Passing All Understanding
There’s a great deal of anxiety going in our world. So much is this the case that many insist that it is a more anxious time than ever. Problems grow more complicated and the evidence is that evil men and seducers are waxing worse and worse. As we move toward the consummation of history, the Bible promises that men’s hearts will fail them for fear and for looking at those things which are coming upon the earth. We know both from observation and our own personal experience that even Christians are not immune to the predations of anxious concern. Yes, from all observations, people everywhere are worried about everything. They are living on the edge.
Realizing this to be the case, we notice with interest that the Bible makes a wonderful promise to each of us who live in this troubled world. It says, “And the peace of God , which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7). Discovering this verse is a very salutary experience for one who is caught in the briars of anxiety or attempting to make it through the slough of despond. How happy it is for us to be reminded that there is something called “the peace of God, which passes all understanding,” along with the promise that this very comfort is sent to us by the God who knows it all.
Therefore, when we see the Bible promise the peace of God, we are sure to ask the question, “What does it take to know such peace?” “I am beset by a hundred problems and a thousand difficulties, how can I possibly know peace in my circumstances in a time like this?”
To answer that question, we must note that the peace of God does not come from normal sources. Rather, it passes all understanding. Therefore, let us learn that happiness in life does not grow out of the traditional sources suggested by the counselors of this world. It does not come from physical health. It does not come from financial wealth. It is not the necessary product of interesting friends. Human achievement is to be desired, but it does not necessarily produce the satisfaction that sustains us in trouble.
Everyone in life was, is, or will be sick. Everyone knows what it means to be broke, or soon will. Everyone experiences some kind of rejection. It is a non-avoidable part of the human condition. The person, therefore, who promises miraculous answers to everything is himself on the way to the depression that characterizes the self-deceived. No, we all need the peace of God which passes all understanding or we are miserable people indeed. From whence does it come?
The peace of God, first of all, comes from the knowledge of sins forgiven. The universal problem of the world is summed up in the analysis which says, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Every natural man and woman in the world, therefore, is in a state of estrangement from God. He is living in rebellion against the will of God and holds within his heart resentment against all of the initiatives of heaven. He is living in sin and that is the core of his problem. Sin brings doubt, discouragement, despondency, despair and, finally, death. Every sinner is dead in transgressions and sins and cannot hope for peace. “There is no peace, says my God, to the wicked” (Isa. 57:21).
The first step to peace, therefore, is the forgiveness of sins. Until a person knows Jesus Christ as personal Savior, there is no sense talking to him about anything else. As the basis of any good thing in life, he must, first of all, believe the Gospel and come to know God’s Son as his very own. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31) is the only valid starting place for real peace.
When I believe the Gospel, I become a new creature and, therefore, the whole basis of my relationship with God has been transformed. I once was a stranger and now I am a son.
Let us then remember that peace comes from the knowledge of the indwelling Christ. Jesus Christ lives within the life of everyone who believes in Him. Therefore, that person is seated in the heavens with Christ and will never perish. He never will be without the daily presence and the intervening power of Christ Himself. “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27) is the great description of the believing Christian. How can a person be lonely or disquieted when his personal life is inextricably involved with the life of Jesus Christ. The doctrine of the indwelling Christ is, unfortunately, neglected in too many pulpits today.
Peace, then, comes also from the promise that God will work it out in my life. Because God is working it out, “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Nothing, therefore, in the life of the Christian should ever be seen as a tragedy. For the Christian, every event of life is allowed by God, it is a part of the divine plan. Therefore, the Bible is filled with promises to the believer, such as, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). Responding to all of this, the Apostle Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).
The question remains, “What then shall I do to experience, to enjoy this peace?” In response, the Scripture says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil. 4:6). Here the word “anxious” is marimadzo, which means “to go to pieces.” Never throw up your hands and say it can’t be done, but rather, refuse to become anxious. What is the alternative then to anxiety? It is “prayer and supplication with thanksgiving.”
Here we immediately see that prayer should never be a desultory or customary practice. Rather, prayer is a vital conduit of our communication with God and a living connection by which He answers prayer.
Then comes thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is really the great act of faith whereby we know that we have those things for which we pray before we have them. Yes, prayer is that moment in which we can safely put before God every one of our concerns. Then, God, in effect, says, “Worry no more, I will take care of these things.” There is nothing like the powerful, loving Father of us all taking over our burdens and working them out with His Almighty hand.
Out of this then comes the peace of God which passes all understanding. Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God. Now, as a consequence, our timorous hearts are flooded with that precious personal possession, the peace of God which passes all understanding.
Are you in trouble, beset by the concerns of this world? The answer that we must all give is, “Yes, of course.” Indeed, man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. Manifold temptations and testings are something of which all are partakers. The peace of God is, therefore, not a limited commodity, but it is imperative as a way of life for us all.
Trust God today, then, for His peace and remember it passes all understanding. Human verification will follow, but it all begins as a resource sent from heaven. There is no better gift for the Christian than to have this peace poured into his soul.
The world will continue to live in its present tribulation. In fact, it is moving speedily toward The Great Tribulation. The world will drown in sorrow for want of the peace of God. You and I, however, have this peace which will be ours through the vicissitudes of time and then through all of eternity. Indeed, the most wonderful thing in the world is to possess the peace of God.
From the writings of Dave Breese
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