A few weeks ago I wrote about the tragic case of the Swedish DJ Avicii and his search for peace. We considered how peace is something we all desire, but that most people (sometimes including Christians) look for it in the wrong places. True peace can only be found in the Lord Jesus Christ, not in earthly pleasures or possessions.
The Apostle Paul lists peace amongst the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). It is something all Christians can and should experience. In this post I want look more at finding and keeping true peace. It’s a big subject so we’ll focus on one verse in Isaiah’s prophecy.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (Isaiah 26:3)
There’s a clue here about how to find true peace – it is through having our mind ‘stayed’ on God. This word ‘stayed’ is very descriptive, we don’t use it so much these days, but it really means ‘resting completely’ or ‘fixed’. Peace is found in resting on God and focusing on the Lord Jesus Christ, rather than the distractions and difficulties of our lives in this world. But it’s also about resting completely on God – not keeping one foot resting on other things just in case God lets us down.
The final section of this verse tells us the basis of this peace. The person who keeps their mind stayed on God does so because they trust him. They have believed by faith that God will give them peace; and this faith comes from God in the first place. We know that God is unchanging and faithful towards his people, so this peace is certain. This is why the verse speaks of ‘perfect peace’. In the Hebrew this is actually written as ‘peace peace’ – the word is doubled to emphasis the certainty of it.
It also shows the completeness of the peace. It’s a spiritual peace – forgiveness for sin and closeness to God through the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s peace day by day, even in the tough times, as we trust God’s promises, his faithfulness and that all things work together for the good of his people.
So God promises to keep in perfect peace all those whose mind is stayed on him, those that trust in him.
Where do we go wrong?
It’s obvious from this that the reason most people do not find true peace is because they have no real interest in, or understanding of, the God of this verse. Most of them don’t even believe in him, and certainly don’t have their minds resting completely on him – therefore they cannot claim the promise in this verse. As God so clearly tells us later in Isaiah ‘There is no peace…unto the wicked.’ (Isaiah 48:22)
Sometimes though Christians don’t feel at peace either. Given the certainty and completeness of the peace we’re talking about, what is going wrong? There are two possible explanations, either God has broken his promise, or we have failed to keep our side of the bargain. Given that God never changes, the fault must rest with us – clearly our minds are no longer stayed on God!
Maybe we are ‘accidentally’ starting to look for peace elsewhere, we have lost sight of the Lord Jesus Christ and what he really means to us. Maybe we have become hard-hearted, the two way communication of Bible reading and prayer have stopped. Perhaps we have unconfessed sins, things we have not repented of. Have we let pleasures and possessions become too important again?
How to fix it…
If any of the above are true, there is a solution – listen to what God says later in Isaiah:
Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go. O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river… (Isaiah 48:17-18)
If only we could listen to his commandments, and do what he asks, our peace would be like a river. It’s an encouragement to pray for more grace and God’s help day by day to keep our minds stayed on him, fixed on the Lord Jesus Christ and to make the things of God our number one priority.
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)
Finally, look out for a case study on Jehoshaphat coming later this week.[A00079 – 02/07/2018]