Courage for life Blog

How to Experience the Peace of God

March 13, 2024

What makes you anxious or generates unwanted stress in your life? If you know God through faith in Jesus, you have access to the peace of God. The problem is not that God’s peace is not available to you but that you may not be aware of how to experience the peace of God in your life.

God knows that you have needs. You are a finite, limited being created in His image. You have a choice to worry, be stressed, and be anxious about your needs, or make your requests known to God, who is infinite, unlimited, and all-powerful. The apostle Paul provides instructions in Philippians 4:6-9 about how to experience the peace of God.

First, Philippians 4:6 is a command, not a suggestion.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6

Often, worry comes from a mentality that you are fully responsible and independent from God to figure out how to meet your own needs. Yet, God desires for you to live fully dependent on Him, who is responsible for meeting your needs. If God is truly the provider He claims He is and has all His creation at His disposal to provide for your needs, why worry?

In fact, when Jesus, who is God on earth, taught about meeting your needs in Matthew 6:25-34, He stated that “he will certainly care for you” and “already knows all your needs” (reference Matthew 6:30, 32). Your responsibility is to “seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he [God] will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33).

Why do you and so many other followers of Jesus not consistently experience God’s peace in our lives?

According to the apostle Paul, it is because you worry and don’t pray about everything. You don’t talk to God about all your needs; not just the “BIG” needs, like health and jobs, but all your needs. According to Jesus, it is because you worry and don’t seek God’s kingdom above all else.

Not worrying and praying about everything will allow you to experience the peace of God in your life. You must choose to place the responsibility of providing for your needs on God. You make your requests known to God and fully expect God to respond. You also spend your mental and emotional energy expressing thankfulness to God for all He has done (reference Philippians 4:6b).

A similar type of relationship and trust exists (usually) between responsible earthly parents and their dependent children. What responsibility do the children have for worrying about whether the parents will provide for them? None. If the children are worrying, the parents often will reassure them, saying, “It’s our responsibility, not yours, to provide for you.”

Parents want their children to live obediently to them and experience the peace of living life to the fullest without worrying about their needs. Peace comes to the children when they fully trust their parents to fulfill their responsibility. God gives what He possesses Himself – His peace. “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you His peace at all times and in every situation.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16a)

God has never and will never worry about meeting your needs. God is completely capable of meeting your needs. Therefore, “give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

The peace of God is available to you, but His peace is quite difficult to explain – “exceeds anything we can understand” – rather, you experience God’s peace. But what does God’s peace do for you? “His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7b). This term “guard” is a military word describing how God’s peace creates a barrier or secures a safe place for you mentally and emotionally. Negative thoughts and worry can come into your mind at any moment, but what should your response be?

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6

What will you experience if you do not worry but instead pray, tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done?

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Experiencing God’s peace is work on your part. You choose what you think about and how you respond to thoughts and worries that come to your mind. God promises to strengthen you and give you His peace if you obey His command not to worry, pray, tell Him what you need, and thank Him.

If you have difficulty focusing your mind and experiencing God’s peace, the apostle Paul provides additional instructions about specific categories of your thought life in Philippians 4:8 and encourages you to keep working on all the instructions in the book of Philippians, including not worrying, praying about everything, telling God what you need, and living thankful to God so that the peace of God will be yours.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

Let God provide you His peace because God’s peace creates a barrier and secures a safe place for you mentally and emotionally to share your worries and your cares, tell Him about all your needs – pray about everything – and live with a heart of thanksgiving toward Him! God’s peace is available to you. Will you choose to experience His peace?

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