I came across an ancient little book tucked in amongst my aging journals. I cracked it open pretty sure it would be a book I should dispose of since likely it will lay unread till our next move…I was surprised. Despite the old English its advice was very relevant. Consider this:
Of four things that bring much peace
- Endeavour to do rather the will of another than thy own.
- Ever choose rather to have less than more.
- Always seek the lowest place, and to be beneath every one.
- Continually wish and pray that the will of God may be wholly fulfilled in thee.
“Behold, such a man entereth into the bonds of peace and quietness.”*
I don’t know about you, but I need that these days. Such advice isn’t likely to propel this volume to the best-seller list these days but it was exactly what I needed to hear.
Not my will but yours is what matters. I am your sheep, Lord. Do with me, in me, through me whatever you will… I have to consciously remind myself of these things or anxiety begins to gnaw its way into my heart. It is displaced by peace when I cease claiming my life to be my own. It is both privilege and source of peace to do God’s will above my own personal preferences. If I am His sheep and He is both good and strong nothing that comes my way can ultimately harm me. I can receive it from His hand for my good. I can know that He knows and that is enough; I am His sheep.
I live in this body, a gift of its Creator, designed to fulfill His purposes in this world. In sickness and health, weakness and strength it is the vessel I’ve been entrusted with in which to glorify God. And He is its ultimate Sustainer, Healer, and Strength. I can rest my case here, today, always, come what may.
These are thoughts I’m holding near and dear today.
You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. I Cor.6:19,20
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Ps.139:16
O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. Ps.139:1-6
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Ps.90:12
Then I said, "Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart."
The little volume was titled: An extract of The Christian’s Pattern by John Wesley, an English translation from the Latin version of Thomas A’Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ.
This is rich counsel, and, as you said, scarce. It reminds me that I need to be more diligent about reading authors from long ago to balance all the current reading that I do.
I'm so glad ancient words were preserved for us to read! (Perhaps that's part of the same impulse that drives me to save all my journals. Ah if only they held such wise words!)
I too love the perspective that escaping our times in this way gives.
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