Thursday, May 22, 2008

I've Got Peace Like a River

This Sunday I will be presenting my twentieth lesson on Being Real About Being Like Jesus. They have all been wonderful parts of my own spiritual journey to draw closer to Him and I dearly hope they have helped many others the same way. As challenging as each one has been, some clearly hit the heart with a greater force than others. Humility and compassion are always things that we/I struggle with because it's so hard to step out of yourself and think of others and to remember how powerful and wonderful grace truly is. A lot of things can be said about the strength of Jesus, but one of the most convicting things - especially for those of us who are honest about wanting to really be like Him - is that he seems to be free from ego, that part of self that seeks to be approved, applauded, appreciated, and appealing. What power that would give to a person to be truly free from pleasing anyone except God! To love without payback! To serve because it's natural! To sacrifice because there is no alternative! To be free from all fears!
Ouch! You see I just prepared a lesson for Sunday that asks "Do I Have the Peace of Jesus?" Maybe the tougher way to ask it is "Why don't I have the peace of Jesus?"
There is no peace when there are fears! If love casts out fear, what does that say about our understanding of love? Did you ever stop to consider how much or many of our fears come from our ego? The need to be accepted drives the fear of rejection. The need to succeed drives the fear of failure. The fear of living drives our fear of dying. The need to please others drives our fear of disappointing them. The need to feel superior drives our fear of finding out we're not.
When I can get to the point that my love for God and my desire to please only Him so permeates my heart that nothing else matters - what's left to fear? Others who may not like me or look up to me? Sad, but nothing to worry about. Cancer, heart failure, or bodily harm inflicted on me by others, or some freak accident? I was never meant to live forever. Or what if someone I dearly love is taken away from me? It's not whether, but when and I'll just be that much more anxious to see them in heaven.
I don't want to fear any of those things! I'm almost there - not totally, but almost. They don't keep me up at night, and I don't waste time thinking about them. Maybe that's how we were meant to grow in the peace of Jesus. I think that'll preach.


Deborah said...

Awesome. My head is spinning and my heart is pierced! I needed to hear that.

elizabeth said...

That was exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you.

Donna R said...

And it was a great sermon this morning!