Wouldn’t that be nice? In today’s world, we can find lots of reasons to let stress push aside peace. Our culture has lots of formulas for peace, or at least lots of ways to make us feel better. Try this, do that, buy this entice advertisements. The internet is filled with articles that promise 3 Easy Steps to making ourselves better, thinner, smarter, or richer. All of this beat-stress-feel-good about yourself stuff may be helpful to an extent, but it falls short when it comes to delivering perfect peace.
And that’s what we really want, isn’t it?
Peace–it’s a mind thing.
Perfect peace has everything to do with what’s going on in our minds. Processing an average of 70,000 thoughts a day, the human mind is an amazing thing. Isn’t it interesting that God tells us that the content of our thoughts relates to the condition of our peace?
When it comes down to it, our minds cannot generate peace. It is more a matter of how we use our minds that help or hinder. The steadfast of mind–this is the condition, the mental posture that enables us to receive the blessing that God provides–the peace of His Spirit.
Be aware of what you are thinking about. “Don’t concentrate on your problems; keep your mind on Jesus and His good plan or your life.” (Joyce Meyer)
Steady does it.
We often think of steadfast as meaning strong and steady, but surprisingly, the meaning of this Hebrew word means to lean upon or take hold of. I had always looked at this verse in terms of trying to accomplish the impossible, or at least like trying to swim upstream. Sometimes holding my thoughts steady can seem impossible, so I am grateful that this verse is talking more about God’s ability.
Leaning on God, I can depend on Him to provide the mental self-control that I so often lack. It is the turning, depending on God that opens the door to receive the soul peace He offers.
The keeping of God.
When God keeps our minds in perfect peace, He guards, protects, and maintains. In and of my own efforts I can’t hang on to peace longer than a few minutes before something barges into my bliss and ruins the mood. With God, peace isn’t a mood or a feeling, it is a gift.
It comes down to a matter of trust.
The steadfast of mind–our part is to lean our thoughts on God.
He will keep in perfect peace–God’s part is to bring on the peace!
Because–here’s the kicker–the bottom line…
We trust in God.
God’s recipe for perfect peace begins and ends with our participation of bringing our thoughts to Him in trust.
A key factor in trusting God is letting go of my desire to control things- to know the answers and forge the path. This desire for control, to make everything turn out like I think it should, is often the motivation behind my thoughts. Most fears and problems can be reduced to this common denominator of control verses trusting God.
When we choose to turn our thoughts to God’s faithfulness, we can let go of the mental and physical striving to fix, solve, find, force, and make things turn out.
James speaks to this relationship between trusting and doubting.
James writes, “for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:6b-8 NASB).
We’ve all experienced mental and emotional sea-sickness that comes from that back and forth effort of worry and doubt. How good to know that God’s grace covers our instability of faith when we turn our thoughts to Him.
Identify bad mental habits.
So when bad mental habits, such as doubting, complaining, resenting, arguing, or controlling begin to steal your peace, turn your thoughts to God,
“...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…” (Hebrews 12:2).
What mental habits are stealing your peace today?
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