ANGER AND ANXIETY characterizes our lives more than patience and peace. We act in compulsive, competitive, and controlling ways. We have our addictions, though some of us hide them better than others. We lose our temper, and our tongues rattle off with meaningless chatter or hurtful diatribes. Then all of this produces grief and guilt because we don’t want to live in this way. A conflict rages inside us. We know we ought to love, and at times we desire it deeply; but still, more often than not, we do not do it.
Hear this good news: the experience of Christ’s presence is transformative. That presence compels and creates love, reorients and renews the human spirit toward compassion and kindness. That presence creates a whole new capacity to love God, neighbor, and self. I remember the story of the woman who stood in a worship service to testify, “I’m not what I ought to be. I’m not what I’m going to be. But thank God, I’m not what I used to be.”
Personal transformation is not left to us alone. We are not abandoned to our own will and wit. It is not just the warring elements in our personality that can determine the development of our character. A divine dimension beyond our psychic and emotional energy can empower us to love. An incredible gift is offered to us. Not only consolation, comfort, and companionship but Christ’s real presence collaborates with us in the process of inward transformation.
– Daniel Vestal
Being the Presence of Christ
From page 62 of Being the Presence of Christ: A Vision for Transformation by Daniel Vestal. Copyright © 2008 by Daniel Vestal. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
How are you being transformed? Share your thoughts.
For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Psalm 1:6, NRSV
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This week we remember: Hildegard of Bingen (September 17).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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