And the peace of God - That harmonizing of all passions and appetites which is produced by the Holy Spirit, and arises from a sense of pardon and the favor of God;
Shall keep your hearts - Φρουρησει· Shall keep them as in a strong place or castle. Your hearts - the seat of all your affections and passions, and minds - your understanding, judgment, and conscience through Christ Jesus; by whom ye were brought into this state of favor, through whom ye are preserved in it, and in whom ye possess it; for Christ keeps that heart in peace in which he dwells and rules. This peace passeth all understanding; it is of a very different nature from all that can arise from human occurrences; it is a peace which Christ has purchased, and which God dispenses; it is felt by all the truly godly, but can be explained by none; it is communion with the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, by the power and influence of the Holy Ghost.
And the peace of God - The peace which God gives. The peace here particularly referred to is that which is felt when we have no anxious care about the supply of our needs, and when we go confidently and commit everything into the hands of God. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee;” Isaiah 26:3; see the notes at John 14:27.
Which passeth all understanding - That is, which surpasses all that people had conceived or imagined. The expression is one that denotes that the peace imparted is of the highest possible kind. The apostle Paul frequently used terms which had somewhat of a hyperbolical cast (see the notes on Ephesians 3:19; compare John 21:25, and the language here is that which one would use who designed to speak of that which was of the highest order. The Christian, committing his way to God, and feeling that he will order all things aright, has a peace which is nowhere else known. Nothing else will furnish it but religion. No confidence that a man can have in his own powers; no reliance which he can repose on his own plans or on the promises or fidelity of his fellow-men, and no calculations which he can make on the course of events, can impart such peace to the soul as simple confidence in God.
Shall keep your hearts and minds - That is, shall keep them from anxiety and agitation. The idea is, that by thus making our requests known to God, and going to him in view of all our trials and wants, the mind would be preserved from distressing anxiety. The way to find peace, and to have the heart kept from trouble, is thus to go and spread out all before the Lord; compare Isaiah 26:3-4, Isaiah 26:20; Isaiah 37:1-7. The word rendered here “shall keep,” is a military term, and means that the mind would be guarded as a camp or castle is. It would be preserved from the intrusion of anxious fears and alarms.
Through Christ Jesus - By his agency, or intervention. It is only in him that the mind can be preserved in peace. It is not by mere confidence in God, or by mere prayer, but it is by confidence in God as he is revealed through the Redeemer, and by faith in him. Paul never lost sight of the truth that all the security and happiness of a believer were to be traced to the Saviour.
This is an illustration of the way in which we are to work. We must offer men something better than that which they possess, even the peace of Christ, which passeth all understanding. We must tell them of God's holy law, the transcript of His character, and an expression of that which He wishes them to become. Show them how infinitely superior to the fleeting joys and pleasures of the world is the imperishable glory of heaven. Tell them of the freedom and rest to be found in the Saviour. “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst,” He declared. Verse 14. MH 157.1
Lift up Jesus, crying, “Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!” John 1:29, A.R.V. He alone can satisfy the craving of the heart and give peace to the soul. MH 157.2
Of all people in the world, reformers should be the most unselfish, the most kind, the most courteous. In their lives should be seen the true goodness of unselfish deeds. The worker who manifests a lack of courtesy, who shows impatience at the ignorance on waywardness of others, who speaks hastily or acts thoughtlessly, may close the door to hearts so that he can never reach them. MH 157.3
As the dew and the still showers fall upon the withering plants, so let words fall gently when seeking to win men from error. God's plan is first to reach the heart. We are to speak the truth in love, trusting in Him to give it power for the reforming of the life. The Holy Spirit will apply to the soul the word that is spoken in love. MH 157.4
Naturally we are self-centered and opinionated. But when we learn the lessons that Christ desires to teach us, we become partakers of His nature; henceforth we live His life. The wonderful example of Christ, the matchless tenderness with which He entered into the feelings of others, weeping with those who wept, rejoicing with those who rejoiced, must have a deep influence upon the character of all who follow Him in sincerity. By kindly words and acts they will try to make the path easy for weary feet. MH 157.5Read in context »
As sons and daughters of God, Christians should strive to reach the high ideal set before them in the gospel. They should be content with nothing less than perfection; for Christ says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” MYP 73.1
Let us make God's holy word our study, bringing its holy principles into our lives. Let us walk before God in meekness and humility, daily correcting our faults. Let us not by selfish pride separate the soul from God. Cherish not a feeling of lofty supremacy, thinking yourself better than others. “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” Peace and rest will come to you as you bring your will into subjection to the will of Christ. Then the love of Christ will rule in the heart, bringing into captivity to the Saviour the secret springs of action. The hasty, easily roused temper will be soothed and subdued by the oil of Christ's grace. The sense of sins forgiven will bring that peace that passeth all understanding. There will be an earnest striving to overcome all that is opposed to Christian perfection. Variance will disappear. He who once found fault with those around him will see that far greater faults exist in his own character. MYP 73.2Read in context »
And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. Revelation 14:5. SD 348.1
Sin is a hateful thing. It marred the moral beauty of a large number of the angels. It entered our world, and well-nigh obliterated the moral image of God in man. But in His great love God provided a way whereby man might regain the position from which he fell in yielding to the tempter. Christ came to stand at the head of humanity, to work out in our behalf a perfect character.... “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” ... SD 348.2Read in context »
Eternity alone will reveal the good with which such seasons of worship are fraught. 7T 44.1
The life of Abraham, the friend of God, was a life of prayer. Wherever he pitched his tent, close beside it was built an altar, upon which were offered the morning and the evening sacrifice. When his tent was removed, the altar remained. And the roving Canaanite, as he came to that altar, knew who had been there. When he had pitched his tent he repaired the altar and worshiped the living God. 7T 44.2
So the homes of Christians should be lights in the world. From them, morning and evening, prayer should ascend to God as sweet incense. And as the morning dew, His mercies and blessings will descend upon the suppliants. 7T 44.3
Fathers and mothers, each morning and evening gather your children around you, and in humble supplication lift the heart to God for help. Your dear ones are exposed to temptation. Daily annoyances beset the path of young and old. Those who would live patient, loving, cheerful lives must pray. Only by receiving constant help from God can we gain the victory over self. 7T 44.4
Each morning consecrate yourselves and your children to God for that day. Make no calculation for months or years; these are not yours. One brief day is given you. As if it were your last on earth, work during its hours for the Master. Lay all your plans before God, to be carried out or given up, as His providence shall indicate. Accept His plans instead of your own, even though their acceptance requires the abandonment of cherished projects. Thus the life will be molded more and more after the divine example; and “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7. 7T 44.5Read in context »