...and the God of Peace will be with you always (Phil 4:9)
"Juxtapositioning" is the act of placing two things closely together to see the contrasting effect.
Paul uses these two phrases very closely together in his letter to the Philippians. The first one, the peace of God, is used in the same chapter a little before the verse we've been studying (Phil 4:8-9):
To understand the other verse better, I'll backtrack and use it in context (emphasis is mine):
Rejoice in the Lord always!
I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all.
The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation
by prayer and petition
Present your requests to God.
And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:4-7)
He then goes on to instruct the Philippians on how to keep their thoughts on Christ:
Whatever is true
whatever is noble
whatever is right
whatever is pure
whatever is lovely
whatever is admirable
if anything is excellent and praiseworthy
think about such things (Phil 4:8)
He further instructs them to put into practice everything they've learned, because what good is knowledge without action?
Whatever you have learned or received
or heard from me---or seen in me
put into practice.
Then comes our "blessed assurance,"
And the God of peace will be with you. (Phil 4:9)
Is it the same--the peace of God and the God of peace?
When we're anxious, afraid or ambivalent, we worry and complain. But when we follow the instructions above (rejoice, let it go and present it to God) something unexplainable comes over us...something that goes beyond human understanding...a peace that doesn't make sense. This feeling, this..."thing" of peace comes over us.
And you know what I really love?
That this peace, this "thing" guards our hearts AND our minds in Christ Jesus.
You may remember the post,Think Twice I wrote about thinking with our minds and with our hearts...
God protects both our hearts from being wounded and our minds from being thrown down that slippery slope of negative thinking.
This is a great blessing: to know that we have access to that "thing" of peace.
However, when we follow the instructions to think, or meditate on those things that keep us focused on things above, and put into practice what we've learned, we are assured that the God of peace will be with us.
This "Thing" of peace is not with us...the "Person" of peace is.
Anxiety, fear, situations that we feel stuck in...
these are "things of the heart."
These verses suggest being still, waiting, listening, receiving. When we surrender these "things of the heart," we receive that "thing of peace" as a balm for our heart as well as for our mind---the mind that is influenced by our heart, our feelings. It's a way to become still and trust (Be still and know that I am God-Psalm 46:10).
The "whatevers"...those things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy...those are proven things of God, of heaven...characteristics of Christ. They are the things we must actively and purposefully think about with our heads.
They are "matters of the mind."
And as such, God, this "Person of Peace" equips us to actively go. To go and think. To go and practice. To go and do.
The peace of God stills us to hear.
The God of peace equips us to go.
One is a promise.
The other is The Promise.
Either way, you can't go wrong.
Blessings Along the Path,
sharing this post with Lyli at Thought Provoking Thursday, Crystal at Thriving Thursdays, Beth at Wedded Wednesday