In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city; he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. 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.”
God had called me to do something I thought was well beyond my abilities, and my nervousness showed. Although I took the initial steps and not only began but finished that journey, I frequently was not at peace. I worried about whether I could do what God wanted or whether I was even on the right path. I started doubting that I could hear from him at all because I encountered so much difficulty I had not expected. What I believe was the true root of this lack of peace with the fact that I was severely straddling the fence during that period. While I was on this great adventure according to God’s will, I was living in great sin and refused to give that up. My mind was often in the flesh, and that kept me from having peace.
If I take the time to think critically about it, there is a very obvious reason why we should not expect to have peace when our minds are not completely in the Spirit. When the mind focuses on the flesh it has to disconnect from the Spirit. We cannot follow both at the same time. This creates a conflict within us regardless of whether we desire to follow the flesh or reluctantly take that road in perceived defeat. The mind which follows the flesh thinks of things like worry, fear, anxiety and hopelessness. It is disconnected from God’s hope and peace, and we are aware of it. It takes repentance, seeking forgiveness and redirecting focus from sin and toward the Spirit, to make it possible for the mind to be at peace. The mind which tries to be in the Spirit and the flesh is at war with itself.
The difference between the mind that stays focused on God and the one that looks back at sin is trust. If we trust that God’s way is best, we will follow him instead of sin. If we trust that we are missing out on nothing good by remaining faithful to God, we will not desire sin. If we trust that God’s word is true when it says that sin leads to death but righteousness leads to life, we will want to go God’s way. If we trust that God always makes a way and never allows us to be tempted beyond what we can bear, we can faithfully remain Spirit-minded and successfully defeat sin. The question is whether we trust that God has made a way for this kind of victorious life to be possible. Father, extinguish our doubt and increase our faith in your word that we would remain Spirit-minded and in your peace.