Guarding Your Heart

Josh Wanner40DOW

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

Those words of St. Paul are often repeated at the conclusion of a pastor’s sermon. Hopefully, now that we have heard the Word proclaimed – both Law and (especially) Gospel – we find ourselves in a right frame of mind, reconciled to God and assured of our place in God’s Kingdom. That’s spiritual and emotional peace.

One word that stands out in the passage above is “guard”. It has a military connotation. You will find guards keeping prisoners secure. A modern translation of our text says this: “May the peace of God stand as sentinel over your hearts and minds.”

The job of a sentinel was to keep intruders from entering a place where they didn’t belong. God’s peace serves as just such a sentinel. When an intruder wants to enter the heart, mind or thoughts of a believer, the sentinel says, “Halt! Who goes there!”

The intruder may take the form of a doubt, worry, fear. It may be the wiles of the devil, who comes saying, “You’re no good. You blew it. You should be ashamed. God can’t possibly love someone like you.”
But the sentinel stands resolute against the attack: “You’re wrong. This is a blood-bought, Spirit-empowered, beloved child of God. Though totally unworthy, Christ has made this person worthy, has reconciled this person to Himself by His death on the cross. You are the one who is defeated, powerless to harm. Go back to where you came from!”

Such peace that comes from God is beyond my human comprehension. It is unmerited, undeserved, can’t be earned. But it is graciously bestowed. And, as always for St. Paul, it is only “in Christ.” It’s Him, not me, who gets all the honor, praise, and glory.


Thank you, Lord, for Your peace that guards my heart and mind. Keep me steadfast and confident in Your grace – now and always.

Daily Reading: Psalm 43

– Contributed by Rev. Paul Peckman