Godís Perfect Peace
By Jack Hartman
Godís Word tells us that His "perfect peace" is available to us. No other peace remotely compares with Godís perfect peace. It is total, complete and absolute--a beautiful peace that never changes.
The following verse of Scripture tells us exactly how to obtain Godís perfect peace in our lives. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee" (Isaiah 26:3).
Our Father will always do His part if we will do our part. His part is to keep us in perfect peace. Our part is, 1) to keep our minds stayed on Him and, 2) to trust completely in Him. Isnít this exactly the opposite of what most of us do when weíre faced with a crisis?
Donít our minds remain primarily "stayed" on the problems that face us? Donít we turn these problems over and over in our minds, focusing on them almost constantly? Donít most of us worry about whether we can solve these problems? In crisis situations, isnít it true that many of us do exactly the opposite of Godís two requirements for perfect peace?
Some of us experience "partial peace." We keep our minds partially on the problem and partially on God. We trust partially in ourselves and partially in God. This is an improvement over doing exactly the opposite to the instructions of Isaiah 26:3, but it leaves us a long way from the perfect peace that we can experience.
Why does Isaiah 26:3 teach us that perfect peace is related to our "minds" when Romans 10:9, Proverbs 23:7 and other verses of Scripture place emphasis on our hearts? The answer is that all spiritual battles are fought in our minds. These battles are fought based upon what we believe in our hearts, but the area they take place in is our minds. Our heartfelt beliefs are our "weapons," but our minds are the "battlefield."
Satan got to Adam and Eve by cunningly seducing and corrupting their minds. We must be on guard against this same device. "...even as the serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning, so your minds may be corrupted and seduced from wholehearted and sincere and pure devotion to Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:3, The Amplified Bible).
God wants us to keep our minds stayed on Him because He wants us to be single-minded at all times. Christians who arenít single-minded risk the problems that attack people who are double-minded. "...a man of two minds --hesitating, dubious, irresolute--[he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything (he thinks, feels, decides)" (James 1:8, The Amplified Bible).
Double-minded Christians are variable. One day theyíre full of faith--defying the problem that theyíre faced with, boldly claiming the promises of God, praising Him and thanking Him. Yet, a few days, weeks or months later, these same Christians often are filled with doubt and are very hesitant and wavering.
Godís Word warns us about the penalties of being double-minded (offering a half-hearted commitment for trusting God one day and worrying another day). "...ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways" (James 1:6-8).
Our Father wants us to look only one way--at Him! No matter what problems come into our lives, He wants us to take our eyes off the problem and keep them on Him. If we do this, the glorious light of our Lord Jesus Christ will shine in our lives. "...if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light" (Matthew 6:22).
Godís Word places great emphasis on the importance of being single-minded. However, this is easier said than done. Exactly what must be done in order to become single-minded? How do we keep our minds on God at all times regardless of circumstances and regardless of what our emotions tell us.
The answer is that our minds have to be made brand new. They have to be constantly refreshed day after day after day. "...be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind--having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude..." (Ephesians 4:23, The Amplified Bible).
We wouldnít think of trying to feed our bodies on one or two meals a week. Yet, this is exactly what many of us try to do with our minds. The only way to keep our minds "stayed" on God is to renew them each and every day through continual study and meditation in His Word.
If we will pay this price, weíll soon find that constant renewal of our minds will transform us by guiding us into living our lives the way that our Father wants us to live. "...be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2).
If weíll pay the price of constantly renewing our minds so that weíre single-minded and focusing on the Lord at all times, the storms of life wonít be able to hurt us. Think for a moment about a storm at sea. There is no disturbance in the depth of the ocean. It all takes place on the surface.
The storms of life are exactly the same. God is always at peace. Nothing disturbs Him. Itís always quiet deep inside ourselves where the Holy Spirit lives. If we keep our minds constantly on Him, the storms of life that take place outside of us wonít be able to get down inside of us. They wonít be able to get into our minds and, from there, down into our hearts.
This is why Godís Word tells us to cast out disturbing thoughts--to stop them from getting into our minds by keeping every one of our thoughts on the Lord at all times. "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ..." (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Satan canít get into a mind that is stayed on God. When he tries to get his thoughts into our minds, we need to cast them out. What does a fisherman do when he "casts" his line out into the water? He throws it, doesnít he? Thatís what we must do with the fearful, worried thoughts that try to get into our minds. We need to throw them out!
How do we do this? We do this by keeping our minds stayed upon the Lord--by bringing every one of our thoughts into obedience to the Lord. We need to fix our minds on the Lord constantly--not just in morning and evening prayer and at church functions during the week. We need to focus our minds on the Lord throughout the day, each and every day of our lives. This Christ-centered life will lead us into Godís perfect peace!
Instead of focusing on the problems in our lives, we need to look to our Lord. This is where our help will come from. "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth" (Psalm 121:1-2).
If we focus constantly on the Lord, we wonít be moved by the circumstances of life. Weíll rejoice constantly deep inside of ourselves because weíll be relaxed and at ease no matter what is going on around us. "I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory [my inner self] rejoices; my body too shall rest and confidently dwell in safety" (Psalm 16:8-9, The Amplified Bible).
Have you noticed when weíre exhausted or when our resistance is down how frightening and out of proportion our problems can become? When we focus constantly on the obstacles, they will always seem to be bigger than they really are. This is when we must keep our minds on the Lord.
How do we keep our minds stayed on Him? Go back to the final five words of Isaiah 26:3: "...because he trusteth in Thee." These words give us the key. We will be able to keep our minds stayed on the Lord in the midst of severe pressure only if we honestly trust Him.
Too often we place our trust in money, government, human intelligence, human abilities, family members and friends. It isnít wrong to trust in those things at times, but it is definitely wrong to trust in them more than we trust in our Lord. Weíll never be able to keep our minds stayed on the Lord unless we trust Him much more than any worldly security.
God is our source. All worldly security is temporary and changing. God is permanent. He never changes. This world is changing faster today than ever before and change can create anxiety. We must not allow change to rob us of our peace. God never changes. Godís Word never changes. Our peace will only be constant to the degree that we focus on our unchanging Father and His unchanging Word.
The mind that is stayed on the Lord is always calm and poised because our Lord is always calm and poised. Nothing can sway this mind because nothing can sway our Lord. The more our minds are centered upon the source of all peace, the more His peace will be manifested in our lives.
How To Trust In The Lord
Isaiah 26:3 tells us that the reason we can keep our minds stayed on Him is because we trust completely in Him....Complete, absolute, unwavering trust in the Lord will cause us to keep our minds stayed on Him no matter what is happening to us. If we are able to do this, we will experience His beautiful perfect peace regardless of the circumstances that we might be faced with in our lives.
The Hebrew word that is translated "trusteth" in Isaiah 26:3 means to "have no fear because of our security." If we trust deeply in the Lord, we believe that He is completely reliable, that we are absolutely secure and we have no fear of anything because we know that His power is greater than anything that will ever come against us.
The peace of God will rule in our hearts based upon the amount of His Word that lives in our hearts. The key to trusting Him is to have our hearts filled with His Word. "...Let thine heart retain My words..." (Proverbs 4:4). If our lives are controlled by whatever we deeply believe, we should be very careful about what we allow to get deep into our hearts. "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23).
Our Father wants us to fill our hearts constantly with His Word. When a crisis comes up, He wants His Word to be so deeply rooted and firmly established in our hearts that we will automatically react to what His Word says instead of reacting with fear to the crisis that we are faced with. "...the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established, he shall not be afraid..." (Psalm 112:6-8).
We need to have more than just head knowledge of Godís Word. We need to have heart knowledge of His awesome promises. Our hearts need to be so full of His Word that it dominates our souls (our minds, our emotions and our will) in times of crisis. If our hearts arenít filled with Godís Word, weíll falter when the going gets tough. If our hearts are filled with His Word, we wonít budge one inch!...
Many of us forfeit the peace that our Lord has given us by the words that we allow to come out of our mouths when we are under stress. Weíll never enjoy Godís peace unless we learn to control our tongues. Our tongues cannot be permanently controlled by will power. "...the human tongue can be tamed by no man..." (James 3:8, The Amplified Bible).
Our tongues can only be controlled by what we believe in our hearts. If our hearts are full of worry, fear, doubt and discouragement, then a crisis will bring forth words of worry, fear, doubt and discouragement. Spiritual power is released by the words that we speak. Because of this, we should open our mouths several times each day and speak the Word of God. If our hearts are full of the Word of God, our lips will constantly speak His Word. When our words constantly line up with Godís Word, we constantly release His spiritual power.
If we constantly speak Godís Word, this will increase our peace. When our ears constantly hear our own lips speaking Godís Word, our faith will grow. "...faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). It is very important to realize that our faith grows by hearing Godís Word. It will grow when we hear other people speak Godís Word, but our faith will really grow when our ears constantly hear our mouths speaking the Word of God.
As we fill our minds and hearts with Godís Word, our faith will become more and more childlike in nature...Little children donít worry. They trust their fathers completely. Our heavenly Father wants us to face the seemingly complex problems of life with this same innocent, childlike trust in Him.
Taken from the book Deep Inner Peace. Published by Lamplight Ministries, P.O. Box 1307, Dunedin, Florida 34697. Copyright 1984 by Jack Hartman. Used by permission.