The Christian Lifestyle: Joy and Peace and No Anxiety

This amazing section of Scripture sets forth the choice of Christian believer when faced with challenges, difficult circumstances and daily living. Do we have joy or anxiety? Do we have peace or worry? Do we have confidence or fear?

As we study these important truths, think where Paul wrote this epistle. He was in prison in Rome. Not the best of circumstances, but it brings home the truth that no matter where you are or how big a problem looks in front of you, you can practice these truths as our habitual lifestyle. Joy and peace are never dependent on our circumstances. Paul could have been angry, fearful, depressed, or despondent because in prison.

Philippians 4:4: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.

We may decoupage this verse and hang on our wall, but do we live it?

Rejoice-repeated joy. God says it twice for emphasis and then adds the word always. Our lives should radiate joy from the morning’s first light to when we fall into sleep at night.

I Thessalonians 5:16: Rejoice always.

Rejoice (chairo) is present imperative calling for a lifestyle of joy that emanates from an active choice of our will regardless of whether confronted with joyful or adverse circumstances and/or people.

Repeated joy: Joy is inner gladness, delight, exultation, and rejoicing that is grounded in a close relationship with God. Joy is much deeper than happiness, as joy is a spiritual quality of exuberant gladness that leads one to praise, sing, shout, and leap in great delight. Joy is not affected or changed by outside circumstances. Joy rests upon a firm knowledge of the truth concerning our salvation and all we have been made in Christ, including our future hope of everlasting life with our Lord. Joy is always linked to the grace of God and in the Greek actually comes from the same root as the word “grace” Joy rejoices in the magnificent grace of God and displays an inner awareness that by the grace of God we are who we are. Joy is a manifestation of living in the presence of God and  gives us great strength to do what He has called us to do. Joy is a deep overwhelming jubilation that arises from our unwavering trust and love for God. Joy celebrates everything that God has done for us and everything he promises to do for us in the future. Joy is a true inner celebration and delight in the goodness of God.

Psalm 16:11: You make known to me the path of life;  in your presence there is fullness of joy;  at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

To rejoice in Him is to exult in Him, not as a dim abstraction, but as a living Person—so near and so loving, so generous and so powerful, that we ever turn to Him in admiring grateful homage, coveting His presence as its sunshine, and reveling in fellowship with Him. 

Psalm 4:7: You have put more joy in my heart…

Psalm 63:7: In the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy

Is it rash to say, in fine, that the churches of Christ are strangers by far too much to this repeated charge of the apostle—that the current ideas of Christ are too historic in their character, and want the freshness of a personal reality—that He is thought of more as a being in remoteness and glory, far above and beyond the stars, than as a personal and sympathizing Saviour—that salvation is regarded more as a process a man thankfully submits to, than a continuous and happy union with Jesus— and that therefore, though Christians may run and are not weary, and may walk and are not faint, they seldom mount up with wings as eagles, and then, if they do, is not their flight brief and exhaustive?

Joy is always centered in the Lord Jesus Christ. Without Jesus Christ, there is no joy.

Luke 2:10,11: And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 

Jesus Christ is the Father’s plan for great joy. He is great joy, great light, great calm, the great King, the great voice, the great commandment, the great gain and the great, the Son of the highest.

John 16;22-24:  So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. 23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Our joy is to be full like Jesus’s joy.

Hebrews 12:2: Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Paul: 2 Corinthians 7:4: In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy

Jesus was full of joy even as he hung on the cross in extreme agony. Joy sees the bigger picture. Joy sees the future as bright as the promises of God.

Joy is such a vitally important factor in believers’ spiritual stability. It is important to understand that this is not “joy” as the world defines joy, envisioning it as an emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires. This secular definition hardly describes Christian joy which is not a feeling, but it is the deep-down confidence that God is in control of everything for the believer’s good and His own glory, and thus all is well no matter the circumstances.

                                                                                                                                                          If believers are to represent heaven to earth, then joy should be one of our trademarks, for in Christ’s presence is fullness of joy. We obtain (and maintain) this joy by rejoicing in the right object. We rejoice not in our situation but in our Savior, not in circumstances, but in Christ.

It does not say just rejoice. It says to rejoice in the Lord. We live in the sphere of the Lord. This enables us to rejoice repeatedly,

Rejoice in the Lord; don’t rejoice in the world; don’t rejoice in our circumstances; don’t’ rejoice in our political affiliation, don’t rejoice in our worldly accomplishments, don’t rejoice in our education. The Lord is the immutable (unchanging), inexhaustible source of joy, and it is only by maintaining close union with Him that a Christian will be able to experience this supernatural joy.

Rejoice in the sphere of the Lord.  It’s only joy in Him that remains. If you get your joy any other place, something can take it away.

Joy in him is full, and it is complete.

The joy of the Lord is a thermostat, not a thermometer. A thermometer registers conditions; a thermostat controls them. Happiness is related to the thermometer. If your hap is good, you’re happy; if your hap is bad, you’re unhappy. And, your condition of happiness goes up and down with your circumstances (like a thermometer). But, joy remains constant, because Jesus is constant (He is our “Thermostat” that never changes – Heb 13:8).

You know what most of us need to learn to do? Practice the presence of God—I mean, to understand that He is always there (Heb 13:5-6) and, in no matter what circumstance we find ourselves, not to become a thermometer, but to set the thermostat. 

 Habakkuk 3:17-18: Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:”—that is, it’s a time of economic depression and deprivation—”yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” And friend, if you don’t have any joy, it’s because Jesus is not real to you. I don’t care how sick you may be; I don’t care what agony there may be. There is Jesus, and He is always there. You can set the thermostat.

Joy is not an accident of temperament or an unpredictable providence; joy is a matter of choice.

“The Lord is the only sure, reliable, unwavering, unchanging source of joy. Spiritual stability is directly related to how a person thinks about God. No one has stated that truth more clearly than A. W. Tozer. In his classic book on the attributes of God, The Knowledge of the Holy, Tozer wrote” What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God, just as her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid, for her silence is often more eloquent than her speech. She can never escape the self-disclosure of her witness concerning God. Were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question, “What comes into your mind when you think about God?” we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man.”

Impossible situation in Philippi-Would you rejoice? Acts 16:19-32

In Prison-rejoicing and singing.

Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS-No exceptions. Always-at all times. Ephesians 5:20-Give thanks always.

Philippians 4:5: Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;

Amplified: Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is a coming soon]

Lightfoot: Let your gentle and forbearing spirit be recognized by all men. The judgment is drawing near.

Wuest: Let your sweet reasonableness, your forbearance, your being satisfied with less than your due, become known to all men. The Lord is near [in that His coming may occur at any moment]. 

Reasonableness-Gentle (Forbearing)  (epieikes) stands for the spirit or attitude that does not seek to retaliate. It denotes one’s willingness to give and take instead of always standing rigidly on one’s rights to the end they become moral wrongs. This is the person who is yielding his rights and is therefore gentle, kind, courteous, tolerant or as one has described it exhibits a “sweet reasonableness” or an ability to extend to others the kindly consideration one would wish to receive themselves. The forbearing person is not spineless but selfless. Reasonable not rigid.

It also describes what is proper or fair, or what is kind and reasonable, especially in the form of considerateness and as opposed to the harshness of law. It is opposed to that rigor which never bends nor deviates. It is slow to take offence, it is swift to forgive it.

Epieikes defines the individual who knows when it is actually wrong to apply the strict letter of the law, knows how to forgive when justice would otherwise give then the right to condemn, knows how to make allowances, knows when not to stand upon his or her rights, knows how to temper justice with mercy and remembers that there are more important things in world than rules and regulations. 

Be known  (ginosko) speaks of knowledge that goes beyond the merely factual. Paul is saying that others are to realize our yieldedness “experientially.” We are to be sure that they realize by seeing us in action that we are a people who do not cling to our rights as do non-Christians. The aorist imperative is a command calling for this to be done now and to be done effectively so that others come to know by their experience (by their interactions with you!). The NET Bible conveys this sense rendering it “Let everyone see your gentleness”

Kenneth Wuest comments that “The word known refers to knowledge gained by experience. The exhortation is therefore, “Do not keep this sweet reasonableness in your heart. Let it find expression in your conduct. Thus others will experience its blessings also.”

The Lord is near-James 5:8,9: You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 

Thayer defines eggus as “near,” adding that it speaks of “things imminent and soon to come to pass.”

We live every moment like his coming is imminent.

Philippians 3:20: But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 

Luke 12:35: “Stay dressed for action[f] and keep your lamps burning,  40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

I Thessalonians 1:10: And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

Living with anticipation of Christ’s return allows us to live with joy and gentleness, forgiveness and patience

Philippians 4:6: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 

Wuest: Stop perpetually worrying about even one thing, but in everything by prayer whose essence is that of worship and devotion and by supplication which is a cry for your personal needs, with thanksgiving let your requests for the things asked for be made known in the presence of God.

Passion: Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, 

The Greek places nothing at the beginning of the sentence for emphasis. The verb be anxious is present imperative which is a command, not just an exhortation and not something optional that would be nice to do if we decide to do it. The present tense in fact calls for this to be the habitual practice in the life of believers. The negative preceding the command means they are to stop doing something, implying they are already worrying! Paul says in essence

“Stop worrying and do not under any circumstances worry about anything.”

Matthew 6:24ff

Be anxious (merimnao from merimna = anxious care from meris = part, in turn from the verb merizo = to distract, to divide, to draw different directions – which is exactly what anxiety does to most of us!) expresses a strong feeling for something or someone, often to the point of being burdened. Although this can be a “positive” concern, in most of the NT uses it refers to an anxious concern, based on apprehension about possible danger or misfortune, and so it means to be worried about, to be anxious about, to be apprehensive (viewing the future with anxiety or alarm), to be unduly concerned, to be burdened with anxious care or cumbered with many cares and in simple terms to worry.

2 Samuel 7:10 “I will also appoint a place for My people Israel and will plant them, that they may live in their own place and not be disturbed (Hebrew = ragaz = be agitated, quiver, quake, perturbed; Lxx = merimnao) again, nor will the wicked afflict them any more as formerly.

Worry has a fascinating etymology which can be traced back to the Old High German “wurgen” which means “to strangle” which is what worry does to our joy! Webster adds that in “dialect British” worry means to “choke” or to “strangle”. The first definition of “worry” in Webster is “to harass by tearing, biting, or snapping especially at the throat”, and then “to subject to persistent or nagging attention or effort” and “to afflict with mental distress or agitation = make anxious”. (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. 10th ed. Springfield, Mass)

Merimnao in the present context means to have an anxious concern, based on apprehension about possible danger or misfortune and is characterized by extreme uneasiness of mind or brooding fear about some contingency and emphasizes a fear of frustration, failure or disappointment.

The idea inherent in merimnao is of an individual attempting to carry the burden of the future by themselves and expressing an unreasonable anxiety (especially) about things over which one has no control.

Vine writes that “merimnao denotes to have a distracting care. This is to be absent entirely from the believer. Anxiety harasses the soul; it enfeebles, irritates, ruffles the temper, is a sign of mistrust and of failing obedience, and distracts the mind from communion with God.

I Peter 5:6-8: Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

The word “casting” in the Amplified Version means: to throw, hurl or cast with a sudden motion; to throw something suddenly and completely on something else. It is not a timid casting of our cares upon Him or an apologetic casting in the sense of “could you please take a care or two from me God, if you have time?” It is an abrupt and swift hurling, like you were throwing a fastball or hurling a hot potato out of your hands. God does not want us to mess around with a half-hearted effort in this casting. You are not to hang on to one single anxious care, but forcefully throw every one of them upon Him. Throw all not just some of our anxieties on God. God commands us not to carry one anxiety on our shoulders. This takes humility. Want to not get devoured by the enemy because we are not wallowing in worry or anxiety.

Guzik has an interesting insight stating that “Undue care is an intrusion into God’s arena. It makes us the father of the household instead of being a child.”

From the spiritual point of view, worry is wrong thinking and wrong feeling about circumstances, people, and things. Worry is the greatest thief of joy. It is not enough for us, however, to tell ourselves to “quit worrying” because that will never capture the thief. Worry is an “inside job,” and it takes more than good intentions to get the victory. The antidote to worry is the secure mind: “And the peace of God… shall keep [garrison, guard like a soldier] your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7). When you have the secure mind, the peace of God guards you (Phil. 4:7) and the God of peace guides you (Phil. 4:9). With that kind of protection—why worry?

Worry is excessive concern over the affairs of life. The key obviously is the word “excessive.” Worry happens when you are so concerned about the problems of life that you can think of nothing else. It is an all-consuming feeling of uncertainty and fear. And it is a sin. Worry is a sin for two reasons: First, because it displaces God in your life. When you commit the sin of worry, you are living as though God did not exist. And you are living as though you alone can solve your problems. Second, because it distracts you from the things that really matter in life. As long as you are worrying, you can’t do anything else. You are strangled by worry.

Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all others thoughts are drained. – Arthur Somers Roche

2 cares choke the word out of you

Matthew 13:22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. Luke 8:14: And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.

Jesus divided these anxious cares and worries into two categories in the parable of the sower and the seed. The first category is the anxious cares of this age (Matthew13:22), which are worries about the current state of affairs in the world. Today it would be all the negatives we hear on the nightly news about the violent and horrible events of this age. Threats of terrorism, violent wars, disease outbreaks, environmental disasters, food shortages, and political corruption are just a few of the worries and cares of this age. The second category is the anxious cares of this life (Luke 8:14), which are daily worries and cares that come up in our personal lives. These are cares about our finances, jobs, relationships, food, clothing, health, and all problems that may arise from our day to day living. Jesus Christ clearly taught that these anxious worries choke the Word of God out of your mind and heart so you do not bear any fruit for God in your life. You cannot think, meditate, and grow in the word of God when these anxious cares and worries are dominating your thoughts for they crowd out the Word of God in your mind. The word “choke” in this parable means: to so press, throng and crowd to the point that it suffocates completely the life out of something. Worry always suffocates the growth of the Word of God in your life. This is why Jesus Christ spent so much time teaching His disciples that they cannot let worry and anxiety dominate their thoughts, if they expect to love and serve God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. We are to cast and throw every care upon our loving and mighty God, whether it is a care of this age or a care of our life.

Ray Stedman

I think there is nothing more prevalent in the age in which we live than the increasing problem of tension. It isn’t for nothing that the ulcer has become the badge of modern life. Worry is a powerful force to disintegrate the human personality, leaving us frustrated, puzzled, baffled, bewildered by life. Sometimes you hear the expression: “sick with worry”, and anyone who has experienced it knows it is no empty expression. You can be literally sick with worry. Paul’s answer to this is a blunt, “Have no anxiety about anything.” These are not just Paul’s words. This reflects the position of scripture from Genesis through Revelation. The entire Word of God is a constant exhortation to believers to stop worrying. It is everywhere forbidden to those who believe in Jesus Christ, and I think one of the most serious areas of unbelief is our failure as Christians to face the problem of worry as sin. Because that is what it is. Worry is not just something everyone does and therefore it must be all right. It is definitely labeled a sin in the scriptures, and the exhortation is everywhere: stop it! Have no anxiety about anything.

In everything by prayer and supplication- Everything (whatever the matter) (pas) means everything without exception! Not just those “crisis” prayers. No time, no subject, no place is off limits for prayer. In everything; in each emergency, little or great, as it arises, pray; cultivate the habit of referring all things, great or small, to God in prayer.

Barclay comments:

It has been beautifully put: “There is nothing too great for God’s power; and nothing too small for his fatherly care.”

No care but all prayer.
No anxiety but much joyful communion with God.

Spurgeon goes on to exhort us…

Carry your desires to the Lord of your life, the guardian of your soul. Go to Him with two portions of prayer and one of fragrant praise. Do not pray doubtfully but thankfully. Consider that you have your petitions, and, therefore, thank God for His grace.

Henrietta Mears – Yes, the way to be anxious about nothing is to be prayerful about everything. The prayer of faith must be a prayer of thanksgiving because faith knows how much it owes to God. Put your prayers into God’s hands and go off and leave them there. Do not worry about them.

Supplication  (deesis from deomai = to want, to beg, to pray) refers to making known of one’s specific needs, even conveying a sense of an urgent request to meet that need.

Deesis is used in the NT for prayer for particular benefits and gives prominence to one’s personal needs. Deesis emphasizes the fact that the suppliant is in need of the thing ask for

Dwight Pentecost adds that…

Supplication concerns a specific request for special needs. Paul is saying that to be relieved of worry we ought to move in our praying from the general to the specific. How often we pray, “God, bless me today. Bless my loved ones”; and that is as specific as we ever get. The antidote to worry is to recognize a specific need, realize that it is God’s responsibility, and charge God with the responsibility. That is how worry can be relieved. This will work for every area of a believer’s life — not just his spiritual life, but his business life, his financial responsibilities, his home, his children, everything. Put yourself in a place of dependence upon God, and expect Him to do what He has promised. Then be specific about what is worrying you, and expect Him to do something about that very thing. (Pentecost, J. D. The Joy of Living: A study of Philippians. Kregel Publications)

When Franklin Graham, the oldest son of Billy and Ruth Graham, was living a wild and dangerous life, Ruth found herself torn apart by worry. One night while she was abroad, she suddenly awoke in the middle of the night worrying about Franklin. A current of worry surged through her like an electric shock. She lay in bed and tried to pray, but she suffered from galloping anxiety, one fear piling upon another. She looked at the clock and it was around three o’clock. She was exhausted, yet she knew she would be unable to go back to sleep. Suddenly the Lord seemed to say to her, “Quit studying the problems and start studying the promises.” She turned on the light, got out her Bible, and the first verses that came to her were these, Philippians 4:6-7. As she read those words, she suddenly realized that the missing ingredient in her prayers had been thanksgiving. “…in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

She put down her Bible and spent time worshipping God for who and what he is. She later wrote, “I began to thank God for giving me this one I loved so dearly in the first place. I even thanked him for the difficult spots which had taught me so much. And you know what happened? It was as if someone turned on the light in my mind and heart, and the little fears and worries that had been nibbling away in the darkness like mice and cockroaches hurriedly scuttled for cover. That was when I learned that worship and worry cannot live in the same heart. They are mutually exclusive.”

Requests  (aitema from aiteo = ask for with urgency to the point of demanding, even as demanding one’s share) are petitions that in general are from one who is in a lesser position than the one to whom the petition is made. Vincent says that aitema refer to the specific details of supplication.

What has been requested or demanded

Be made known is a command (imperative) in the present tense (continually do this, make it the habit of your life). In other words keep praying and don’t lose heart. Jesus gave a similar exhortation to His disciples “telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart” Luke 18:1-6

Paul is saying, in effect, that prayer is a conversation with, a plea directed to, a request made of, information given to God Who can hear, know, understand, care about and respond to the concerns that otherwise would sink you in despair.

To God (in the presence of God) (immediately before God) is the preposition pros which as noted above conveys the idea of motion toward or of being immediately before another. Pros depicts us as “face to face” with God!

This picture reminds one of King Hezekiah who upon receiving a potentially anxiety producing letter from the Assyrians (in which Israel’s destruction was predicted)

“took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it, and he went up to the house of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD

Focus on God not the anxieties. .WORRY FORCES US TO FOCUS ON THE WRONG THINGS

Did you know that there’s no higher expression of faith than thanksgiving, and worry is the highest expression of unbelief? Now, you think about it: Thanksgiving is the highest expression of faith; worry is perhaps the greatest expression of unbelief. 

Philippians 4:7: And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.   

NLT: If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Peace, shalom, means: wholeness, completeness and soundness; it’s a harmony and unity of heart and soul because of a restored relationship with God, our Father; it is an inward and outward tranquility, a quiet assurance and a complete well-being where nothing is lacking or broken. Peace is the symphony and harmony of life, in which you enjoy all that is good because of your right relationship with God. It’s the freedom from being disturbed, agitated, stressed and troubled. It is the absence of discord, strife, and anxiety. It is to be at ease and calmly unaffected by circumstance. Peace is the highest measure of contentment, joyfulness, happiness, and satisfaction in life. There is absolute security, safety, and victory at the center of peace. It is the absence of inward conflict, condemnation, and torment, but rather a state of rest, calmness, and quiet confidence.

         True peace is oneness and complete unity with Yahweh-Shalom, where there is a wonderful mutual sharing of the enjoyment of that bond and relationship. Yahweh-Shalom is the origin and source of all peace and we have and enjoy peace because of our relationship and oneness with Him. His peace is our peace. His wholeness is our wholeness. His soundness is our soundness. His completeness is our completeness. No man or woman can ever have peace without a vibrant, living fellowship and right relationship with Yahweh-Shalom. You can’t buy peace, you can’t medicate peace, and you cannot manufacture peace. You cannot produce peace from some mental gymnastic exercise or self-help book or seminar. It is impossible to have peace apart from Yahweh-Shalom. There is and never will be true peace for the unbeliever.

Isaiah 57:19-21 (New Living Translation):

I will comfort those that mourn bringing words

of praise to their lips. May they have abundant

peace, both near and far, says the Lord, who

heals them.

But those who still reject me are like the

restless sea, which is never still but continually

churns up mud and dirt.

There is no peace for the wicked, says my God.

Isaiah 59:8 (NIV):

The way of peace they do not know; there is

no justice in their paths. They have turned them                       

into crooked roads; no one who walks in them

will know peace.

Surpasses  (huperecho from hupér = above, over + écho = have) means literally to hold above and in context means to transcend the reach of man’s ability to comprehend. This word speaks of that which is superior to or of surpassing and exceptional value.

Huperecho is in the present tense which signifies that this peace is continually a peace that baffles men’s futile attempts to explain it or rationalize it. Why? Because it is supernatural peace. God’s peace continually stands out and is superior and more excelling than the world’s peace or any so called peace we might be able to well up because of ”positive thinking” etc. It is beyond our ability to produce it by our own intellect.

Comprehension  (nous) describes the God given faculty of perceiving and understanding and is the channel through which truth reaches the heart.

This peace doesn’t just surpass the understanding of the worldly man but surpasses all understanding. Even the godly man can’t comprehend this peace. Paul is promising something that is not humanly explicable — that a man surrounded by care and anxiety and harassment and concern can still live with the tranquility of God in his soul! Who can understand this great promise!

William Barclay says surpasses all human comprehension “means that the peace of God is so precious that the human mind, with all its skill and all its knowledge, can never produce it. It can never be of our contriving; it is only of God’s giving. The way to peace is in prayer to entrust ourselves and all whom we hold dear to the loving hands of God.”

Shall guard The picture of phroureo is to protect by a a Roman guard or soldier holding his weapon on guard duty, either to prevent hostile invasion or to keep the inhabitants of a besieged city from flight (ponder this last aspect in the context of the effect that “anxiety” often has on one’s psyche – don’t you sometimes feel like you just want to take flight or run away?) The armed guard is walking back and forth in front of an open gate so that no one can enter.

We need never worry or be anxious about any circumstance or problem we face, for we have a Heavenly Father to whom we can take every need and difficulty to in prayer.  In the Greek, the word “worry” describes the state of the mind of being pulled apart and divided by anxious cares and worries. It is characterized by an extreme uneasiness of the mind and a brooding fear about something, and emphasizes a fear of misfortune, failure, disappointment, and disaster. Worry denotes a lack of focus and trust in God and an endless running of the mind in all directions. God says instead of worrying or being anxious, bring the problem to Him in earnest and thankful prayer. We should worry about nothing and pray about everything. That is the lifestyle of the believer.

The word “prayer” in the Greek means: a prayer to God of worship, adoration, and devotion remembering His character, His attributes, His names, His goodness, and who He is. It is a prayer where our heart is focused on His greatness and majesty. It is a prayer where our heart remembers all the great qualities of the goodness of God and overflows with thankfulness. It is from this heart of love that we make specific detailed requests for our personal needs and the needs of others. Then God promises that His awesome, wonderful peace will mount and keep constant guard over our hearts and minds as we rest in our union in Christ Jesus. No fear, no worry, and no anxiety can penetrate and disturb our heart or mind, for the peace of God is guarding our heart. 

The word “guard” in the Greek was a military term for the guarding of a city by a military garrison that kept constant watch to protect and secure the city from the hostile invasion of any enemy. This peace of God protects and guards our heart like a military garrison, keeping it calm, tranquil, and without agitation from any outside influence. When we love God with all our heart, seek Him in prayer in all of life’s situations, and walk in our sonship rights and privileges in Christ Jesus, the peace of God will overflow in our heart and act as a strong barrier against every fiery dart of the wicked one. The peace of God is the impenetrable barrier, the unbreakable wall, and the protective watchtower against every device of the devil designed to distract and divide our mind from serving the one true God.  The peace of God enables us to live above the fear and anxiety of the world and enjoy our reconciliation with our Heavenly Father, even when the terror of this age rages around us.

Shortly before He was crucified, Jesus told His disciples

John 14:27 (Amplified): Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful (Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled)”

We have the peace of Jesus Christ. We never need to be fearful, intimidated or unsettled.

The result of believing prayer is that the peace of God will stand like a sentinel on guard upon our hearts. The way to peace is in prayer to entrust ourselves and all whom we hold dear to the loving hands of God.

Isaiah 26:3: You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Colossians 3:15: And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 

Romans 5:1:2: Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith[b] into this grace in which we stand, and we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God. 

The Christian believer’s life should be marked with the qualities of joy and peace. Joy and Peace fruit of spirit, supernatural inside characteristics of the believer. Worry and anxiety have no place in a believer’s life. They are the fruit of unbelief. Each day we have a choice. Joy or anxiety? Peace or worry. Faith or fear. God commands us to live free of worry and anxiety and have great joy and peace in Him.

About goodnessofgod2010

author, attorney
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