Day 10: “Kept in Shalom”
Do you ever feel like you are drowning in your doubts and fears? Have you tried to trust God but keep falling back into self-reliance? How do we stay in a place of perfect peace and trust in God’s promises?
“You keep him in perfect peace (Shalom) whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” – Isaiah 26:3
When our minds are focused on Jesus and we are trusting Him with every aspect of our lives, we cannot help but have that nothing-broken-nothing-missing peace He desires for us. As everything we are is surrendered to the reality of our union with Christ, we find ourselves in a state of beautiful bliss and wholeness, really believing that “if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) But when we take our eyes off of Jesus, like Peter did when he tried to walk on the water (Matthew 14:28-33), we begin to sink into the chaos and fears of this life. One look away from Jesus and toward the waves around us that threaten to consume everything, and the next thing we know we are drowning in our worry and the consequences of the false shaloms we looked to instead of Him. All of us have sunk before, yes, even the most seasoned disciples who have done great things for the kingdom.
At the heart of our sinking is our doubt. Like Peter, our minds question the reality of Jesus and His power to save and sustain us. Can He really save us from drowning? Can we really have perfect peace and “walk on the water” in the midst of life’s storms? Is God’s Word really true? The worries and fears of life, as well as all the world’s seductive possibilities of temporary power, prosperity, and pleasure, easily take our minds off of the promises of God. Our minds exit “Jesus mode” and go back to “default mode” which is fear-based self-reliance.
The beauty of God’s promises for His people is that He is the one who ultimately keeps us in that perfect peace even when we do start to sink away, and our fragile minds forget the reality of who we are in Christ. He will never let us sink all the way, but He will let us sink to the point where we cry out yet again, “Lord, save me!” And He does… again… and again… and again…. He graciously reaches down through all the things threatening to drown us, and with tender firmness pulls us out of our “mud and mire” and sets our feet once again on the firm rock of His love and promises (Psalm 40:1-2). Why? Why does He do it that way? Because He knows we can’t have perfect peace unless our minds are stayed on Him, and the way our minds learn to “stay on Him” is through experiencing over and over again His faithfulness despite our unfaithfulness, His consistency despite our inconsistency, His promise-keeping despite our promise-breaking, His covenant love despite our covenant betrayal, and His truth despite our lies.
“But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love…. Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to Him who alone is God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are His before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen!” (Jude 20–21, 24-25)
1. Take some time to repent to the Lord for the ways you have taken your eyes off of Jesus. Write out the ways you have seen yourself and your community sink away from God’s perfect peace when that has happened. Be real and honest.
2. Cry out to the Lord and ask God to lift you back up and give you His perfect peace. Ask God to grant you faith and to keep your mind focused fully on Jesus today in all that you do.
3. Thank God for His promises and His perfect love that is keeping you from sinking all the way and is teaching you to “stay your mind” on Him.