Our community group (small group, home group, Bible study) has begun studying Richard Foster's Devotional Classics. It is a collection of excerpts from "the classics" of Christian devotional authors.
This week we read excerpts from Francois Fenelon's "Christian Perfection." What is Christian perfection? It's having a will only to do God's will. And from that comes freedom, peace, and joy. I want to be free, peaceful, and joyful - where do I sign up? Oh, there it is, in the editor's reflections, a quote from the author that wasn't included in the selected excerpts: "If we feed ourselves with Jesus Christ and his word, we shall be like a vessel in full sail with a fair wind." Ahh... can you feel the breeze on your face?
After this week's discussion, I found myself consciously attempting to turn my thoughts away from their natural course. My life became less about me and more about the world. That may seem like a simple and obvious plan of action, but it isn't my instinct to be that way. I've been that way much more naturally in the recent past, but in the even more recent past, those joyful, peaceful, and loving thoughts and actions have gone by the wayside. It was so nice to feel that way again - to want to do what God wants... when that is the nature of your heart, nothing but good can abound!
I have also thought about, and I think acted upon, a quote that Donna gave from another author (Gerald May?) It goes something like this, "The kind of Christian you are is not reflected in your actions, but in your reactions." Wow... that gets to the heart of it, doesn't it? I mean, we can act like we're loving, act like we're at peace, act like we care more for others than ourselves, but we can still hold inside the selfish thoughts and attitudes of a divided heart. But if we turn our heart solely toward God, then love, peace, and care for others becomes our nature, our reaction.