Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Peace and Self Control

"Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, fidelity, tolerance and self-control" (J.B.Philips: Galatians 5:22).

Love, the first fruit of the Spirit comes to us simultaneously the moment we realize in full the love that the Father of the universe has for us. Joy follows soon after when we realize how many of the terrible problems we struggled with so long pale into insignificance.

Peace is the natural consequence of this revolution that has taken place in our psyche. But it may be a life long affair to come back to that peace each time we realize that we've departed from it.

Self-control: Ah! the crux of the matter? It was not for nothing that Paul made this the last gift of the Spirit. How's your self-control?

Recently I've gotten deeper and deeper into a mantra from Isaiah:
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee : because he trusteth in thee" (26:3) (This trust is what Jesus meant when he's quoted by the gospelers as saying, 'believe, believe, believe': it is better translated 'trust, trust, trust'. Jesus didn't (and doesn't) give a rap about any sort of intellectual propositions we might or might not believe!!!)
. I use this in my zazen, and I turn to it more and more through the day (I spend a lot of time in the car waiting while Ellie shops). Most of my life I seemed too busy!! for this sort of thing; that's one of the blessings of seniority!

That peaceful state is readily available to any Christian who takes the time to seek it. It may often involve giving up and letting go some of your bad habits (they take so much of our time). But I'll tell you one thing: it's sure peaceful! You know when to act, and when you don't need to act. It solves an awful lot of problems. God bless you all.


George Breed said...

And God bless you, Larry. That Isaiah verse "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee" has a strong rhythm to it. It is also true and real. Excellent mantra.

Rob said...

"Jesus didn't (and doesn't) give a rap about any sort of intellectual propositions we might or might not believe!!!)"

That would have been a good comment for my post on reincarnation! :)

Larry said...

That was a little bit extravagant, Rob. Rewriting that I would make two exceptions: he expects us to believe that our Father God loves us extravagantly, and to believe that we should love God and our neighbor as ourselves.

Twyla said...

Reading this post, I happened to have my copy of The Message still near the computer. Here is how this portion of text reads in it:

What happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard - things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

I like that, don't you? I've often meditated on peace, thinking of it as the "pearl" that can be so easily lost when other things aren't given up. I find the qualities between peace and self-control to be the ones I must cultivate to hold on to the pearl. Patience, kindness, generosity, fidelity, tolerance. When I remember the pearl, it makes it easier to be patient, kind, tolerant, etc. I guess because this peace is so important to me. That restful heart, resting in God.

Larry said...

I do like that, Twyla. Thanks. It sure is in modern English. I had to go to the Philips translation to get the self control that I was looking for. Most of the translations call it faithfulness or faith.

The Message seems like an excellent way to get good commentary on the text.

Joe G. said...

This is such a pivotal verse for both Friends and others who claim that they follow Jesus. I especially like the paraphrase from "The Message". Very nice! Thanks for reflecting on this Larry!

Larry said...