"Peace Beyond Understanding":
Anglicized Greek "Irene", a proper noun; "tranquility, quietness"
Irene. My aunt's name was "Irene." My uncle married her about the time the country song, "Irene, Goodnight, Irene", became popular. I didn't know at the time that it was an anglicized word meaning "peace." The Irene in the song was anything but a "peace" person. But my aunt was. At any rate, the word represents a quality desired by us all. This is what the lesson is about.
During the Haines City's VBS this week Rusty Hilliard delivered a series on the "Fruit of the Spirit." The other night he presented a lesson on "Peace." He introduced the subject by noticing the quietness of Jesus in a boat during a storm on the Sea. In fact, Jesus was so serene that He took a nap during the ferocious and violent storm. His students (disciples) awakened Him and asked Him if He did not care if they all perished? Jesus rebuked the wind and said, "Peace. Be still" (John 4:39). The weather immediately responded. The disciples were amazed at this power. Jesus asked the disciples, "Where is your faith?"
The word Jesus used is pis'-tis (Strong's G4102), "persuasion, that is, credence"and "reliance [on Jesus for salvation]." Jesus wanted His students to have faith in Him and the Father in Heaven. To have credence in Him. To believe in Him. To rely upon Him. To trust Him.
I wish to add the following thoughts from Philippians 4. Life doesn't always ride on an easy street. There will be storms in our lives. When they come, will we be distracted by worry like Christ's disciples in the boat were?
Paul, an apostle of Jesus, tells us that God's peace is beyond understanding (Philippians 4:6-9). But we all can have His peace if we cast aside all worry and put our trust in His Son Jesus. We can do this by (1) praying. We let our requests be known in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. We do this also by (2) our thinking. We let God keep our hearts and minds through Jesus by having God govern our thoughts. We do this by (3) our doing. We do what we learn from the apostles such as Paul. The Spirit of God through Paul tells us that then the peace of God shall be with us.
Not to worry. The Contemporary English Version puts Philippians 4:6 like this, "Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything." Robertson's Word Pictures defines this verb tense as present imperative (that's a command) in prohibition, "stop being anxious." The Greek word merimnate doesn't mean to forsake prudence in worldly affairs such as work and insurances but to not be troubled by worrying about what you shall eat, drink, or wear. Matthew 6:31 elaborates on this. God knows what we have need of and He will provide if we put our trust and our obedience in Jesus.
First, we will have peace by obeying God in praying. This basically means to talk [oratory] to God; i.e., to worship Him by doing so. From this passage Johnson in his People's New Testament identifies these "three elements [in] the appeal to God: Prayer, the outpouring of the soul; supplication, stating our wants; thanksgiving,... thankfulness for present mercies." We thank God for our state. As Paul said, "For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content" (Philippians 4:11). No need to worry.
Second, we have peace by thinking good thoughts (Colossians 3:15). We do this by purposely letting God's Word rule our thoughts. "If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Philippians 4:8). The goal is for our God to "guard [our] hearts and [our] thoughts in Christ Jesus." We will enjoy then the amazing peace of God in our souls. And no troubling thoughts to worry us.
Third, and finally, we have peace by living the way the Spirit directs us through God's Word. Paul says, "Philippians, do what you heard in me and seen in me" (4:9). Our priority is to seek first the Kingdom of God in Christ; in doing this we can safely trust God to do what He promised; i.e., our necessities (Matthew 6:33). "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" (Colossians 3:17 ). No reason to worry.
In conclusion, we will have the great and amazing peace of God if we give God glory in prayer, think good thoughts, and live prepared for eternity. Everything is fine and there is no worry.
- Gaylon West