Thoughts which draw me closer to the cross of Christ…
Search for the LORD and for his strength; continually seek him. 5 Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given, Psalm 105:4-5
The third Fruit of the Spirit is Peace. Peace is the pervasive sense of contentment that comes from being rooted in God while being fully aware of one’s own nothingness. It is a state that endures beyond the ups and downs of life, beyond the emotions of joy and sorrow. At the deepest level one knows that all is well, that everything is just right despite all appearances to the contrary. At all times one can pray with Jesus, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46)
To this I reply that what they provide is not fellowship at all, and if that is the best thing the church has to offer to hold the people together it is not a Christian church in the New Testament meaning of that word. The center of attraction in a true church is the Lord Jesus Christ
There is a word that scares me. Perhaps haunts me is better.
I have endured a bit in life. More than some, less than others. I have sat with those enduring far more, crying and laughing with them as I try to reveal to them the only thing that enables me to endure.
And even though I have endured what I endure, I hate the word with a passion. I wish what it describes would never have become issues in life. I hate the brokenness, physical, emotional, and spiritual that exists in life. I hate seeing families torn apart, workplaces divided and friends become enemies. Nature wreaks havoc, sin causes even more, and the fight or flee reactions from both causes more tragedy and trauma, which we have to endure.
And yet, I endure. Even more encouraging, I have helped people endure.
The only way is through the peace that is a comes as the Holy Spirit dwells in us, the peace that Tozer so precisely describes. One that doesn’t depend on what is going on in our lives – whether they are at the pinnacle of the mountain top or rushing towards rock bottom. (I think it is worse heading for rock bottom than being there!) A peace that is there despite all appearances to the contrary. One that comes when we realize our prayer for God to handle all our lives, was answered before we even prayed it…
Indeed, it was how we are able to pray it.
We depend on Him.
That is why Tozer says that church isn’t just about the “fellowship” of people with the same thoughts and beliefs.
It is about Jesus, and centered on Him, drawn there by the Spirit. We know that peace, and we begin to even expect it to be there, when we don’t see or feel it. Enough so that we look for Him constantly, for He is our hope, our deliverance, our life.
Knowing that, that no matter how blind we are to His presence, He is working on revealing Himself.
And how we will praise Him, as we see this happen!
Thomas Keating, The Daily Reader for Contemplative Living: Excerpts from the Works of Father Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O., Sacred Scripture, and Other Spiritual Writings, ed. S. Stephanie Iachetta (New York; London; New Delhi; Sydney: Bloomsbury, 2009), 189.
A. W. Tozer, Tozer for the Christian Leader (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2015).