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Wednesday, October 26 2022

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

INTRODUCTION

So far in this exciting journey of following God’s plan for our lives we have studied what God’s plan for us is, how we can identify and live in His purpose, how the Holy Spirit leads us, etc. We were also made aware that our arch enemy; the devil seeks to thwart God’s plan for us and last week we concluded the section about the consequences of being out of God's plan. This week we will be commencing the concluding part of this year’s study. This final section aims to answer the “what’s in it for me?” question, as we consider the first of 7 parts of the benefits of being in God's plan for our lives, titled: “Perfect Peace”

Isaiah 26:3 (AMP)
“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].”

I. THE PROMISE
“You will keep in perfect and constant peace”

Many people do not appreciate the value of the perfect peace God promises until they lose it! Perfect peace is not the absence of chaos but an overwhelming calmness despite being surrounded by chaos. To be asleep like Jesus in the middle of a raging storm. (Matthew 8:23-27)
Psalm 119:165 says: Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble."
Psalm 29:11: "The Lord gives strength to his people, and the Lord blesses his people with peace."
John 14:27 says: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

This peace is Perfect and Constant
In Hebrew, the term perfect peace is actually shalom shalom. This Perfect Peace is one that is absolute and complete. Peace with God (Romans 5:1), peace with yourself (Psalm 4:8) and peace with others - even with your enemies (Proverbs 16:7). Peace in all circumstances and situations and one that surpasses human understanding. In other words, the human mind cannot fathom it! Philippians 4:7 says: “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Constant Peace is one that is occurring continuously; never ending and never changing! Not here today and gone tomorrow; like the world offers!

Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."

Zephaniah 3:17 "The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing."
Also, note that the promise does not say the Lord will give us perfect and constant peace; but that He will KEEP US IN perfect and constant peace.
It is therefore, not just having perfect peace but living it and living in it! Perfect peace thus becomes a lifestyle as well as a dwelling place!

II.CONDITION #1
“the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character]:
The only guaranteed way of keeping our minds steadfast, committed and focused on the Lord is by following after His plan and purpose for our lives.
Isaiah 57:20 tells us that there is no peace for the wicked - those who are working contrary to God’s plan and purpose for their lives.
“But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud.” [NIV]
On Sunday we learnt that whenever there is a promise of God that comes with a condition, we should focus on and fulfil the condition and the blessings will come naturally.

This is a practical example.

The condition here is that a person’s mind is steadfast, committed and focused on the Lord – in both inclination and character. This is not an occasional or seldom commitment or focus of one’s mind on the Lord but a continuous and consistent steadfast resolve.

Many times, we commonize the mind and lay all emphasis on the spirit. But here the Bible reveals the importance of engaging our minds as well when it comes to our relationship with the Lord.

Matthew 22:37 says: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”

To be kept in this perfect peace, our minds cannot occasionally come to and lean upon the LORD; it has to be steadfast or stayed on Him.

According to Strong’s Dictionary, the Hebrew word sawmak used in this verse comes from the root “to prop,” and has the idea “to lean upon, stand fast, stay, etc.

To be kept in this perfect peace, our minds must be stayed on the Lord or steadfast on the Lord and nothing or no one else. Not on ourselves, not on others, not on our problems, or the problem people in our lives. And not on their possessions (Isaiah 31:1)

The AMP version expanded our anchor text with the addition of two important words:
Inclination and Character
Inclination is a person’s natural tendency to act in a particular way. And a person’s character refers to the sum of the moral qualities possessed by that person. It is the makeup of a person.
So keeping their minds stayed on the Lord is their nature; not only when it is convenient for them; they do not pick and choose when to be steadfast with the Lord. This condition has become their default mode. Psalm 1:1-2 characterises this further – they do not follow
the advice of wicked people, take the path of sinners, or join the company of mockers. Instead, they delight in the law of the Lord, and habitually meditate on it day and night.
They remain steadfast and committed to the Lord in season and out of season. There is no downtime for them; they live in the will of God and follow Him as sheep follow a shepherd. Psalm 23

III. CONDITION #2
“Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].”
The second reason God keeps us in perfect and constant peace is because we trust and take refuge in Him. It is a given that you keep your mind stayed on whatever you are trusting. When we trust the LORD, we keep our mind stayed on Him. We give no room for doubts. We trust with hope and confident expectation.
James 1:6b – 7 says: “A person who has doubts is like a wave that is blown by the wind and tossed by the sea. A person who has doubts shouldn’t expect to receive anything from the Lord.”
To take refuge is to find a safe place;
It is only the knowledge of the Word of God that can bring us to a place where we can trust the Lord to the point where we are stayed on Him and seek refuge in Him.

Psalm 9:10 says “And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.”
Proverbs 18:10 (NKJV) says: “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.”
This confident hope can only be attained by a person who is following after God’s plan; being led by the Spirit of God and the result is the being kept in perfect peace.
Proverbs 3:5 says: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding."
The word for lean in Proverbs 3:5 comes from the same root as the word stayed in Isaiah 26:3.

CONCLUSION
The songwriter says: “Oh what peace we often forfeit . . . all because we do not carry everything to God in prayers”
We pray to the Lord because we trust in Him; and because we trust in Him, our minds are stayed on Him and we consequently are kept in perfect peace. So unlike the lyrics of the hymn, we do not forfeit our peace. (Philippians 4:6-7)
The perfect and constant peace the Lord offers to keep those who follow after His will in is one that is all encompassing. Peace with God, peace with yourself and peace with others.
Peace in all circumstances and situations.
It is a calm confidence that keep us unruffled regardless of whatever comes our way because we know that the One who keeps us neither slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121:4). That He covers us with the wings of His feathers and keeps His angels charge over us (Psalm 91) and that by Him we can run against a troop, and leap over a wall (Psalm 18:29).
Shalom! Shalom!!

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 02:14 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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