“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” -Isaiah 26:3 ESV
My husband encouraged me to meditate on this verse, because lately, I’ve been feeling pretty anxious and fearful about the future.
Meditating on this passage
Meditation is biblical, but there is a way to meditate that’s in line with God’s Word and a way that’s not. No where in the Bible does God command us to empty our minds or repeat mantras in a way that many understand meditation today. What God does say about meditation is found in Psalm 1:2 ESV which says, “but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” In other words, proper, biblical meditation is actively thoughtful. It involves deep reflection on the Word and ways of God and how to apply the truth to our lives. Knowing what the Bible says is one thing, but applying the teachings is where transformation happens.
As I meditate on this verse in that way, the truth that comes to mind is this:
When we put all our trust in Jesus, He will keep us in perfect peace.
Living in perfect peace
Easier said than done! The Lord has been convicting me through recent experiences and a message at church that I have been applying this truth circumstantially (and not very well, I might add) and forgetting that when our eyes are fixed on Jesus, when all of our trust is truly in Him, we experience this perfect peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
This is not a one-time thing. It’s a constant decision and I’ve been getting that wrong in this area of my walk with the Lord. The best way I can describe it is like how I have been treating some shoulder pain I’ve been having recently. When they hurt, I take a Tylenol or rest on the couch, which provides relief, but I’m not getting to the root of the issue. Why do my shoulders hurt? What could I be doing to adjust my posture or strengthen and loosen my muscles? A lot!
It’s the same with this scripture passage. When I’m fearful and anxious, I focus on my breathing, I lie down, I vent (complain), I’ll even say a quick prayer or remember scripture passages like Philippians 4:6 (sadly, oftentimes an afterthought). I’ll find some peace in the moment, but when anxiety hits again, I fumble through this same process. Does that sound like perfect peace?
God’s Word is not meant to be used like Tylenol
I’ve been treating this truth like Tylenol. I remember helpful verses in the moment and it provides temporary relief. But what if I take it a step further and make prayer and meditation my first response? And even when the fears and anxiousness subside, what if I continued meditating on the truth that we do not need to fear because God is with us and promises to strengthen us (Isaiah 41:10)? What if I incorporated that into more of my praise and worship and regularly confessed where my trust is weak? Wouldn’t that be a better, wiser approach?
Coping with fear and anxiety
Again, easier said than done. But, I wanted to share these thoughts with you today, because many close to me, including myself, are wrestling with anxiety and fears of all kinds, so I think it’s safe to assume many of you are with us in these struggles. You’re not alone! And I know God intends to grow us through it.
How are you coping with fear and anxiety? Are you trusting God fully? Are you trusting He is faithful to keep His promises? That He will care for you when you bring your anxieties to Him (1 Peter 5:7)? That He will keep you in perfect peace when you submit your thoughts to Him and trust Him fully with everything?
Keep your thoughts fixed on Him. I’ll leave you with one more verse so we can all learn to better apply these truths to our lives at all times and experience His promise of perfect peace:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” -Philippians 4:8-9 ESV
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