Today we continue our series, “Progress On Purpose.” I told you that God wants us to walk in “NEW LEVELS IN 2021!” But if we are going to do so, we must be intentional about our progress. With that in mind, as we lay the foundation for the year, I told you that I would discuss “Leveling Up” in five areas:
We have covered the first three thus far. Today we are looking at the fourth: Leveling up internally. In this section, I will cover the following:
1. Being anxious for nothing
2. Receiving unshakable peace
3. Joy and peace in believing
4. Relaxing your mind and getting physical/psychological rest
5. The highest form of faith is rest
Today’s message deals with the second. I am entitling it, “Perfect peace.”
Setting the stage:
(Isaiah 26:3 KJV)
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
The Prophet Isaiah teaches us that there is a “perfect peace” available to God’s children. The original Hebrew text actually reads, “peace peace.” It’s a double peace; a supernatural peace, a divine peace. But this peace is reserved for a certain group of believers. Isaiah tells us that this group of believers can keep their minds stayed/focused on God. I have already taught on the types of attacks satan wages upon the battleground of our minds. Satan wants to distract, derail and ultimately destroy us, and his attacks start in our minds. However, the person Isaiah describes is one who is able to withstand the attacks from satan and remain focused on God. This person resists every distraction. This person is not easily negatively persuaded or dissuaded. This person is focused.
While it is clear that some believers can focus on God despite a constant barrage of attempted distractions from satan, this morning, I ask the question, “Why?” What empowers him/her to focus with such persistence? What keeps their minds stayed on God? I believe the answer is found in the latter part of Isaiah’s statement. Isaiah makes the connection between focus and trust. Isaiah said, “Because he trusteth in thee.”
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. God has a part, and you have a part.
— Isaiah said, “God will keep you in perfect peace, if you keep your mind stayed/fixed on Him.” Do you see the two parts? If you want God to keep you in perfect peace (double peace), YOU have to keep YOUR mind fixed and focused on Him.
— It’s your mind. You can tell it what to think. If you control your mind, you will be in control of your life. However, if you don’t, and you allow your thoughts to run uncontrolled, you will live an unstable and unfruitful (unproductive) life.
— God has an amazing peace that He makes available to you. But for God to KEEP you in peace, you must KEEP your mind fixed and focused on Him. If you want to Level Up in 2021, you are going to have to Level Up your thought life!
2. Resting in the peace of God boils down to a matter of trust.
Let’s talk about trust.
a) Trusting someone’s presence. When you are around someone you trust, you put your guard down, and you allow your internal defenses to rest. You do this because you don’t have any fear or harm of wrongdoing. You feel at ease in their presence. This is especially true when you believe the person you are with can also protect you. Now apply this to God, and it is easy to see how we can enter into divine rest and peace when we acknowledge His presence. If you have a relationship with God and you know He is present at any given moment, it will be hard for the enemy to strip you of your peace. But when you don’t acknowledge His presence, you are susceptible to the attacks of the enemy.
b) Trusting someone’s intelligence/competence. For years I have been paid to be an expert in my field. While I don’t claim to know everything, I am expected to know certain things. When I give an answer, it is normally accepted as “the” answer because I don’t make it a practice to provide answers I don’t know (with certainty) to be correct. Since I built this reputation, people trust what I say. If that is true for me, then how much more should it be true for God. God knows ALL things. He knows your thoughts before you think them, your feelings before you feel them, and your decisions before you make them. If God says something to you, then you can trust Him and His Word. He has proven NEVER to be wrong. Therefore, standing a Word from God should give you peace, no matter the pressure you may feel from the world to believe or accept anything else.
c) Trust is built on performance. There is a certain level of trust that is given or assumed, but that level is very low. True trust is earned over time. When you consider the level of trust you have for any given person, what you are doing is actually considering their track record. The better the track record, the higher the trust. The weaker the track record, the lower the trust. If this is true, then you should trust God at the highest possible level. God never has, nor will He ever fail you. He has never lied to you. He has never said one thing and done another. He has never fallen short. Bottom line: God has never given you any reason NOT to trust Him. So you should trust God with all your heart, and this trust in a God who knows all things, who has all power, and who is in all places at the same time, should help you keep your peace intact, your hope on fire, and your faith focused.
3. A few final thoughts today on peace and trust.
a) God’s peace is a peace that baffles psychologists and psychiatrists. This peace cannot be figured out. It passes all comprehension (Phil 4:6,7). This peace is accessed through the vehicle of prayer. If you are a man/woman of prayer, you should also be a man/woman who enjoys the peace of God.
b) When you have God’s peace, you are not moved by the storms of life. When Isaiah talks about believers who keep their minds stayed on God, he is not saying these believers are doing so because they are exonerated from storms. No, on the contrary. They CHOOSE to keep their minds stayed on God in the middle of the storms. The peace of God is not about the absence of conflict, but rather about the presence of God. When God is present you can have peace internally, even when everything externally seems to be going haywire (see John 14:27).
c) More grace. Since God never promised us a perpetual picnic, and since we all face storms in life, we must rely on the grace of God. Oftentimes, when you ask for less challenge, God responds with more grace. God is not always going to deliver you FROM challenges, but He will give you the grace to overcome them—delivering you IN it, rather than FROM it (see 2 Cor 12:9).
d) Spend time at Jesus’ feet. What’s your issue? What are you dealing with? What is causing you stress, struggle, strain and strife? What is the thing that is keeping you up at night? To experience God’s best, which comes by His grace, you must spend time at Jesus’ feet. Humble yourself, worship your Lord, fall at His feet, call on His name, acknowledge His power, reverence His throne, and you will find that He will meet you where you are. Whether you are up or down, at the end of your rope or on the top of the world, struggling or sailing, in faith or afraid, in hope or in despair, Jesus is available to you today and there is a great exchange that takes place at His feet (see Mark 5:22 and 5:33).
e) The Father offers you a Great Exchange. He is willing to exchange your weariness for His rest. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” What a great deal! You bring him your heavy burdens and He is willing to do a one-for-one exchange for His rest. You won’t find a better deal anywhere (see Mat 11:38-30).
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I thank You for teaching me about Your perfect peace. This is made available to those who trust You. Therefore, I boldly declare that I do. I trust You with my whole heart. Some trust in the riches of this world; I trust in You as my source. Some trust in the protection of this world; I trust in You as my shield. Some trust in the intelligence of this world; I trust in You for divine wisdom. You have never let me down. You have never failed me. You are all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-present. I love You. I believe in You. I trust You. My trust in You fuels my faith and my peace. I enter this day in perfect peace because my mind is stayed on You, and I trust You. I LEVEL UP my life in 2021! GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith, in Jesus’s name. Amen!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!