Do you want peace and inward quietude of soul? Whensoever the Lord then does begin to speak the least peace to your heart, take heed that you do not refuse it, but rather improve it (put it to good use), and stir up yourselves then in a way of believing. Praise God for every smile, and rejoice in the least. If a bowed (bent) sixpence, as it were, be sent you from heaven, lay it up, even every love token. Peace is a tender thing. Does the Lord speak peace to any of your souls? now stir up yourselves in a way of believing and Christ will give you more. ~ William Bridge, A Lifting Up for the Downcast, 1649
I don't mean to be a perfectionist. Still, I am. God has promised peace, joy, love, fruits of the Spirit, Christlikeness. Why not now? In my flesh I say: let's skip daily death, frequent repentance, constant reliance, Spirit conviction. I would skip ahead and be done. Holy living, have it now.
I find holy living elusive. Sure, I avoid the big sins (by the grace of God). But there are plenty of little sins that make their way out every day. There are plenty of dark corners in my heart. I get discouraged.
Has God given me any peace? Well, certainly, lots of peace. Then I want to qualify, but not perfect peace. However peace is not an all or nothing proposition. Has He begun to speak peace? Put it to good use. Make the most of it. This is only the beginning. Rejoice in every gift from heaven, no matter how small. Hide His love tokens in the secret places of the heart and cherish them. Believe and Christ will give more.
I've been carrying these words in my head since I read them. God promises faithfulness that is new every morning. God promises good gifts tomorrow. What use will I make of them?