In Perfect Peace

In Perfect Peace

by Bob Burridge ©2011

Peace is a powerful word. We understand it to mean that which is left when things that disturb us are taken away. Depending upon what disturbances we have in mind, peace can mean different things.

Commonly speaking, peace might be those times when we can relax with nothing demanding our attention. It’s when there are no unwanted noises, no interruptions, no nagging issues on our minds that disturb us. It’s when we can read or work on something without annoying phone solicitors asking us to take what they prefer to call a survey. It’s when you settle back to watch a movie and your neighbor doesn’t decide to make that his time to mow the lawn.

Peace can be those treasured moments when we’re free from conflicts. It’s when there’s no yelling in the home. It’s when nations aren’t waging war with one another.

On another level, it’s that rest of the soul when our worries and anxieties are gone, or at least forgotten for the moment. It can be the security we feel when we aren’t being personally threatened by things around us, or by fears that come from deep inside.

God our Creator promises a very special kind of peace which he grants to the person who rests confidently in his all powerful love, redemption, and care.

In Isaiah 26:3 we have God’s promise to those who trust in his promises and provisions:

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

This verse is part of a song, a poetic section about God’s promise to protect Jerusalem, particularly the citizens of that holy city which at that time represented the church of God.

The expression “perfect peace” is actually one word repeated twice in the original Hebrew text. It says that God will keep the person in “peace, peace” shalom shalom (שלום שלום). In Hebrew repeating a word in that way intensifies it, almost as if it was saying, “peaceful peace”.

Not everyone is promised this perfect peace. It comes to those whose minds are focused on God. This is how our minds were designed to work.

That which fills our minds shapes our attitudes, values, and thoughts. Fill the mind with bad things, and all that it does will be molded to the shape of what is bad. Fill the redeemed mind with good things, and its work will be conforming to what pleases God.

In Philippians 4:8 Paul says:

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

When the mind is restored to fellowship with it’s Creator through Christ the Redeemer, it’s a work of grace. By it a person is enabled to trust all that God has said. By steadfastly keeping God-honoring things at the center of his thoughts he experiences this perfect peace.

Those who steadfastly focus on the wonders of the Living God reveal his grace at work on their hearts. It demonstrates that they trust in him. His promises and power have taken over the center of their awareness. They know that no enemy can turn the Creator’s eternal plans around. Nothing is too hard for God, and he does all things well.

This filling of the mind with God-centered thoughts is no mere psychological exercise. It’s not a power that lies in our positive thinking. What the Bible speaks of here is not the result of the person’s own efforts. It is God himself who keeps that person in perfect peace. By the infallibly successful work of grace the turmoil of the soul is settled into a secure assurance that circumstances and conditions are part of a larger purpose, a good purpose.

Through hard times as well as in times of blessing, there is peace for those who trust God. These are the thoughts behind the 23rd Psalm’s verse 4,
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

God may at times bless us with peaceful circumstances and surroundings. But even in the times when sin’s deformations make our enemies oppress us, even then there is that peace that surpasses the world’s comprehension. This is the promise of God to those he rescues from the bondage of darkness, and sets them free to walk in the light. When we focus on that assurance and the power and grace behind it we grow in our realization of the peace our Creator provides for his children.

(Note: The Bible quotations in this article are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted.)

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About Bob Burridge

I've taught Science, Bible, Math, Computer Programming and served 25 years as Pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Pinellas Park, Florida. I'm now Executive Director of the ministry of the Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies

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