You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. – Isaiah 26:3-4 ESV
Isaiah 26 has a promise of perfect peace. That sure sounds nice, especially during one of the busiest times of year. As easy as it would be to simply say, “God promises me perfect peace! Yay!” There’s a couple things that need to be considered in this passage in addition to that.
There are two types of promises in the scriptures, unconditional promises and conditional promises. Unconditional promises are the ones that we don’t have to do anything to get and conditional promise are ones that requires something of us first. The easiest type of conditional promise to see is the “If you…, then God …” format. For example, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15 ESV). The “if’ section is clearly defined in that passage.
Other verses are conditional promises but don’t contain the word “if”. Isaiah 26:3 is an example of this. Yes, it promises us perfect peace, but there’s a condition to it. In order to receive the promise of perfect piece, first I must stay my mind on God, meaning I must keep my mind focused on God.
The second things this verse tells me is how to stay my mind. It’s easy to say I’m going to stay my mind on Him. Then as the day gets busy and the world starts trying to distract me, I wander and lost my focus. As my focus wanders away, so does my peace. Fortunately for me, God tells me how to keep my focus on Him: trust Him. The person who trusts God is able to keep their mind focused on God and will reap the benefit of perfect peace.
Merriam-Webster defines trust as, “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” In order to have a firm belief in God’s reliability, truth, ability, or strength, we have to first know what His reliability, truth, ability, or strength are. We gain trust in God through two ways. One, we find it out through personal experience with Him. This can be different things in our lives, but many times it’s some kind of experience where we ask Him for something and we see the results. Because of that, we choose to have more trust in Him. The second way is through the scriptures. We see a promise in the Word and we choose to put our trust in it, even though we’ve personally not experienced it. For me, the second way is much harder but reaps much greater benefit when I do it.
I wish that this was a one-time process. Instead, this process is cyclical. Once you’ve started trusting in Him, you begin to reap the promises. Then, because you’ve seen the blessings, you begin to trust Him deeper and the promises become more real. This process of trusting more and reaping more continues for our whole lives. Our relationship with God should never be static or boring. God is always calling us deeper in and blessing us more and more. Verse 4 of Isaiah 26 says, “Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.” The stability of God compared to the ups and downs of life is like waves against a rock. God never moves or budges, no matter how much we do and no matter how much life throws at us. We can trust Him forever and stay our mind on Him, because He is a rock today and always.