Rest and quietness are rare in today’s society. Think through your past day, week, and month. What percentage of it would you categorize as restful and calm? Unfortunately, these concepts feel further out of reach all of the time. Yet we find in the peace of God these critical, life-giving gifts. The words “rest” and “quietness” are at the root word of “peace” in Philippians 4:6-7, which says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. 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.”
Quiet, rest, and the peace of God are not fanciful wishes, nor are they unrealistic for the world we live in. God graciously provides us in the Scripture above an invitation, paired with simple instructions, for how we can live a life marked by His peace. Taking a deeper look at Philippians 4:6-7, we discover a formula for a life dramatically influenced by His peace.
At this introduction, many of us take a mental step away. We feel it is too unattainable — a life free from worry. 2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “… where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” This freedom subdues fears and anxiety! God understands we are prone to fear. He is the One who created our minds and knows precisely how they work. About our brains and their incomprehensible capabilities, Author Clay Butler Jones explained there are almost a thousand trillion connections. He said, “even if artificial intelligence did 99% of the work, it would take a thousand years to map the brain.”
God understands each of the connections and tendencies in our minds and how they affect our everyday feelings. Where He is, there is freedom, and as we daily practice inviting Him into our minds and hearts, we will experience the liberating power and peace of God.
When God calls us to something — like a life free from worry — He always equips us with what we will need. Communicating with our heavenly Father is a powerful way to practice living by God’s peace. Not only do we shift burdens and worry from our shoulders to His capable hands, but the act of spending time talking with Him is peace-giving in itself. When Jesus was on earth, He faced overwhelming opposition, distracting temptation, difficult situations with friends and followers, sorrow, and grief. He did not lead an easy life, nor a laid-back one. During His ministry, Jesus was constantly on the go and regularly surrounded by large crowds of people expecting great things from Him. Yet He regularly retreated in solitude to be with His Father. He needed the strength, endurance, and peace that only comes from being in God’s presence. We can practice laying every burden in God’s hands, whether by praying aloud, silently throughout the day, or documenting our prayers in writing. Each of these practices creates habits of shedding worry and inviting the peace of God into our homes and hearts.
While this world’s perception of quiet and rest becomes foggier, our view of God’s peace can grow clearer. And yet, we will never know the full extent of it. His peace is beyond understanding, which means we can spend our entire lives discovering and experiencing more of it! His peace is greater than mere emotion. It is multi-faceted, reflecting God’s glory and affecting every area of our lives. As we hide His Word in our hearts and practice trading our worries for His presence, His peace will lend consistency to our souls. Our spirits will be calmed and composed. Life’s circumstances will send out wakes like a giant ship stirring up serene waters. Still, God will faithfully bring our thoughts back to Himself, assuring us of His faithfulness and love, which far exceed anything this life offers.
Laying down our worries, coming to God with requests and thanksgiving, and practicing a life marked by His peace can be summed up in one word: abide. In John 15:5, Jesus explained, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.”
This verse can seem at first glance daunting, yet more than a command, it is an invitation. Jesus is offering us His power! Living by the peace of God isn’t only beneficial to us. It extends farther than our composed thoughts and balanced emotions. As we abide in God and experience greater reaches of His peace, we are stripped of barriers that once held us back from God’s work. He has liberated us and empowered us to make a difference for His kingdom! The word for “abide” in this verse means to “continue,” “remain,” and “dwell.” We don’t do this perfectly — however, our unfaithfulness never affects God’s faithfulness. He is patient with our wandering, drawing us back to Himself, and He remains, continues, and dwells with us. As He does, He guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.