Friday, January 4, 2008

A Gentle Spirit

When i take a moment to evaluate the way my life is going, and to really look inside myself, its not difficult to recognize that I'm prone to having a restless spirit. In some ways i recognize this as a blessing. I am eager to accomplish, and to experience new things, and to put myself in challenging positions. I am moved to learn and grow. When a heart is restless for Christ, it is a blessing to have the desire to seek Him out. But when my heart is restless, there is always the chance that i am lacking gentleness and peace as well. 1 Peter 3 tells us

"...let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in God's eyes..."

It is easy to allow the gentleness of our hearts to fade. Life is busy, and stressful, at times sad, and at times so high energy that its not difficult to forget our quiet and peaceful hearts. I think the important thing to remember about living with a peaceful quiet spirit, is that it isn't a compromise to who we are. We all know that there are certain people that live loud and exciting lives, and there are others who prefer to be outwardly quiet and reserved. God created so many different personalities and temperaments, but He calls us all to possess a gentle heart through Him. No matter who we are, God has given us the power to maintain peace in our hearts, and this is the means through which God lends us the beauty that we all hope for.
1 Peter 3 goes on to say

"...have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil, or abuse for abuse; but on the contrary, repay with a blessing."

Compassion breeds compassion, and love breeds more and more love. The more we love each other, and express our love for one another through service and compassion, and charity, the more gentle and peaceful our hearts become. I want to be beautiful, not because of the way that i look, or what i wear, but because the more i am at peace, the more others will be able to recognize Christ in me, and He is real beauty.

"As we obey what God is telling us, He decorates our character with spiritual beauty."

At times its hard to look in the mirror each day and remind myself that this is the beauty i hope to have...the beauty of gentility and compassion. But i want people to be drawn not to me, but to the Christ in me.

I took a class in high school called Christian prayer. One of the biggest things that we tried to accomplish was to be able to recognize the Christ in each other. My teacher taught us a word that has since stuck with me and come to mind each time i recognize Christ in someone else: "Namaste."

He explained to us that it means "The God in me recognizes the God in you."
At the end of each class period, he would fold his hands, give us a little bow, and say "Namaste."
Even in the hallways of my high school, each time he passed someone in our class, he would give us a bow and greet us in that way. Because it was a goal that we had as a class, but also because of his amazing example, I was able to look at others so much differently. I will admit that i had harbored in my heart many judgments about other students, and what i found when i really tried to take a look into their hearts knocked me off my feet.

We are all at different stages in our faith journey, and one is no more important than the next, although we are all working towards the same goal. Some of us may not even know that. But God has placed within us the desire for him, even if we spend our entire lives trying to find fulfillment in other places and never finding true happiness. But Christ's gentle spirit is present in each and every person that crosses our path. How much would our world change if we were able to, just in the quiet of our own hearts, recognize Christ's presence in each person we meet. What better blessing could we repay to others? Freeing my heart from the judgment of others and being open to all of the amazing things that i can learn from each and every person i meet (even if they have no idea that they are teaching me) is such a blessing.

To all of those people who teach me about the gentleness and love of Christ each day...Namaste. The Christ in me recognizes the Christ in you.

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