I’m continuing the 31 day prayer challenge; in which a group of us are focusing and praying one verse per day (prepared by Kim Avery*). Today’s verse is…
“You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast (that is committed and focused on you in both inclination and character). Because he trusts and takes refuge in you (with hope and confident expectation).” Isaiah 26:3 (Amp).
Wow; how many of us want to walk in PERFECT peace? I know I do! This verse has really struck a chord with me especially right now. I have a few areas of my life that have been raising anxiety. I find myself waking up in the middle of the night with thoughts racing through my mind, which then increases my heart rate. So yes, please give me some of this perfect peace, Lord. Is it possible? Can we truly have perfect peace? In this world? At this time with a twittering president and twitchy North Korean leader?
Our church is in the middle of a 21 day fast and prayer time, during which the doors are open through the week for worship lunches. As I enter into worship and let the hundred + voices around me fade away, I hear God speak. He’s been healing some painful areas of my heart and showing me new truths and places of growth. I feel so light and full of peace by the end of the worship time. However, as I walk out of the church and back into the world, how long will that feeling last? An hour, til evening, a day? It seems to depend on what the day has in store for me. And therein lies the problem! I allow the circumstances that surround me to dictate my peace. What if I could keep my mind steadfast on the Lord? What if my natural inclination were to FIRST, before I react, before I respond to any situation, look to God and focus on what He says, His truths? What if I had a propensity to trust the Lord and take refuge in Him at all times? Matthew 28:20 says He is with me always. I have access to His presence and His power every moment of every day! If I walked in that realization at all times, of course I’d have perfect peace.
I do walk in more peace than many around me. I do trust the Lord to do abundantly more than I could ask or think (Eph. 3:20). However, I don’t have perfect peace, because I don’t trust perfectly and I don’t focus on Him perfectly. I allow myself to be overcome in the moment more times than I want. I allow the circumstances of this world to get to me. So I’m not yet complete. Therefore I have growth to do and I’m challenging myself to see how much I can grow in this area of my life in 2018. How much can I grow in allowing my heart and my mind to be focused and steady on the Lord and His ways? I want to trust Him fully even when it seems the world around me is collapsing.
I ask you, is it possible to walk in perfect peace, while perfectly keeping our mind steadfast on the Lord? When there are big bills ahead and not enough money coming in; like college costs? When a family member lashes out at us? When the diagnosis isn’t good? When the car breaks down and there isn’t money for repairs? When the ministry isn’t growing as hoped? When we’re being persecuted for our race, our religion, our status in society? When we’re trying to overcome the addiction? Is it possible? Why would it be in scripture if it wasn’t?
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12: 1 – 3 (NIV)