“Beloveds, you belong to God. You have already won a victory over non-believers, because the Spirit which lives in you is greater than the spirit which lives in the world.”
1 John 4:4
Notes for Contemplation as You Use this Devotional:
- This passage from 1 John is often titled, “Testing the Spirit,” and sometimes “Discerning False Prophets.”
- The John Writer (different from the Gospel writer), in addressing his congregation, implies that those who live from the Spirit within, who are God-connected, are better able to discern what is true from what is false.
- Consider that false prophets can seem genuine to us, and in their minds, they are. They believe that they have found “the” way, rather than “a” way. To be at peace, we usually need to discern our own way, rather than only following what someone else advises.
- Faith in God is the foundation, the heart of Jesus’s, and many other spiritual masters’ messages. God first, then the world; not the other way around. Remember that Jesus says, according to the Gospel Writer called John (14:27): “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.”
- Rev. Howard Thurman, a 20th American mystic and theologian, reminds us that we must remain connected to God to find our place of ever-abiding peace. He says: “The only hope . . . the only possibility of stability . . . is to establish an Island of Peace within one’s own soul. . . . Well within the island is the Temple where God dwells — not the God of the creed, the church, the family, but the God of one’s heart. . . All is available to [us] in the Presence.”
- Being as specific as possible, what is happening in my life right now which I am fighting or resisting, especially if it is something which is not occurring my way, by my standards, and/or on my time schedule?
- List, word map, or illustrate everything which applies. Consider the gamut of your experience.
- Notice and describe how the “fight” or “resistance” feels in your body.
- Being as specific as possible, how have I attempted to alter, control, or fix the outcome of what is occurring and/or the behavior of other people involved?
- List, word map, or illustrate all the attempts, no matter how large or small.
- Now consider the list. Circle all the successful strategies. Cross out those which were unsuccessful.
- Notice and describe how the successes and failures feel in your body.
- As I consider which strategies have succeeded and which have failed, what am I now ready to release so I can let go and let God, so I can be at peace —even if the outcome does not occur my way?
- Taking deep, cleansing breaths, breathing in through your nose and blowing the air out through your mouth, list, word map, or illustrate whatever applies.
- Review the list again. Then describe how your body feels now.
- When I contemplate all my answers, what victories am I truly seeking?
- Again, taking deep, cleansing breaths, breathing in through your nose and blowing the air out through your mouth, list, word map, or illustrate whatever you imagine. Be sure to notice how these differ from any strategies you already have attempted.
- When I contemplate all my answers, what are at least three (3) ways I can establish and maintain my own Island of Peace?
- List, word map, or illustrate as much as you can.
As you work with this devotional, know that you are a divine, beloved creation of God, always fully worthy and deserving of God’s peace. Remember that Jesus and other spiritual masters are able to detach themselves from the desire to realize particular outcomes, so they maintain a sense of equanimity and peace. Be assured that we can be victorious by staying connected to God and living by faith first. Then we can see the challenges or obstacles before us and choose to act, rather than react. When anxious doubtful, or uncertain, we can pause and return to our Island of Peace, awaiting the guidance which comes from the consciousness of our hearts, the still, small voice of God.
© 2021 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks – All rights reserved.