Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.
Peace is one of the most precious gifts that God has given to you. This peace is a wonderful peace. Its wonder is that God gives it to you, who are by nature only at war with Him. Your character by nature is no different from that of the ungodly nations who strive in their unholy rebellion against God and His Christ. But God has made everlasting peace between you and Him through the blood of His Son, the Prince of Peace.
God’s peace is also wonderful because it is given to you to make you strong. Think about it. Without this peace, you could have no confidence in this world. You could only hide away in the corner of some contrived shelter, vainly hoping that no danger or trouble will ever visit you. But His peace makes you strong to walk in this world with boldness and confidence.
This peace is also wonderful in its strength because it makes you strong in order for you to take your position on the front lines of the battle of the Christian’s spiritual warfare. This peace equips you to fight this battle with strength and with endurance every day.
This peace is a very particular peace. It is not the peace of the wicked world, the kind of harmony that the world keeps for the sake of its rebellion against God and its persecution of the church (). It is not the peace that the world takes up to further itself in its perverse abominations before God ( ). Nor is this the peace of compromise with that wicked world, a compromise sought by apostate and apostatizing churches. That peace is always warfare against God. That peace you must loathe and eschew.
Your peace is fundamentally from God and unto God. This peace is the peace of the kingdom of God. This peace is your place in that kingdom of God, your feet walking in it, your heart fixed upon it, and your mind filled with its riches. This peace is the glorious, eternal Christ reigning in your heart by His sovereign grace.
Your peace from God is strong in the face of danger and trouble. This peace means that you have God, with all God’s power and wisdom, as a fortress, a rock, and a strong, high tower. His glorious name is your hiding place (). This peace is confidence that everything will be well because you are hidden in God through Christ. It does not guard you from ever having any kind of danger or trouble. It will not guard you from ever having to engage in battle. But God’s peace will guard your heart and mind from discouragement and despair in the midst of them. Truly and really, you have nothing to fear from your enemies or from those dangers and troubles you face. Your side is the Lord’s side!
The Bible teaches that this peace is also prosperity. This peace is very well illustrated in the first verse of: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” This not wanting anything is not a mental adjustment about what you have or do not have. It is not such a focused and powerful denial that you convince yourself that you have no lack. Not at all! This peace is fullness and prosperity. It is such a fullness and prosperity that in truth you lack nothing. This peace says to your heart that, because the Lord is your shepherd, you shall not want. He is your covenant God! Your God has given you Himself, in and through His only begotten Son. In His blood, the precious blood of the covenant, you have your redemption, your regeneration and faith. The kingdom of God, with its righteousness, peace, and joy, is all yours ( ). Its fullness, declared to you in the gospel and sealed to you by the Holy Spirit, is meant to fill your heart, so that you have perfect peace. Why worry? Why be anxious? It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom!
God’s peace to you is a gift of His sovereign grace alone. You receive that gift through faith. But this gift of peace God gives you with a calling to grow in that peace. Your peace grows first through your fellowship with God. Turn the affections of your heart and mind to Him. Find your delight in God’s house and in gathering with His people there, young and old. There fill your heart and soul with the fullness of the gospel of peace, and enjoy that peace together with your fellow saints. Carry on in your fellowship with God in the blessed exchange of prayer. Bring to Him your troubles and anxieties and receive in that gracious exchange the peace of His promise to keep and guard your mind with His peace ().
How does this peace appear in you? As a young Christian man or woman, this peace gives you a spiritual maturity, a calm demeanor. Rather than being easily upset, angered, aroused, or moody, you show peace that you have in your heart. In situations where you are tempted to be sulky or sullen, or simply reactionary, this peace will enable you to show a godly attitude and to have godly reactions.
By this peace, you are also able to live in peace with one another. There is a great warfare for the sake of the truth, great warfare for the sake of godliness and righteousness. That warfare we fight against our enemies. And for the sake of that battle it is so important to be strong together with fellow saints. For such a reason God has placed you in communion and fellowship with your church and with your fellow saints. His purpose is that we might be strong together, and strengthen each other. But to have this strength you need also to keep peace among yourselves. You must lay aside and cover over all the insignificant matters that can divide and so ruin your peace. You must carefully watch to make sure roots of bitterness do not spring up in you and defile others, robbing them of their peace when they must deal with you (). When others’ actions threaten peace, you must work peacefully to bring resolution and remove all offense. You must keep from all quarreling, from beginning quarrels as well as from jumping into them.
Practice that peace of God among yourselves as young people! Learn to rejoice in one another. Enjoy each other’s company. Rejoice in and give thanks to God for the good gifts He bestows on your fellow saints. Where you see weakness in another, in mercy help him. When you know your own weakness, seek help from another. Be open to blessing one another, and being blessed by one another, all from God. Where peace in the church is threatened, use your kindness, gentleness, and meekness to work reconciliation and peace. When you are among those who are contentious or mean, you will not feel so inclined to respond in kind. You will be able to offer the gentle answer that turns away wrath and be blessed as a peacemaker (; ).
Or is this peace lacking in you? Are you often in conflict with others, arguing with others around you, brothers and sisters, schoolmates? Do your parents and teachers find you rebellious or quarrelsome toward them? Is there often grumbling and murmuring on your lips, or jealousy, envy, and covetousness in your heart? All these things can indicate a lack of peace in your heart.
One reason for your lack of peace may be that you are looking for peace in what people think of you. Or you may be trying to find it in having lots of possessions. You are then anxious either about losing them, or about not being able to get more. In rivalries and jealous competitions, you worry about losing your coveted place among others. In such cases, your lack of peace means that you must clean the house of your heart, making more room for Him and the peace that He gives (). Be thankful, then, for His jealousy! May you be as jealous to have His peace alone fill your heart as He is!
In those cases your calling is to keep your heart clear of those things that rob you of your true, lasting peace. Ask your God’s pardon for them, and for His help to clear your heart of them. In His answer to your request, you will find His grace to help, and you will find Him nearer to you, His peaceful presence stronger in your heart and mind. Look for that peace to increase and abound in all your life. Look for God’s peace to show its strength of grace in your words and actions.
Be strong, in His peace!