The heart of your life as a Christian is contained in God’s words to Abraham, “Walk in My presence, and you will be perfect.” God’s presence calms your spirit, gives you restful sleep and quiets your mind. But you must give yourself completely to Him.
It does not take much time to love God, to renew yourself in His presence and to adore Him in the depths of your heart. The kingdom of God is within you, and nothing can disturb it.
When outward distractions and a wayward imagination hinder you from having a peaceful inner life, then you must, by an act of will, bring yourself before God. Not that you can force yourself into God’s presence, but even the desire to come into God’s presence is, in itself, a powerful aid to your spirit. Cultivate a pure and upright intention toward God.
From time to time you must stir up your deepest desire to be fully devoted to God. There need to be seasons when you think on Him alone, with a wholly undistracted love. Consecrate your senses to Him completely at these times. Don’t get caught up with things that you know distract you both outwardly and inwardly from God. Once you are distracted from God it is hard to return to Him.
Whenever you notice that you want anything too much, then stop yourself immediately. God does not dwell in the midst of chaos and disorder.
Don’t get caught up with what is said and done around you. You will be deeply disturbed if you do. Find out what God expects from you in any given situation and stick strictly to doing that. This will help you keep your inner spirit as free and peaceful as possible. Get rid of everything that hinders your turning easily to God.
An excellent way to maintain a quiet spirit is to let go of every action just as soon as you complete it. Don’t keep thinking about what you have or haven’t done! And don’t blame yourself for forgetting something or for doing something you regret.
You will be much happier if you keep your mind only on the tasks at hand. Think of something only when it is time to think of it. God will tell you when the time comes to deal with something. You will exhaust your mind by trying to figure out God’s will before the right time comes.
Make a habit of bringing your attention back to God on a regular basis. You will then be able to quiet all your inner commotion as soon as it starts to be churned up.
Cut yourself off from every pleasure that does not come from God. Seek God within, and you will undoubtedly find Him with peace and joy. Be more occupied with God than anything else.
Do everything with the awareness that you are acting before God and for His sake. At the sight of God’s majesty, calmness and well-being should fill your spirit. A word from the Lord stilled the raging sea, and a glance from Him to you, and from you to Him, will do the same for you.
Lift up your heart to God. He will purify, enlighten and direct you. David said, “I have set the Lord always before me” (Ps. 16:8, NKJV). Repeat his beautiful words: “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You” (Ps. 73:25).
Do not wait for the time when you can shut the door without interruption. The moment you long for inward prayer is enough to bring you into God’s presence. Turn toward God simply, trustfully and with familiarity.
Even in those moments you are most interrupted, you can turn toward your Father. You can find relief by experiencing a moment of inward fellowship with God. So you see how “all things work together for good to those who love God” (Rom. 8:28).
Read what is suited to your current needs. Pause, as you read, to listen to God’s voice directing you. Two or three simple words, full of God’s Spirit, are like food for the spirit. The words are forgotten, but they are still doing their work secretly, and the spirit feeds on them and grows strong.
François de Fenelon, better known simply as “Fenelon,” became the Archbishop of Cambrai, France, in the late 1600s. His correspondence on the subject of a deeper walk with Christ still influences us today.