Peace is possible even in our stressful,
troubled world. In Isaiah 26:3, the Bible promises that God “will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Here’s what it means to do that, so you can experience peace in any situation.
What Does ‘He Will Keep in Perfect Peace’ Mean?
Everyone who chooses to keep their minds steadfast because they trust in God can count on experiencing perfect peace while they do so, according to this verse. That means you can enjoy a state of perfect peace as long as you focus your mind from beyond your circumstances to God, and trust him to help you no matter what. As a result of choosing to trust God, you welcome God’s peace into your mind.
Some people chase after peace of mind from worldly achievements, such as through wealth. Good circumstances may help you enjoy a temporary feeling of peace. However, only God can actually provide complete and lasting peace. God, who alone is perfect, is the only reliable source of peace. Thankfully, God is willing to give that perfect peace to everyone who decides to trust him to provide it.
Trusting God involves being at peace with God through Jesus Christ since Jesus made it possible for all humanity to have relationships with God. Ephesians 2:14 says about Jesus: “For he himself is our peace” and Ephesians 2:17-18 points out that, “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”
When we have that close connection to God, we can experience peace even during the most challenging circumstances, because “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
John Gills Commentary puts it this way: “this peace is true, real, and solid; in which sense the word “perfect” is used, in opposition to a false and imaginary one; and it will end in perfect peace in heaven: moreover, the word “perfect” is not in the Hebrew text, it is there “peace, peace”; which is doubled to denote the certainty of it, the enjoyment of it, and the constancy and continuance of it; and as expressive of all sorts of peace, which God grants unto his people, and keeps for them, and them in; as peace with God and peace with men, peace outward and peace inward, peace here and peace hereafter; and particularly it denotes the abundance of peace that believers will have in the kingdom of Christ in the latter day.”
What Is the Context and Background of Isaiah 26:3?
Isaiah 26:3 is part of a song of praise in which the biblical prophet Isaiah celebrates God’s trustworthiness to provide all that people need, including their ultimate need: salvation. Isaiah sings about how Israel will be judged for their sins yet also restored by God, in his mercy. Isaiah predicts that God will save people from their sins. Although people may sometimes be faithless toward God, God will always be faithful to his people, Isaiah emphasizes. God is willing to redeem and restore, and his perfect peace enters the souls of all who decide to trust him.
So, Isaiah urges readers to trust in God. He writes that it is “because they trust” in God that God “will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast”. The very next verse after Isaiah 26:3 emphasizes trust: “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:4).
How Can We Be Sure That We Will Be Kept in Perfect Peace?
We can be sure that God will keep us in perfect peace. The Holy Spirit will renew our minds whenever we ask for help doing what’s necessary to be at peace: focusing on God and trusting him. Romans 12:2 urges us all: “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 pleasing and perfect will.” The Spirit will help us access the perfect peace that God offers us. Jesus promises in John 14:26-27: “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 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.”
Peace is one of the nine “fruit of the Spirit” listed in Galatians 5:22-23. As you invite the Holy Spirit to renew your mind, you can count on the Spirit’s help to do what Isaiah 26:3 calls you to do: trust in God with a steadfast mind.
A powerful way to pursue peace is to pursue wonder because experiencing wonder expands your awareness of God’s work in your life, and that gives you the assurance you need to trust God and be at peace. In my book Wake Up to Wonder, I tell the story of how one of my grandmothers, Nana, struggled to find peace at the end of her life, but ultimately found it when we prayed together. The trust exercise I suggested to Nana has helped me many times, and it can be a wonderful way for anyone to seek the perfect peace that only comes from God. Here’s how it works: Visualize Jesus on the cross, and visualize the specific things that are troubling you. Then see yourself walking toward Jesus and laying those things down at the foot of the cross for him to take care of for you. Through a brief prayer, ask Jesus for help with every specific thing you’ve left there for him. Entrust it all to his care. See yourself walk away afterward, with your mind and heart open to receiving peace from Jesus.
Prayer ushers peace into your heart and mind, according to Philippians 4:6-7, which says: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Characteristics of God’s Perfect Peace
We can be confident that the perfect peace God gives us will last. The temporary peace of mind we may find from good circumstances in our lives can relieve some stress and anxiety for a while. However, the peace that God gives isn’t limited to certain times or tied to specific circumstances. The perfect peace of God is much more than simply the absence of stress and anxiety; it’s a deep and abiding knowledge of being loved and cared for by God no matter what. Although that peace is beyond our understanding, it will guard our hearts and minds, promises Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Psalm 139 describes how near God’s Spirit is to us at all times and in all places. Verses 7-10 point out: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” We can be sure that we’re never out of the Holy Spirit’s reach. So, we’re always able to access the perfect peace that God offers us through his Spirit. After celebrating God’s sovereignty over all circumstances in life, the psalmist ends with a plea for God to renews his mind: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
That can be our prayer in any situation. When we pray to experience God’s peace through a steadfast mind that is focused on him, we can count on that happening. The Holy Spirit will strengthen our faith by renewing our minds, and peace will come to us as a result. “Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 5:1 explains.
When you follow the advice of Isaiah 26:3, you can be confident that you’ll experience perfect peace from God. Simply ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind whenever you need help centering your focus on God. The Spirit may direct your attention to a wondrous sign of God’s work in your life, or simply quiet your mind. In the process, perfect peace will flow into your soul!
A Prayer for Perfect Peace
Dear Lord, Help me remember you are indeed Lord of my life. You have the right to rule all that I think, believe and do. When I allow my mind to run to places that destroy my peace, remind me these are unauthorized thoughts. You do not want me to dwell on thoughts and emotions that contribute to unreasonable fears.
I know my mind will remain in perfect peace as I fix my thoughts on you; so Lord Jesus, let your peace rule in my heart. Remind me of the peace I have in your family, and teach me how to be thankful for those circumstances that cause me to run to you, focus on you, and abide in you. I never need live with fearful, anxious thoughts. The truth is, you are in control! (by Dawn Wilson, Prayers to Help You Exchange Anxiety and Fear for Peace)