Sunday, September 09, 2007
As we get to page 57 in Brother Lawrence's book "The Practice of the Presence of God," we get to some "Spiritual Maxims" from Brother Lawrence. He talks about how when we believe, hope, and love, then "all things will be possible to us in God." He talks about how these maxims can help lead us toward perfection.
Maxim 1: "We should be considerate of God in everything we do and say....We must make a firm resolution to overcome, with God's grace, all the difficulties encountered in a spiritual life."
The spiritual life is wrought with many challenges. Just living day to day for many people is a challenge. As Garfield says: "'Good morning' is a contradiction in terms." But God can give us the power, by His grace (meaning that we don't deserve the presence of God's power). to be able to live a spiritual life. The more we seek to do and say as God would have us do and say, the more able we will be to live the spiritual life.
Maxim 2: "From the very beginning of our Christian walk, we should remember who we are and that we are unworthy of the name of Christian, except what Christ has done for us..."
This is a good reminder of what the apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" We are really nothing without Jesus Christ, because we stumble over our sin so regularly. But in Christ, we can really become something!
Maxim 3: "We must believe with certainty that it is both pleasing to God and good for us to sacrifice ourselves to Him. Without this complete submission of our hearts and minds to His will He cannot work in us to make us perfect."
It is true that in life we will make sacrifices for those things that are most important to us. I will make great sacrifices to be available to coach my son's baseball team because I know it is important to him that I do this, and it is a great bonding time for us. If we do not believe that sacrificing our time to God is valuable, and if we do not believe that living for Christ is important, then we can never hope to do this in our lives.
Maxim 4: "The more we aspire to be perfect, the more dependent we are on the grace of God....The world, the flesh, and the devil wage a fierce and continuous war on our souls...Although this total dependence may sometimes go against our human nature, God takes great pleasure in it..."
We cannot even hope to be perfect without Christ, because it is Christ who makes God's power available to us. And in Christ, we have righteousness imparted to us. We have to will ourselves to become dependent on Christ, so that we can live the way God created us to live. God is pleased in this, because when we humble ourselves, God can work in and through us.