I find it interesting when people long for a “simpler time” and indulge in nostalgia. I always feel like asking them (I’m usually too polite to say it out loud) “When exactly was this ‘Golden Age’ which you’re talking about? The 50’s, when we were constantly under the threat of nuclear war? The 60’s, when our country was torn apart by racial strife? The 70’s, when we had long gas lines, high unemployment, and financial crises? Or maybe we can go back further, like the 30’s, or the 40’s, or the turn of the century?”
My point is pretty simple: There’s never been a time when people could just sit back and say “Now we’ve got it made! No more war or famine or poverty!” Or if they were, they were fooling themselves. Every generation has its own reasons to fear: Nazi Germany, Soviet Communism, Economic Depressions, Islamic extremism, etc.
But even though each age has a different reason to fear, each has the same cure for their fears. Isaiah calls each of us to find perfect peace. How? Speaking to his Lord, he says that “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Who wouldn’t want perfect peace, especially in days like these?
So easy to talk about, so easy to suggest it in a devotional, and so difficult to do. Please note that it’s not just an issue of trusting God. Yes, I trust him. Or at least I say I do. But the promise of perfect peace is towards those whose mind is steadfast.
Why is this important? Because making your mind steadfast is a decision you make, not an emotion to which you succumb.
Let’s take a less melodramatic example than the world ending. Let’s think about a common situation in these hard economic times. You’re just told that your job is in jeopardy; in fact, it’s pretty likely you won’t be employed next month.
Yes, you need to trust in God’s provision. But what does that mean? Is it just an emotional wave that passes over you, a sovereign act of the Holy Spirit? Maybe so, but probably not. What I’m talking about here is a specific decision that you make. You say or think (out loud might be better): “I'm choosing to trust in you. I will not panic. I will not give in to fear. Father, you've promised in [Book, chapter, verse] that you'll take care of me.” What if the Enemy (either directly or indirectly) tries to bring fear to your heart again? You simply say “Get away from me, Satan! I'm choosing to trust in him. I'm not going to panic. I'm not going to give into panic. The Lord has promised in [Book, chapter, verse] that he'll take care of me.” Repeat as needed.
Do you notice the secret above? In order for your mind to be steadfast, you need to fill it with Scripture. Memorize as much as you can. Don’t wait for situation X to come up. At the very least, familiarize yourself with verses which pertain to what you might experience in the near future.
So do you want perfect peace? Then a practical step might be turning to your Bible. Learn it. Live it. Love it.
Father God, I thank you for your promise of perfect peace if my mind is steadfast, if I just trust in you. I can’t do that on my own; I’d be fooling myself if I tried. It’s only by your empowering grace that I can even come close to this. Please give me what I need.
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