Tag Archives: Authorized King James Version

Interior Peace

Restrain yourself from affection toward many people, for fear lest your spirit be distracted, so that your interior peace may not be disturbed.

——Abba Evagrius  of the Desert

On face value it would seem to be a very harsh thing to say that we should stray away from having many friends and connections. I think we have all heard of the things that people do to gain popularity and power. When someone is obsessed with winning the affection of many people, they have very little time for anything else. Countless hours are spent in front of the mirror and reading tips on how to be the “one.” The more we are focused on such image, the more spiritually restless we become. In this journey we find little interior peace.

Colossians 3 for blogPaul tells the Colossian Church to “set their minds on things above.” The Abba says to restrain from our need for popularity. Both of these sayings are directed toward our ability to achieve peace with God. There can be no peace when we are frantically busy trying to be noticed. The only true peace is inner peace – the peace that allows us to thrive in a hostile world. Being at peace with ourselves is the most vital part of our relationship with God. Without the selfless interior peace, we remain spiritually empty.

Solomon tells us in Proverbs that charm is deceitful and beauty is vain.  Think about it, the wisest manProverb 31_edited-1 that ever lived called charm deceitful and beauty vain. Shouldn’t that say something to us in our image conscious world? Our real challenge is to remain focused on the things that are above and to take our eyes off of the crowd that we seek to gather and keep them on our spiritual journey. That focus will help us to achieve the interior peace that is so necessary to walk with God.

Prayer

O Lord allow me this day to focus on the interior peace that only you can give. Suffer me the strength to resist the temptation of self aggrandizement and carry me to a place of peace. Amen

Busy Monk

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Self Judgment

Desert MonkA brother who was sharing lodging with other brothers asked Abba Bessarion, ‘What should I do?’ The old man replied, ‘Keep silence and do not compare yourself to others.’

—-sayings of the desert

There is no greater enemy than the enemy of self – judgment. When we compare ourselves to others, we are judging ourselves and usually looking for ways to compete with the other. This sort of behavior easily leads to jealousy and envy, emotions which ALWAYS cause us to fall into sin. Jealousy and envy become all-consuming and the next thing you know you are trying to eliminate them so they are no longer a threat.

The other side of that scenario is self – loathing. Such an attitude leads to loss of productivity, depression and destructive behavior. We must be continually be reminded that we are created in the image and likeness of God, and we are possessors of great potential. The sheer numbers of different personalities and talents are an expression of an infinite God whose possibilities are limitless.

The Abba is telling the brother and us, to keep silent and see the person that God has created. We are not all the same, but we are the crown jewel of God’s creation. In silence we discover God’s spark in our lives, and He then uses it to bring us to our full potential. As the psalmist says, ‘Be still and know that I am God….’

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The Peaceable Life

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. 

—–1 Timothy 2:1&2

The peaceable life is one of the most elusive objectives of all time. A study at Duke University produced the following list of behaviors that help bring us to a peaceable life. I share them with you.

  • The absence of suspicion and resentment. Nursing a grudge was a major factor in unhappiness.
  • Not living in the past. An unwholesome preoccupation with old mistakes and failures leads to depression.
  • Not wasting time and energy fighting conditions you cannot change. Cooperate with life, instead of trying to run away from it.
  • Force yourself to stay involved with the living world. Resist the temptation to withdraw and become reclusive during periods of emotional stress.
  • Refuse to indulge in self-pity when life hands you a raw deal. Accept the fact that nobody gets through life without some sorrow and misfortune.
  • Cultivate the old-fashioned virtues love, humor, compassion and loyalty.
  • Do not expect too much of yourself. When there is too wide a gap between self-expectation and your ability to meet the goals you have set, feelings of inadequacy are inevitable.
  • Find something bigger than yourself to believe in. Self-centered egotistical people score lowest in any test for measuring happiness.

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A Thousand Graces

Drawing of the Crucifixion by St. John of the ...

Pouring out a thousand graces, 
he passed these groves in haste; 

and having looked at them, 
with his image alone,
clothed them in beauty.
——John of the Cross
Canticle Stanza 5

This stanza of John’s Canticle begins to tell us of the sheer beauty of the presence of God. Despite the fact that the seeker misses the grace that God so freely bestows, it is still there. The seeker is reminded of the ease of God’s creation and the testimony it leaves to everyone. In His haste, He gives a thousand graces. The beauty of the grove is a living testimony to Him.

Through His image alone, He clothes them with beauty. This beauty is beyond anything man can muster. The creation cries out the magnificence and power of the Creator. The seeker, like us, needs to take heed of what is given. When we feel the sense of abandonment as John of the Cross felt, we can look at the Word. In Romans we are told, “Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.” Sometimes we do not see “the beloved” because we do not look. Nature finds Him when we are blind.

Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Luke 12:27 KJV

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