Tuesday, April 01, 2014

I want to be this guy

I've been thinking for a while about that prayer that begins, …asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way… (Colossians 1:9-10). Last night I opened Merton's No Man Is an Island more or less at random, where I found this:
If we have the Spirit of God in our hearts, we will live by His law of charity, inclined always to peace rather than dissension, to humility rather than arrogance, to obedience rather than rebellion, to purity and temperance, to simplicity and quietness and calm, to strength, generosity, and wisdom, to prudence and all-embracing justice, and we will love others more than ourselves, for it is the commandment of Jesus that we should love one another as he has loved us (John 15:12).
Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island 4.9 (p. 61)
Now there is a picture of the kind of guy I want to be. It's not a lot different from the description of the Spirit's fruit from Galatians 5 (love, joy, peace, patience…) but the wording is fresh (some 1900 years newer). But as with the fruit of the Spirit, this sort of life is the fruit (the result) of the Spirit; that is, it's supernatural, as Merton also explains:

None of these things can be done without prayer, and we must turn to prayer first of all, not only to discover God's will but above all to gain the grace to carry it out with all the strength of our desire.

This put me in mind of Hebrews 4, where the author tells us that
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tested in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:14-16
As the old hymn says, I need thee every hour, which is a great encouragement to me to pray all the time.