In Philippians 4:7 we are promised that the peace of God will guard or protect our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. In evangelism, how does that peace guard you?
Hello @Kirk Thank you for your question.
The work of evangelism is divine work that requires weakness on our part. The weakness that acknowledges only God can bring to fruition the necessary and required change in a person’s heart that results in personal salvation. All the works of Christ are righteous and peace is the fruit of righteousness. (Isaiah 32.17)
We know that peace doesn’t necessarily imply a lack of conflict. God’s work done in enemy territory will lead to enemies and conflict. Jesus promises tribulation in this world, but internal and eternal peace for those who walk with Him. His peace guards our mind and our spirit in the midst of opposition. (Psalm 91)
The short answer? I do not know. But it does. If you have ever encountered tribulation as a believer, you can most likely testify to the vast difference between walking through it with His peace, or lack thereof. This is yet another divine work on the part of Christ for His children.
Thank you Beth!
In addition to @MaryBeth1’s excellence response, allow me to add this thought.
Psalm 23:5a paints a beautiful portrait of God’s peace,
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.”
Might not exactly pertain to the ministry of evangelism, but in the general sense, God protects His children so thoroughly we can go about our daily tasks without giving the enemy a thought knowing that the Almighty God keeps them at bay.
Thank you, Dennis!
Good to see your questions in Connect again…I find they are always good ones to think through. I also think @MaryBeth1 as provide a good answer to your question but I might add a couple more thoughts to the mix.
In using the term “will guard”, Paul has chosen to use a military term that implies a battle ground in the exchange of ideas. This battle ground is for the heart and the mind. In context this battleground is being fought during times of worry and anxiety. During these times we are to turn our focus to the Lord in prayer and thanksgiving and then our hearts and mind will be protected from external corruption.
As you have asked about moving these same principles into the area of evangelism. I think these principles still apply. As we are trying to share the Lord with those that don’t know Him there is usually some degree of misalignment of ideas between Christ followers and those who don’t know Him. In many situations it is a battleground of ideas for truth. I think of Paul sharing and arguing in the synagogue daily, proclaiming the truth of their need for Christ as savor for them to have forgiveness of sins. Peace guards us during these times by maintaining the peace and trust that we have in the message that we are proclaiming. If we are not confident in our message and have good apologetic reasons for believing what we believe we could easily be persuaded to change our convictions about our need for the savor, Christ Jesus. I think this happen many times to young people as they leave the security of their homes and move into the wider world (especially a university environment). If they are not adequately equipped to deal with challenges that will be put before them they will end up walking away from the faith. Challenges can come at us through the logical area that we need to apply good thinking , but challenges can also come at us thought area of our heart and emotions; feelings and care for others that are caught up in sin and we don’t want to judge them, being tempted to engage in a sinful lifestyle ourselves that in the moment seems sooo good, etc.
But God will give peace and protection to those that truly seek Him out. Philippians tells us that prayer, supplication and being thankful are important tools in the battle.
Don, thank you for your reply! It’s good to talk with you as well! I particularly benefited from the battle ground analogy of God’s peace guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. When I was a young man in college, I went through all the things you described, and then God saved me. He gave me peace to witness to fellow students and professors too! It’s been more than 25 years since then, and it’s good to be reminded of those experiences! God bless you!
Thanks so much for this question. I’ve often come back to this passage and I think it might be one of my favorites.
I think the answers you’ve gotten so far are great and wanted to piggyback off of what @don58.baker was saying:
I think also back to verse 5 which says: “let your gentleness be evident to all” When we are at peace, we can be gentle to respond and engage with those who don’t know Christ (cf. 1 Peter 3:15).
Isaiah 26:3 also comes to mind, “The steadfast of mind, You will keep in perfect peace, because He trusts in You” We can have peace in an unchanging God which gives us confidence to stand firm as we share with others. In this way, His peace guards us from being anxious, insecure, or second-guessing ourselves when faced with opposition.
Another thought: usually when we are at peace, we are free to rest. When our evangelism efforts stem from a place of resting in the One who equips and saves us, we are less likely to rely on our own strength which often causes anxiety.
I also found this video from the Bible Project quite fascinating in how it relates the word “peace” to completeness/wholeness and how that is realized fully in the person of Jesus Christ.
These thoughts are a little scattered but hopefully they help some. May we rest in His peace and be equipped to share it with others.
Thank you, Rebekah! Those are great Scriptures!