by John Hervey

Philippians 4:7 (NLT)
“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.”
As Jews greet each other, they often say “Shalom!” “Peace!” As Muslims greet each other, they often say “Salaam!” or “Assalaam Aleikum!” “Peace of God (be with you)!” These are essentially blessings that people offer each other and have done so for hundreds and even thousands of years. This could be one of the highest blessings: to wish one another an experience of the true peace of God.

After Jesus was raised from death, he appeared to the disciples in their time of grief and fear and said to them twice: “Peace be with you” (John 20:19,20) Maybe here and other places where angels appear, it is the same message as “Do not be afraid,” but the common greeting meant something important, it conveyed something big, God’s very peace.

Today, probably as much as ever, we need God’s peace, His Shalom, because there is much that causes fear, tension, anxiety, and distress. We are experiencing the grief, upheaval, conflicts, and isolation of a global pandemic. We see political divisions and vitriol flooding our newsfeeds. In our own homes and families we feel heightened tension, trying to do school, work, cooking, cleaning, and relationships… all in the same space. It can get noisy, irritating and even violent. Much peace needed here! God’s peace, please!

In Philippians 4, Paul writes to his beloved friends, encouraging two of them in particular to settle their interpersonal differences, make peace with each other, and turn the situation into joy, the joy of the Lord. He gives them a simple but profound formula: “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.” (Philippians 4:6) He prefaces this formula with the simple exhortation: “Rejoice in the Lord. Again I say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:5).

Putting this all together, we can trust that God wants to bring His peace and joy to rule over our hearts and minds, and He will eagerly do so if we: 1. Settle our disputes, forgiving each other. 2. Start learning to rejoice in Jesus, letting His joy come in. 3. Stop worrying, and instead tell God about everything that is in our hearts. 4. Practice giving thanks to God… a lot!


  • Who or what has disturbed the peace in your life recently?  Take a few moments to remember, then recount it all to God, tell Jesus how it feels, why it hurts, what it’s all about.
  • What is in your power to make peace with those people and those situations? Can you ask for forgiveness? Can you give forgiveness? Can you seek mutual understanding?


  • Ask the Lord Jesus: “Lord Jesus, what would you like to tell me or show me about these people and these situations, and about my own heart?”  (Let Him speak to you in the quiet.)
  • Consider starting a list of things you are thankful for. Speak out the list in thankfulness to God as you write it. Consider sending a note of thanks to a friend or family member. Notice what happens inside you as you give thanks.