Practical Steps to Peace
One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
I believe this truth. Peace is not an elusive, intangible, lofty concept. Yet, it often eludes us. As Christians, we have experienced peace with God through our redemption, but many never live in the freedom Christ brings into our hearts and minds as we seek to be transformed into His likeness. But why? Who wouldn’t want to know a peace that passes our understanding?
The Simple Path to Peace
There are so many deep truths hidden in Isaiah 26:3, and yet the solution to a mind at peace is simple – it begins with thinking about Christ. As I studied each word and looked up its definitions, I saw an even greater depth. Here are some of my takeaways:
- God does the keeping. We try in vain to create our own peace when He is the author of peace (Ephesians 2:14). We lose our ability to rest in Christ when we forge our own path.
- God protects and guards those who are abiding in Him. He guards our peace as we find our joy in Him (Philippians 4:7).
- The Hebrew word for “perfect” and “peace” are the same. I believe it is used for emphasis to say that we are given shalowm, a perfectly complete spiritual peace — not just through salvation but in our spiritual growth too. There is a peace over our eternal destination but also a daily abiding peace for those who trust in God.
- This completeness is given to those whose mind is stayed on God, the keeper and protector of our minds. While salvation brings peace with God and restores our relationship, our minds must be daily focused on Him to experience this tranquility of soul. Reading Scripture is a must for this peace!
- The word for mind is yetser and refers to our thoughts and imagination. Our imagination is the center of moral reflection. Our minds should dwell on and be immersed in truth (John 17:17, John 8:32).
- The Hebrew word for stayed is camak and means to prop up as to rest upon something; to be supported; to be held. Our minds are to be held and detained by the power of God and the truth of His words.
- Why does God keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him? Because this means a person trusts God. They set their hope and confidence in God. God rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). The result is a mind at peace even in the midst of this dark world.
Why We Lack Peace
Our world is riddled with paralyzing fear. This fear is not relegated to those without Christ; not just to the enemies of God. Fear is also seen within the heart and minds of believers; it is a part of the human condition. Recent world events have revealed where many are lacking in peace. However, God’s peace is not of this world and can never be found outside of Christ.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
If we don’t want anxiety to rule over us, Jesus must rule and reign in our minds. He is not reigning where He is not being glorified. And He is not glorified when He is an afterthought or completely ignored until Sunday service. Walking with God requires time and intention.
The Disciplined Path to Peace
Forfeiting our time with God today forfeits His peace in our minds moving forward. We won’t be prepared to meet future challenges without spending time with Him today. Our character grows and builds upon our present actions.
Life is definitely busy, and our minds are overwhelmed with work family, ministry, etc. But we will only be “doing” and not “living” without the power of God in our lives.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to settle for less than God’s best — less than the abundant life promised through Christ.
Those who abide on the vine will be bearing healthy fruit — fruit He gives and blesses – the best fruit! Many Christians lack fruit because they aren’t disciplined in keeping their minds on Christ. They let their flesh rule them and just don’t make a plan to spend time learning and becoming.
To wrestle with our flesh, we must make a plan. We need to know what and where to go to avoid wasting the time set aside to read His word by searching for where to begin. We need to think through when we will read our Bible, what Bible we will use, what study will we read, what reading plan or app will we use, what goals can we realistically set, and what in our lives needs to be strengthened by the truth of God’s Word. Making a plan to keep our minds stayed on God is the next right thing.
Practical Steps to Having a “Stayed” Mind: One Detained and Held by God
For busy moms: (these can be adapted for whatever season we are in)
- Commit to 30 minutes of nap time or after they go to bed to read, pray, and think on truth.
- Put headphones on while kids play and you are folding laundry and listening to the Bible on audio. Instead of listening to a podcast or devotion, consider listening to a section of Scripture to meditate and chew on.
- Read the Bible to your kids.
- Play truth-filled music in your home throughout the day.
- Listen to an audio version of Scripture while waiting in a pick-up line or class. Or download a Bible app and read in the down time.
- Hang verses around your house where you spend a lot of time. Read them often and pray for it to be real in your life.
- If you still think you have absolutely no time for being alone with God, trade off with another mom, ask a family member to help, or hire a babysitter. Women ask for help to get their nails/hair done, go grocery shopping, work from home, or have a girl’s night out. If we can do it for those things, how much greater for our spiritual health.
- Linger at the table with your family and read a verse together.
The truth is that we have more time than we think we do. I would challenge you to put a piece of paper on the fridge and record everything you do in a day or a full week. Then notice how much time you spend on social media, Netflix, reading other books, exercising, shopping, etc. Be honest about where your time is going. Circle the times you could create room for the discipline of Bible study. This is your next right step.
Deep down, in my own life, when I am “too busy” to direct my thoughts to the Lord and spend time with Him through prayer or Bible study, it really hasn’t been about time. It’s often a failure to prioritize God in the time I had. I neglected to value the relationship the way I should. It took wrestling with the Lord and seeking a desire through a study of Psalm 119 to remind me of the power of God’s word in my life. Once we realize it, it changes us and makes us thirsty for more. After awhile, its absence will be quickly noticed and missed.
Obstacles for finding the time:
- Poor time-management – some struggle to plan and use their time wisely. Find an organizational tool to help manage it better.
- Being unmotivated – some don’t have an intrinsic desire toward growth without accountability. I believe this grows with maturity. We start as we want to carry on. When we come to a place of desiring true peace, we will find the motivation.
- Problems overwhelm us – some are so burdened with the cares of this world that they can’t think straight. But the solution to overcoming this is not avoiding God or His Word – it is allowing God to carry it and to strengthen us through His words to us in the quiet moments together.
- No concept of time – some people underestimate how much time it takes to do things and are either running late or missing opportunities. If you give yourself 10 minutes to read Psalm 119, you have underestimated the length of the chapter and time required. Be realistic!
Priorities matter. Which ones could be changed or forfeited for the sake of finding peace?
Mature and healthy individuals do not neglect life and death responsibilities. We feed ourselves and our children…even our pets if we have them. We pay our bills so we don’t forfeit the provider’s services. And yet, when the spiritual needs of our souls are in need of care, we neglect to be filled with the life-giving words of Scripture. We forget to give thanks and pray in and for all things.
Shifting our Attentions
What if instead of a duty, we could see time with God as restorative?
Netflix provides mindless entertainment — a diversion from the problems of the day. But what if we viewed Scripture and prayer as a tool of diversion – a time of rest and refreshment? A time to realign our hearts and minds after long days?
Merriam Webster defines entertainment as amusement or diversion: something engaging that brings delight and enjoyment.
To divert means to give pleasure to especially by distracting the attention from what burdens or distresses. Read that again. Entertainment is meant to distract you from your burdens and distresses of life. But it is temporary. Who can go beyond distracting us from our troubles to actually carrying them for us and providing peace in the midst of them?
Jesus. Only Jesus. Jesus is the Word. And the Word is the light of men.
I would suggest that Scripture can divert our attentions in a healthy way. It helps us to turn aside from sin and cynicism toward holiness and joy. Why would we not run to it?
So, do you really want peace? Consider Isaiah 26:3. Are you willing to take practical steps today toward abiding in Christ and learning to trust Him through studying Scripture? Will you forfeit His peace for a few moments of fleeting pleasure?
Peace is worth seeking. The author of Peace is waiting to meet you there!
What is your next right step toward walking Christ’s path to peace?
Hello dear friend!
This verse was on my mind this week. And here it is in your writing. My son has been struggling lately with his new job, the circumstances of why he was fired from his previous job of 5 years where he went over and above what he was required to do. He still is struggling from his dad not being there for him emotionally all those years and even now. So this verse came to mind to share with him to encourage him.
It’s a tough time of the year for me and I struggle with the marriage failing. November 5th would have been 27 years had it not failed. My mom passed away nine years ago this past October. She is with the Lord in Heaven but I miss her deeply. I miss very much the family gatherings with my ex-husband’s family this time of year as we move into the holiday season. And yet in the midst of heartache God has blessed me with two wonderful sons that are with me each holiday season. My dad and stepmom and her mother by God’s grace and mercy survived Covid this past summer. I look forward to being with them and my brother’s family. God has blessed me with genuine, real sisters in Christ who love me and encourage me.
But more than all these blessings, I need the peace of Christ to hold me together. To let my thoughts be consumed with Him and not let life or the failures of the past consume my thoughts.
Several ways I increase my time in the Word daily are having my Bible open on my kitchen table propped up in a book stand. I found one on Amazon that holds it up quite well. I also have the Our Daily Bread devotional open to the day’s reading propped up on a small picture easel. When I exercise at the gym I have my Ellipsis pad on my machine of choice and open my Bible app and read thru the Psalms. I just finished Psalm 119 yesterday. In the evening when I am grooming my dogs I open my Bible Gateway app and listen to it. I am currently going thru the book of Acts. Grooming my dogs and the cats can take up to an hour sometimes. 😸😸
And in the bathroom I have several daily devotionals I read thru as well. Days of Praise, Turning Point, and In Touch.
Thank you, Terri, for encouraging me to keep my mind stayed on Christ. His peace is true, it’s real and it is stronger than any fear or anxiety that I encounter in my daily life.
Love you!! 💗💗