling Spirit, and impart peace to man's heart. "... The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever."--Isa. 32:17.
When Jesus said. "... Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid," He implied that it was possible to be delivered from the perplexing troubles and agitating fears incident to life in this world. The peace of God can banish all our burdensome bewilderments and fill our yearning hearts with comfort and contentment. God is willing to make the citadel of our souls the stronghold of His garrison of peace. He wills to make our hearts an impregnable fortress of spiritual power. His peace will mount guard over our hearts and minds like a sentinel appointed to keep watch over a city. Paul added to our comfort when he said, "... The God of peace shall be with you." -- v.9. He is saying that we can have the peace of God within, and God of peace without.
When Paul speaks of the mind he is evidently speaking of the intellect, the feelings, and the understanding. We have the capacity to think and to reason about the things of God. We are capable of having the truth of God revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. It is not possible to comprehend the peace of God without the help of the Spirit. We cannot analyze the peace of God in the laboratory of the human mind to ascertain its true nature; neither can we discover the component parts of God's peace by the methods of modern science and philosophy. His peace passeth all human understanding. There are times when our minds are sorely perplexed by the problems confronting us in this uncertain world. There are times when we cannot depend on our reasoning to find the answer to life's trials and tribulations. Jesus said, "... In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."--John 16:33.
Life has no fears and death holds no terrors for the soul fortified by the eternal peace of Christ. He is our peace and our protection. The peace received in answer to prayer does not prevent the problems of life from perplexing us; but His peace does prevent these trials from triumphing over us.
There will be times when our feelings will contradict our faith. Sickness can depress our emotions to such an extent that we are disposed to doubt our relationship to Christ. When we are sick, when our nerves are tense, when we are constantly on the verge of tears, our faith will be submerged by our feelings. In such times of trial it seems that the joy of the Lord has departed, and we are tempted to think that for some unknown reason we are suffering the displeasure of the Lord. Our confused state of mind is caused by our illness. The loving Lord has not been grieved by our infirmities of body and mind.
There will be times in life when we seem to stand on the brink of an impassable gulf which the human understanding cannot cross. When we come to the place where reasoning ends and despair begins, we will discover that Christ's protective peace is like a bridge that spans the gulf which our own limited understanding cannot cross. The infirmities of the body can cause the imagination to run wild. Sickness can cause many fantastic ideas and strange impressions to disturb and confuse our minds. Some unhappy people imagine they are being tormented by evil spirits. Some think their nervous disorders are caused by some strange power of Satan. These distressing nervous disorders and groundless fears are caused by their physical condition. A just and holy God will not allow His praying and trusting people to become the unwilling victims of satanic power. He has provided a peace to garrison their hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
A few devout individuals have been tormented by the fear that they have committed the unpardonable sin. Some have been so completely engulfed by this terrifying thought that they have abandoned all hope. These misguided persons have allowed themselves to become victims of their own confused state of mind. The terrifying thought that they have forfeited all hope of salvation exists only in their overwrought imaginations. If these troubled souls will exercise faith in a merciful and faithful Christ, and humbly ask Him for help and hope, their groundless fears will immediately pass away, and the peace of God will comfort their troubled hearts.
The Saviour has paid a great price to redeem us from all iniquity. He will not withhold His saving mercy and grace from any seeking soul longing with all the heart to please Him in all things. The peace of God will prevent us from becoming the hapless prey of our distraught minds if we will pray without ceasing, and continue to believe on the name of the Son of God. When Jesus said, "... Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid," He intended to impress us with the fact that we can prevent the fears and troubles from entering our hearts and minds. He expects us to keep our minds stayed on Him. The inspired prophet saw this fact when he said, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee."--Isa. 26:3. The Psalmist said, "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."--Psa. 55:22.
If we continue to make our requests known unto God by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, He will not suffer us to be moved by the forces of evil in this disquieted earth.