Saturday, March 31, 2012

Perfect Peace - True Peace is a Person

True Peace is a Person?

This is the 4th post in the Perfect Peace series. You can find the others by scrolling down a bit or looking on the right sidebar for the label "Perfect Peace - Hope for the Weary Soul." Last time, we talked about the Foundation of True Peace (something that has to be in place for us to ever experience real peace inside). Feel free to read it if you're just starting now. Basically, we're talking about the need for our hearts to be at peace with God, and what keeps that from being real.

In earlier posts, I’ve talked about what Perfect Peace is. The secret is found in this Scripture (and in dozens more like it, which we’ll meditate on in future posts):

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You,because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)

Do you see the promise here? What is being offered to us? Perfect Peace. Do you also see what this perfect peace hinges on? What makes it possible?

You will keep him…”  “…whose mind is stayed on You…”  “…because he trusts in You.”

You, you, you (not you or me, but Him).

Perfect Peace is not an elusive state of mind or the mere absence of trouble in one’s life. It’s found in a close relationship with a Person. The Scriptures tell us this person is Jesus Christ. Jesus is “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb 1:3). Jesus is the "You" Isaiah is talking about. Perfect Peace is held out to us as a promise by God to those who keep their minds “stayed” (focused, set or fixed) on Christ.

You might think, well, I already know Jesus; I am a Christian (I’m sure that’s true for many reading this blog). So then…you already know the secret to Perfect Peace.

Then why do you still fret and worry?

I’m not trying to confuse you or make this complicated. But clearly there is more to experiencing Perfect Peace than just being a Christian. If Perfect Peace came automatically with conversion, Christians would never worry or fear, never become anxious, never fret.

If you’re like me, you’ve known moments of real peace. Moments when you’ve trusted God fully for your life, for everything going on in your life. And in those moments, you knew real peace. The problem is…the word “moments.”

The moments didn’t last.

The promise of Isaiah 26:3 is not to have moments of peace in our lives. The promise is that God would “keep us in Perfect Peace.” This sounds a lot more stable and lasting than mere moments.

So why is it that most of us only know moments of peace?

I believe the problem stems from our embedded tendency to want to live independent from God. Simply put, we don’t want to need God as much as we do.

Think about the first thing Adam and Eve did after The Fall. They hid from God and tried to fix the problem themselves. This is the inherited tendency of all mankind. We’d prefer it if God would make this perfect peace something we receive once, then it stays with us the rest of our lives, regardless of how close to God we live, day to day.

It is true we experience peace with God when we are saved (what we looked at last time). In that, His wrath is removed from us and we are no longer His enemies. But the peace that calms our fears and worries, the peace that assures us everything will be okay (even when it seems things are anything but)…this peace is not something that comes once in full measure, and stays with us the rest of our lives.

But I don’t need to tell you that. You already know this (it’s why you’re reading this blog). The perfect peace Isaiah is referring to is not a one-time gift given at conversion. It’s a gift given to those who draw near to God each day and stay near to God throughout the day.

Because this peace is a person. It is directly connected to the level of relationship we maintain with Jesus Christ. He will keep us in perfect peace when our minds are stayed on Him. Jesus enjoyed this peace and experienced it every day on earth, because He kept His mind stayed on His Father. He wants us to enjoy this same level of peace as we keep our minds stayed on Him.

To help us experience this grace, Jesus gives us a wonderful gift. The gift of Himself. God is willing to relate to us in a day to day, abiding relationship.

Next time we'll talk what the Lord has done to make it possible for us to experience an ever-deepening relationship with Him, so that we can experience a fresh dose of God's peace every day.

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