Dear radio friends,
In the coming weeks, many of us are going to witness the graduation of a young person either from grade school, high school, or college (or even, possibly from some other institution of higher learning). Many of them are going to be graduating from a Christian school. We have much for which to give thanks to God, especially when we consider a graduation from a Christian school. A Christian school stands upon the principles of God’s eternal covenant of grace.
Let me explain briefly what that means. A Christian school is organized because in the Bible we find that God calls parents to bring up their children in the way of the Lord (Eph. 6:4), “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Again, in Genesis 18:19, God says of Abraham, “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him….” Everywhere in the Bible we find it is the calling of parents to provide an education for their children. A Christian education is obedience to that call. It is an education in which all takes place in the context of the friendship of God. Children are brought up, by grace, to know God as their sovereign Ruler and perfect Friend. They are taught all things in the light of God’s Word, so that they might truly know what things are.
If you graduate, then, from a Christian school, you have much for which to give thanks to God. You should give thanks for the sacrifice and faithfulness of your parents. You should give thanks for the diligence of your teachers and the prayers of God’s people. Yes, indeed, if you graduate from a Christian school, and you have received a degree of some sort, you should be upon your knees in thanksgiving to God. You should be upon your knees because the foundation has been laid now in your life. A foundation is always something that we do not appreciate until a little life-experience has been gained. After a few experiences in this present life and a few testings, then you begin to appreciate the foundation that has been given to you in your education.
The need of a foundation for a home is understood especially when the winds blow, when the rain beats, when the earth shakes. Then you understand the need for a firm foundation. So also you begin to understand the importance of the foundation that has been laid in your life as a child and young person through Christian education. You begin to see the importance of that when the Lord brings you into areas of testing and you find out that the foundation that He has laid in your instruction, in Christian education, is a firm foundation. For in Christian education, you have been founded upon the truth of the living God.
I would like to speak today for a few moments, to those who are graduating, from a very beautiful text of God’s Word. It is found in the prophecy of Isaiah 26:3, 4. “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.” I would like to talk to you for a few moments on the calling of God to stay your mind upon Him.
That is really a command: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.” Trust ye in the Lord Jehovah. For in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. The Lord is saying, “Stay your mind upon Me.”
What does that mean? The word “stay” means rest. It is the idea of placing all of your weight upon something. Thus, the idea is to fix or to focus. The idea is that from your heart, from which all proceeds, and now through your mind, fix everything upon Jehovah, upon the living and the true God of the Bible. The word “mind,” “stay your mind,” in the Hebrew language is a picture. It is a word that means the place where things are formed. The mind is a wonderful creation of God. It is the place where things are formed in our thoughts, in our imaginations, in our conceptions. There the thoughts are formed, the attitudes, the plans, the goals, the thinking, all things are formed within the mind, as the mind is connected spiritually to the heart. Stay your mind upon Jehovah. Have one sole object. Focus your thoughts in and around the living and the true God, Jehovah, who means “I AM THAT I AM,” and will always be what I AM: the eternal, the faithful, the almighty, the living and true God in Jesus Christ. All your thoughts, all your goals, all your plans, all your attitudes — focus them in and around Jehovah, the living God.
Let us put it together, then. The idea is this, that we are to direct our thoughts, we are to fix our thinking, we are to direct our plans and goals by looking steadfastly in faith upon Jehovah the living God. When you are beginning to think of your goals (what shall I be, a nurse? Should I go into business or maybe education) you must stay your mind, you must think of Jehovah and out of Him proceed to your next thought. When you are beginning to imagine what plans you want for your life — your job, your school, future schooling, who your friends are going to be; when you think about marriage and whom you are going to marry; when you go into the whole realm of entertainment — stay your mind upon Jehovah. Everything that comes into your mind, bring it all before Jehovah your God. Bring it to Him and live out of Him.
That means, concretely (let us make this as concrete as we can), the Word of God is saying to us: Base your thinking and your living upon the Reformed, biblical faith and truth that are taught to you in Christian schools. The Reformed and biblical faith is the faith of the Bible, as it directs us to proceed from the heart of it. And the heart of it is God. The Reformed and biblical faith is the teaching of the Bible, which centers in God as the living and true God, and as all of the truths are connected and flow out of that living truth of God. The Reformed faith is simply the faith that says that God is everything and man is nothing. Man can do nothing. All of salvation is of the mighty grace and power of the living God. The Reformed faith is the glorious faith that says: To God is the glory, and He shall obtain all His purpose in Christ Jesus. And to know Him is life eternal.
Out of that faith, the faith that declares to you that God is God, the living and the true one, out of that faith, direct all your life.
That means that you must obey Him, for He is Jehovah! That means that the greatest good for you is to worship Him in His truth and in His church. That means that you shall submit yourself to Him and you will humble your mind under the living God. Stay your mind upon Jehovah.
That is necessary because, you see, our mind, as we are fallen in sin, is a most fickle and unstable thing. Men sometimes worship their mind and begin to think that the human intellect is a great and reliable thing. But it is not. The human mind is a puny little thing and is subject to many changes and fears. Especially in the age in which we live we see so much hopeless confusion in thought. Our minds, as we are fallen in sin, are not strong. They fluctuate. Therefore they must stay themselves, by faith, upon the rock, Jehovah our God.
Not only are our minds weak, but we must remember that the devil wants to turn our minds away from the living God, away from Jehovah. There is always a battle raging for our minds. It is a fierce battle, an unrelenting battle, a battle to control the mind of the child of God and to shift its focus from Jehovah to sin. It is just that simple. The devil wants you to think that he offers you freedom. He wants you to say, “The most important thing is for you to make up your own mind.” That is the message of the world today. That is the world’s attitude today, and always Satan and sin are desiring to control our minds and to turn them away from Jehovah.
That can be done overtly by the world through its ungodly music, through its ungodly movies and TV programs, through its parties — a thousand different ways in which the message comes to you, especially as a young person, that you ought to stay your minds upon sexual impurity, in pornography. Focus your mind there. You ought to fix your mind upon appearance and upon the outward, upon physical beauty. You ought to fix your mind upon mammon (by mammon, Jesus referred to mere earthly things — money, cars, clothes, honor, prestige). You ought to fix your mind, says the devil, upon yourself, upon your pride. You ought to cast away authority and you ought to do exactly what you think. You ought to fix your mind upon pleasures and upon good times and upon beer and whatever satisfies you. And thus the urgent command of the living God to you today: Stay your mind upon Jehovah! As you stand amid the hurricane winds blowing in your ears and trying to get your mind and your heart to focus upon that which cannot satisfy, God says, “Focus your mind, your heart and soul, upon Me, upon My Word, that Word as it is brought to you in truth, in a faithful church that preaches the Word of God. Stay your mind upon this absolute truth: God is everything and man is nothing.”
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee. That is the blessing. Now will you note that the promise is not, “Thou wilt keep him in good clothes; thou wilt keep him in a good-paying job; thou wilt keep her in popularity and beauty; thou wilt keep them in wealth; thou wilt keep them in health.” None of these are the promise of God. In fact, upon the basis of God’s Word, I say to you today that in the way of staying your mind upon Jehovah, in the way of a diligent walk with the living God of the Bible and striving to be faithful to God, you will not have all of those earthly things.
Staying your mind upon Jehovah often comes at the cost of money, cars, clothes, friends, prestige, honor, occupation, and job. And it will come with reproach, the reproach of a world that is at enmity with the living God. Having your mind stayed upon Jehovah means that you must be ready to sacrifice so many earthly things. And that will be the temptation. Readily we will try to excuse our way and say, “But I can have, can I not, these things and Jehovah?” Or, “Can I not first enjoy these earthly things and then have Jehovah at a later time in my life?” That will be a great temptation.
Falling into that temptation, we will also forfeit the experience of perfect peace. For that is the precious promise. The precious promise is that in the way of being rooted in our thinking upon the living and true God we shall experience the blessing of perfect peace, the peace of God. That is something that the world cannot have. That is something no one can have apart from the grace of God. The prophet Isaiah is going to say in chapter 57 that there is no peace for the wicked; they are as the troubled sea that is constantly casting up dirt and mire. Apart from God there can only be anxiety and fear and anger and despair and hopelessness and no peace. There is no peace apart from God.
But God promises peace to those who are stayed, fixed, upon Him in faith. What is that peace? It is the pardon of sin in the blood of Jesus Christ. “How blest is he whose trespass hath freely been forgiven, whose sin is wholly covered before the sight of heaven.” It is more. It is the assurance of sonship and the fact that we have an eternal inheritance of grace in Jesus Christ. Still more. This peace is communion with God. And in that communion with God there is calmness of mind and tranquility of heart in the experience of the love of God. Perfect peace.
Stayed upon Jehovah there shall be peace in our hearts in every event and in every situation, no exceptions. If sickness should be sent to you, if loneliness or forsakenness, if death, if suffering for Jesus’ sake — “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.”
But maybe you ask the question: “How is that possible?” Especially if your education in the past years has been what it should have been in the home, school, and church, then you ask the question, “But I am a sinner, I’m prone to wander. Especially in my mind and heart I turn aside time after time. If not in my actions, then certainly in my mind. A thousand times a day my thoughts go so far astray from God. How do I stay my thoughts? How do I stay my mind upon Him? Is that possible?”
Then, what about the power of temptations? They are so strong against us. How is it possible? Listen. “Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” What is the possibility? This is it: the faithfulness of God. For in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength! God there is declaring His own faithfulness and declaring His own unchangeableness. As the unchangeable God He has vowed to grant to us strength, strength in our hearts, faith. He vows to be faithful to us, to work in us through His Word so that we are able, by grace, to be stayed upon Him. He is the unchangeable one. His covenant is sure. The oath that He hath sworn to be our friend and to take us to glory and to be with us forever and ever and to give us to know Him in Jesus Christ — all of this is a sure oath. And His oath is also sure that He will give our minds to be directed by faith upon Him.
The Lord JEHOVAH. You see, that is our boasting. That is our comfort. Jehovah Himself. Fix your mind upon this: God has been gracious to me. The living and the true God has washed away my sins in His Son. He has given me to know Him in the face of the Son. He has worked in my heart by His grace alone that I might believe in Him and belong to Him, that I might know Him. He has given to me a faithful church. He has given to me His Word. He has given to me believing parents. And by His power, I shall now trust in Him, obey Him, and stay my mind upon Him. Then you need not fear the future. You need not fear terror by night or temptation of Satan or weakness of the flesh — none of these things shall be able to take you from Him.
Let us make this our prayer. As many of you go through graduation in the coming days, and as many occasions of family celebrations shall be held, let us be sure that as God’s covenant people, at the conclusion of these graduations and at the conclusion of these times of family thanksgiving, we are found upon our knees in thankfulness to God for His mercies — His mercies to us in our children, in our graduates. And His mercies to us as graduates in giving us an education.
Then, out of thankfulness, let us go on in our prayer: Heavenly Father, give me to stay my mind upon Thee. No matter what the days ahead may bring to me in Thy will, Thou knowest all things. I ask only this: that my heart and mind may be in Thee and that I may live out of Thee, the living and the true God.
That is eternal life, said Jesus — to know God. May God bless you for His sake.
Let us pray.
Heavenly Father, we are indeed thankful for our graduates. We are thankful, heavenly Father, for the blessing of Christian education. We are thankful for our homes, Christian homes, which bring up children in the way of the Lord. Now, heavenly Father, we remember our graduates and pray that Thou wilt guide, direct, and keep them. We pray especially that Thou wilt do this in this way, that their minds may be stayed upon Thee and that they may know Thee as the glorious, the true, and the living God of salvation in Jesus Christ. In His name do we pray, Amen.