“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
“will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
The word “guard” is a military term. It means a mounted guard. This image was familiar to the Philippians because the city was a military outpost of the Roman government. This word is used in 2 Cor. 11:32 of a garrison guarding a city:
“In Damascus the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of the Damascenes [Damascus] with a garrison, desiring to arrest me [Paul].”
In 1 Pet. 1:5 this term in Philippians is used of God:
“Who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
God guards our salvation until we go to meet him in eternity.
The peace of God stands guard over our souls. God protects our hearts and minds from inner disturbance when we present anxieties to Him in prayer. The sentinel of God’s peace will stand mount guard over our hearts and thoughts.
The future tense here is the future of assured results. God’s peace patrols before the heart’s door like a sentinel defending it from assaults of temptation, anxiety, and bitter resentment. If we have the peace of God in our hearts and minds, we will not be full of anxious resentment. We will not enter into conflict with the Euodia or Syntyche of our lives. We cannot live in conflict with others and possess the peace of God simultaneously. The peace of God and personality conflict cannot coexist.
The word “heart” is used in the Bible for the mainspring of moral and spiritual desire that determines the entire character. The peace of God will guard the whole person.
There are times we are anxious in our hearts, and then there are times when we are anxious in our minds. The word “mind” means the product or result of thinking. If we focus our minds on the Lord, He will keep us in peace,
“You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.”
The mind, along with the heart, can either enjoy or lose peace.
“through Christ Jesus”
The word “through” should not translate as means but sphere–in. Union with Christ is our sphere for peace. The more we appreciate our union with Christ, the more we understand that God guards our hearts and minds.
We cannot have the peace of God and antagonism toward someone else at the same time.
God will guard our hearts against antagonism toward others if we present our problems to Him in prayer.