Living Contented

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Living Contented: Peace that Transcends Understanding

In this month’s series, This Is Living, we’re learning what the true, abundant life Christ offers entails for our earthly experiences. This week, we’re taking a closer look at the Peace that Christ extends to us and how it changes us from the inside out.

“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” (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT).

Jesus’ Peace Guards My Heart

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV).

Throughout both the Old and New testaments, GOD shows us just how important the heart is in our lives. In this proverb, the writer goes so far as to say that everything we do draws its source from the condition of our heart. The heart defines our character, our story, our relationships, and so much more. Through offering our hearts to GOD and allowing ourselves to be filled with the peace of Christ, GOD will in turn guard our hearts for us. He protects us from the enemy’s lies that would strike our hearts and that would try to poison us from the inside out. Instead, the peace of Christ acts as a stronghold that we can feel safe within, even when storms rage beyond the walls.
So what does this look like tangibly? GOD guarding our heart often happens in small ways we wouldn’t necessarily expect. When we are in the center of the peace Jesus offers, trials and tribulations are more bearable and we are more closely aligned with the character of Christ. These moments of difficulty could be as small as frustration in traffic or a life-altering crisis, but in situations big and small, GOD is guarding our hearts, allowing our character to be based on Him, rather than the emptiness of humanity. In these ways, GOD guards our hearts by enveloping us in His comfort and His peace and preventing the enemy to attack the core of our being.

Jesus’ Peace Protects My Mind

Not only does the peace of Jesus guard our hearts, it also protects our minds. If our heart represents the core of our being, the mind is where we handle the day to day activities and decisions. The heart overflows to our mind and influences the smaller picture aspects of our lives. For this reason, our mind is often where we experience the stress and worry of every day life. How does Jesus help protect us from this? Through prayer.
As Paul writes in Philippians 4:6-7, experiencing the peace of Jesus is inherently linked to our willingness to reach out to Him and to intimately connect with Him in prayer about everything. Specifically, we are called to offer up our thanksgiving, recognizing where GOD has already been seen sufficient and gracious in our lives, as well as our needs. When we start from a place of thanksgiving, we often find a sense of peace in realizing that GOD has provided for us before and is faithful to do so again. In offering up our prayer requests and needs, we find peace in the fact that our GOD, Creator of All Things, hears and responds to us in powerful and personal ways. As we pray, we remember what GOD has done and ask with faith for Him to answer us once more. As we pray, we find ourselves drifting deeper and deeper into the transcendent peace of Christ.

Jesus’ Peace Changes My Perception of What I Need

“At the moment I have all I need—and more!” (Philippians 4:18a, NLT).

As we bring forth our requests and needs to GOD, His peace in turn shifts how we perceive our needs and what it is we actually need in the first place. The closer to we move to GOD, the less we need the things of the world that once seemed so all-consuming. Instead, we discover that the only true need we have is perpetually more of Him. As we pray and draw closer to GOD and experience the complete peace of Christ, we discover that our only need is more of this peace and the presence of GOD in our lives. The peace of Christ leads us to an inexplicable contentment found only in knowing Him.
Paul sums this up well later in Philippians when he says that he has found all he needs through his relationship with Christ. Keep in mind, Paul writes this letter from prison. As he sits in a dark room in chains, he professes his complete surrender of all but GOD and his dependency on Christ by proclaiming that he has all he needs as long as he is in the presence of his GOD and his Savior.
Yet Paul knows the true joy and peace of Christ. Even in chains, he knows that the peace of Jesus that transcends even his understanding is constantly guarding his heart, protecting his mind, and leading him to needing Christ and Christ alone. We too can experience this peace and protection if only we offer up our genuine praise and thanksgiving to GOD in prayer, allowing Him to move in our lives, and trusting that He will be our source of complete contentment and peace.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1422323455062{background-color: #f7f7f7 !important;}”][vc_column_text]

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