Phil. 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The first spiritual marker we have is peace. When we are on the right track with the Holy Spirit and others are telling us we are wrong we need peace. Peace that is administered through the Holy Spirit assures us that we are in step with God’s will for our lives. Phil. 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
These are great verses. “Do not worry, pray.” Paul says. And the immediate result of this is peace. Even before our prayers are answered, there is peace. Before we have any idea how things will work out, there is peace. Why? Because when we cry out to God and unload our cares and burdens on Him, He is assured of our dependence on Him. And that is His priority; that is what pleases Him. Paul describes the role of peace as that of a guard. The picture here is peace as a soldier guarding our hearts, our emotions, and our minds. The idea is that peace will inform us of who is influencing our hearts and our minds. When the wrong influences tamper with our emotions and minds, peace informs us through a sense of foreboding or hesitancy. We lose our peace. We cannot always identify what it is but there is just something that is not right.
On the other hand, the Holy Spirit will sometimes give us peace or the go ahead about something that is purely circumstantial and makes no sense at all. Why pray about buying a new building when you have no money? If the Holy Spirit gives you peace about it then it will prove to be the right decision. I know people that have gotten themselves into trouble by ignoring the warnings of the Holy Spirit. They tell me things like, “I knew I should not have married him. Something just was not quite right. I could not put my finger on it but I did it anyway.” Or “I knew there was something funny about the deal, but everyone said it looked good, so I went for it.” Remember the peace you had, that was the Holy Spirit. The fact that you did not feel right about it was the Holy Spirit telling you not to do it. You did not listen.
As much as God loves us and wants to keep us out of trouble, He will never violate your free will and force you to do the right thing. We will never lose our freedom to make mistakes. Because of that it is even more important that we have a moment by moment sensitivity to the presence or the absence of God’s peace in our lives. The question is “How do I go about developing this kind of sensitivity to the Holy Spirit? We will get there but for right now think of it like learning some foreign language. The first time I ever heard Greek it was nothing more than gibberish, but after a few weeks it started making sense. The more time you spend with a language, the more familiar you get with it. The same thing is true in learning to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit. The more you listen and obey, the more familiar you become with Him; the easier it becomes to distinguish His voice from all the others that compete for your attention.
We were coming back from a pumpkin patch last year and I started seeing several antelope as we drove. Someone said “How did you see them?” I was looking for them. What are you looking for? Whatever it is, that is most likely what you are going to find. When you start looking for the Holy Spirit, when you tune in to the absence or the presence of His peace, you are going to be overwhelmed by the consistency of His presence. You are going to be amazed at His willingness to lead. And best of all you are going to be assured of the love of your heavenly Father. It is a love that reaches into every detail of your life.