A church member and friend has coerced me into reading a book by Fenelon, “Letting Go: to get peace and real joy”. I say coerced because I know he asked me to dig through it (short but stout) because of my desire to control aspects of life that, well… are in need of God’s continual control. Say, like pastoring a church plant that is the living body of Christ.
It is a brief book of letters written by Francois de Salignac de La Mothe Fenelon, the Archbishop of Cambrai, France during the seventeenth century. He was writing to a small group of people at the Court of Louis the Fourteenth. Apparently they lived in a world of shameless immorality and struggle, kinda like us. Try his words on for size and may they be a blessing to you.
The good that comes from any experience of personal weakness is the realization that God wants us to be lowly and obedient. So may the Lord keep you!
I am amazed at the power that comes to us through suffering; we are worth nothing without the cross. Of course, I tremble and agonize while it lasts, and all my words about the beneficial effects of suffering vanish under torture. But when it is all over, I look back on the experience with deep appreciation, and am ashamed that I abore it with so much bitterness. I am learning a great deal from my own foolishness!
The great Physician who sees in us what we cannot see, knows exactly where to place the knife. He cuts away that which we are most reluctant to give up. And how it hurts! But we must remember that pain is only felt where there is life, and where there is life is just the place where death is needed. Our Father wastes no time by cutting into parts which are already dead. Do not misunderstand me: He wants you to live abundantly, but this can only be accomplished by allowing Him to cut into that fleshly part of you which is still stubbornly clinging to life.
Learn to cultivate peace. And you can do this by learning to turn a deaf ear to your own ambitions and thoughts. Or haven’t you yet learned that the strivings of the human mind not only impair the health of the body, but also bring dryness to the soul.
Love of self, which the world advocates, is a thousand times more dangerous than any poison.
Be careful about your motives in this eager chase for knowledge. You are aware, aren’t you, that all we need is to be poor in spirit, and to know nothing but Christ and him crucified. Although being a know-it-all makes us feel important, what is really needed to strengthen Christian character is love. You certainly don’t think it possible that the love of God and the dethroning of self can only be reached through the acquisition of knowledge. You already have more knowledge than you can use. You would do better to put into practice what you already know. Oh how we deceive ourselves when we suppose that we are growing in grace because our vain curiosity is being gratified by the enlightenment of our intellect! We need to be humble, and to understand that we cannot receive God’s gifts from man. The love of God comes to us only from Jesus.