That’s it! That’s what I want. Perfect peace. Don’t you?
Our ideas of what perfect peace might look like probably differ. The way to obtain that peace, though, is the same for everyone.
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you.” (Isaiah 26:3)
When I read verses like this, I immediately start asking God, “How?” I want to know how to trust in him in a way where I “keep in perfect peace,” and I want to know how to keep my thoughts fixed on him.
How to Keep in Perfect Peace
Fortunately, God answers those questions elsewhere in the Bible. Here are just a few examples.
Keep short accounts.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for the whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Matthew 5:27-30)
This verse may at first seem out of place here but just hang in with me for a minute. It’s getting at the idea of keeping short accounts by stopping mental sins. In fact, it’s telling us to be brutal in doing so because if we can keep them from becoming actions, we’ll save ourselves and others a lot of pain.
In other words, keep short accounts with God. Admit and repent of any and all sin as quickly as possible. Doing so is necessary for perfect peace.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
Instead of conforming to the pattern of the world and living out what we conceive of in our thoughts, we are to be transformed. This happens as we let God’s Holy Spirit renew us from within by directing our attitudes and intentions toward God’s will.
When we are transformed by God, we find our places within his will. And within his will is where perfect peace is found and kept.
Get the mind of Christ.
“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such person is not subject to merely human judgment, for ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:14-16)
Through the Holy Spirit, we can see life from Christ’s point of view. We can operate based on his values and desires. This also means we can think God’s thoughts instead of thinking how the world thinks. The Holy Spirit leads us to humility, compassion and dependence on God, all of which Jesus lived out during his time here on earth.
Fix your thoughts.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Notice how all of this (meaning, this point as well as the other three) takes place within our minds. That in itself is significant since it tells us that so much of the battle and growth and struggle as well as victory we have as Christians takes place in unseen places.
Specifically to this point, though, comes the idea of how focus determines reality. Whatever we focus on will create the reality of our lives. Christ is all of these things, so focusing on him will direct our reality toward the perfect peace our heavenly Father offers.
Only by daily dwelling in God’s word do we find the answers to our questions. In his word, he tells us how to “keep in perfect peace,” and he tells us how to fix our thoughts on him. Simply spending time with him leads us to the answers we need.
Keeping in perfect peace comes through pursuing Christ. It comes by letting our minds be saturated with all that he is and offers us through his Holy Spirit.
Whatever your vision of perfect peace looks like, I can promise you it can only happen through Christ.