“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
We are bombarded with the temptation to succumb to anxiety. Sometimes it can seem as if we have good cause to be anxious—maybe our situation is genuinely stressful.
But if I’m honest with myself, many times I am anxious simply because that’s familiar. When I’m not anxious, I wonder if I’m actually doing anything significant, in the same way people will drum up drama to give a false sense of significance. But the deepest desire I have is for peace, even amid conflict or stressful circumstances.
The verse describes a peace that “surpasses understanding,” which doesn’t mean it’s illogical or ignorant—it just means it goes much deeper than the surface. It is a peace that acknowledges the madness of the world yet remains focused on the Rock of our salvation: Jesus.
When I succumb to anxiety, it tends to dominate my thoughts and experiences. My conversations all gravitate towards what I am anxious about. I don’t notice the taste of food as much, I check my phone instead of watching my kids play, I don’t ask how others are doing; I am not present in the moment. Anxiety is a usurper of joy.
All of our hearts and minds can easily become captive to one thought or worry—and in that, we are not free.
Some will react impulsively and seek to throw off anxiety by fleeing from what they perceive to be the external cause. Though a life change my be a good thing, unless the heart issue is truly addressed eventually that particular anxiety will simply be replaced by another.
The only direction worth running is toward Christ. Therein lies true peace. As the song says, “All other ground is sinking sand . . . ”