• Rev. Mark Tews

Perfect Peace

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.” (Isaiah 26:3).

The prophet Isaiah has been rightly called The Messianic Prophet because he had so much to say about Jesus the Messiah. He wrote more about the salvation that Jesus was to bring than any other Old Testament writer: sixty-six chapters. Paul wrote that the “Holy Scriptures are able to make [us] wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15). A study of Isaiah proves that to be true.

Isaiah prophesied the Lord’s birth (7:14 and 9:6), the Lord’s behavior (11:1–5), the Lord’s bruises (53:4–11), and the Lord’s blessings (61:1–3). Isaiah saw the Lord’s Glory (6:1–5), spoke of the Lord’s government (2:2–4 and 9:6–7), emphasized the Lord’s grief (53:3,4, and 10), and stressed the Lord’s grace (45:25;49:8–10 and 53:11). Isaiah referred to the Lord’s position (52:13–14), the Lord’s preaching (61:1–3), the Lord’s pain (50:6), the Lord’s pardon (53:4–12), and the Lord’s peace (9:6–7 and 53:5).

Why do so many people fail to experience the real joy and real peace of God’s perfect peace? Could it be that they are too caught up in the passing pleasures of this world? When people let the ways of the world distract them away from the ways of God and the ways of faith, it stands to reason that the peace of God would be elusive.

However, it is much harder to understand that someone calling themselves a Christian could still miss out on experiencing the true and everlasting joy of God’s perfect peace. How does this happen? Mostly because joy only comes from serving, abiding in, and obeying Jesus Christ. “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11). Jesus maintained that His obedience to the commands of His Father was the basis of His joy. It is no different for us. We must maintain a life of obedient love to our heavenly Father. If you have no relationship with Him, then you will have no joy!

The good news for us is that Jesus wants to give us this complete and fulfilling joy. The joy that is to be ours in Jesus Christ is always there to embrace. We receive it once we surrender to Jesus and live according to God’s command, striving each day to forsake our fleshly desires that cry out to be fulfilled with instant gratification. Jesus never said anything about just getting by with being happy. He never said anything about living day after day in a dull, numb existence as we wait to go to heaven. He wants us to have real joy!

Real joy comes from deep within your heart and soul. Joy is the outcome when you are willing to invest yourself in a loving, intimate, and obedient relationship with Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Joy does not come from many consecutive good things happening in your life. Living life to be happy instead of joyous is what makes you pursue good feelings from a bottle, a drug, a bigger house, a higher income, fame, and/or having a comfortable life filled with material possessions. This will only lead to an endless cycle of chasing after things to stay content and satisfied instead of joyous. “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36).

Through every possible situation, good or bad, dependence on God through a relationship with Jesus Christ, will produce a true and real joy in your life. If you desire to go from temporary happiness to everlasting joy, then abandon yourself and secure your trust in God by falling at the feet of Jesus. Isaiah told those of the land of Judah that if they would simply trust in God and remain steadfast of mind, they would know victory and even more so, God’s joy and peace.

What does it mean to have a steadfast mind? “Mind” refers to all that is shaped or formed within us, while “steadfast” means to have a “dependent attitude.” So, this is quite literally saying, “the one whose thoughts and being are founded, formed, fixed, and shaped in and on God will be kept in perfect peace by God Himself!” Just like clay stands without resistance, so the potter can shape and mold it, so should we Christians allow God to mold and shape us without resistance. Our attitudes must be of total abandonment of ourselves to a complete dependence upon almighty God.

The placing of our trust in God should be an attitude of fixed confidence. We must put all of our trust in God’s timing and His ability to handle everything that happens in our lives. We must stop trying to manage the outcome to fit our understanding and stop demanding that God gives us an explanation. We must become spiritually flexible and adaptable to what God has in store for our lives. He will abundantly bless us; trust that God wants nothing other than the best for you. “I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6).

We can stand at a distance from God and allow circumstances to dictate our happiness, or we can come close to Him and trust Him, then experience everlasting joy and perfect peace despite the circumstances. Seeking after this is up to us; God offers it to us abundantly and freely. Yet, He won’t force it on anyone because He only gives it to those who want it. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, every Christian can say, “With trust in God and a steadfast mind upon the rock of the Lord my God, I refuse to allow myself to become a victim and today I will abide in the joy and peace of Christ!”

Remember that the things of life that we let break us are the very things that produce the joy and perfect peace that we are after. A Christian doesn’t know the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but rather because of the tribulation. Happiness is dependent upon temporary reactions to external happenings. Joy is a strong, everlasting, and permanent internal state that is not affected by anything external.