Obedience and the Peace of God – Daily Leader
“Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say rejoice again! May your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is close at hand. Do not worry about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4-7 (NKJV)
“Tits passage has served to comfort those who have read it for thousands of years, and rightly so. It seems like the perfect formula for receiving God’s blessings. Before we get all excited about having all our demands met, we should read the passage again and again, if necessary. Saint Paul does not say that all our requests will be answered. He says we will receive “the peace of God.”
How is it possible that we receive God’s peace without our requests being answered? We have just prayed for these requests in the hope that God will provide them! If we have not received what we have so fervently asked God for, how is it possible to have peace as an answer? A few years ago there was a song called “God Has a Better Yes” (otherwise there should have been). When we present our requests to God, he often has a better “yes” for an answer. Romans 8:26 tells us that we don’t know how to pray as we should, but the Holy Spirit shapes our requests to be in accordance with God’s will. It is this action of the Holy Spirit to enrich our prayers that “surpasses all understanding,” and through his influence we have received “the peace of God,” even though our requests have gone unanswered.
Like much of Scripture, especially the writings of Paul, there is more to come on this issue of peace. In verse 9, Paul gives us the key to finding the “peace of God”: do them, and the God of peace will be with you. To receive the “peace of God which passes understanding,” you and I must follow the path of obedience that Paul teaches. We must imitate Paul, who followed Jesus. When this is our way of life, we will know that the God of peace is with us. His “best yes” became our peace.
Reverend Bobby Thornhill is a retired Methodist preacher.