As a result, “Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center, a speaking Voice, to which we may continually return. Eternity is at our hearts, pressing upon our time-worn lives, warming us with intimations of an astounding destiny, calling us home unto Itself” (p. 9).
It is this Christ within you who has called you to his worship today, and to hear this message. You are here by his initiative and invitation. He wants you to know the peace that passes understanding which will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). So make him your Lord, and you will find in him your peace.
Next, learn to practice his presence through each day.
“There is a way of ordering our mental life on more than one level at once. On one level we may be thinking, discussing, seeing, calculating, meeting all the demands of external affairs. But deep within, behind the scenes, at a profounder level, we may also be in prayer and adoration, song and worship and a gentle receptiveness to divine breathings…It is at this deep level that the real business of life is determined” (p. 12-13).
How do we live on this deeper level? “By quiet, persistent practice in turning of all our being, day and night, in prayer and inward worship and surrender, toward Him who calls in the deeps of our souls” (p. 15).
We turn our thoughts to God constantly. We pray to him with brief phrases all through the day. We seek his word in our minds and hearts. As we walk in his presence, we find that he prays for us and through us. We find ourselves carried along by his Spirit. We sense ourselves in his peace.
Third, disown yourself.
“It is just this astonishing life that is willing…sincerely to disown itself, this life that intends complete obedience, without any reservations, that I would propose to you in all humility, in all boldness, in all seriousness. I mean this literally, utterly, completely, and I mean it for you and for me—commit your lives in unreserved obedience to Him” (pp. 24-25, italics his).
How? Begin where you are. Obey what you know to obey from God today. Surrender what you know to surrender. Confess what you know to confess. As best you can today, give up rights to your own ambitions, dreams, hopes. Put them into God’s hands. Trust that the One whose Son died for you, the One who knows the future you cannot see, will guide your life better than you can.
Ask him to guide your next step, to reveal your next decision, to use your life for his purposes. When you sense yourself taking your life back, give it again. When you take it back, give it again. Time after time after time. Disown yourself.
And here’s what you’ll experience: “self-renunciation means God-possession, the being possessed by God” (p. 31). Here is the key to the power of God. It is the key to the peace and presence of God. It is the key to the life you seek this morning.
The bottom line: choose to dwell in the presence of Christ in each moment.
You will experience “a deeper, internal simplification of the whole of one’s personality, stilled, tranquil, in child-like trust listening ever to Eternity’s whisper” (p. 37).
This is “the life beyond fevered strain. We are called beyond strain, to peace and power and joy and love and thorough abandonment of self. We are called to put our hands trustingly in His hand and walk the holy way, in no anxiety assuredly resting in Him” (p. 38, italics his).
This is to live in the Spirit, displaying the fruit of the Spirit. To what degree are you this morning experiencing love? Joy? Peace? Patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control? You can. If you will live in the presence of Christ, in the eternal now.
Richard Foster says, “The Christian life comes not by gritting our teeth but by falling in love.” When you dwell in Jesus’ love each moment, you have his peace.
Thomas Kelly concludes: “I think it is clear that I am talking about a revolutionary way of living. Religion isn’t something to be added to all our other duties and thus make our lives yet more complex. The life with God is the center of life, and all else is remodeled and integrated by it. It gives the singleness of eye…There is a way of life so hid with Christ in God that in the midst of the day’s business one is inwardly lifting brief prayers, short ejaculations of praise, subdued whispers of adoration and of tender love to the Beyond that is within. No one need know about it…One can live in a well-nigh continuous state of unworded prayer, directed toward God, directed toward people and enterprises we have on our heart. There is no hurry about it all; it is a life unspeakable and full of glory, an inner world of splendor within which we, unworthy, may live” (p. 76).
So live in the presence of God, and give your fear about the future to him every time it occurs. You may need to give that fear to him a hundred times this hour; do it every time. Eventually fear will subside and faith will take its place.
Plan for the future, but don’t live there. Pay your bills. Make preparations. Much of our fear about tomorrow comes from feeling that we’re not prepared for what it might bring. Be as ready as you can be. Then leave the results with God.
And choose to live in the now by walking in the presence of Jesus. Begin where you are. Give all you know of yourself to all you know of him. Stay in prayer and worship. Live in the world and in the Spirit. And find in the Eternal Now the peace your heart longs to know.