Jude tells us: Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (1:3-4).
To a large degree my blog has been about contending for the faith and the virtues…as my lead-line Chesterton quote makes evident: “The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice…”
However, if we focus too much on the darkness around us, that darkness begins to fill and smother us. For, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:23)
Therefore, we need to exercise the disciplines that bring us to the place from which we can draw wisdom and strength for fighting against spiritual wickedness. One such discipline is meditation upon the scriptures. And meditation requires a certain type of silence–not so much the ceasing of all sound. We can meditate together on our Lord and share with each other what he of his generosity has revealed.
Rather, meditation requires the rejection of noise. The cacophonous noise of hell works to separate us from our God who is the source of life and light. It takes root in us through our pride and self will which work against our submission to God.
For us to contend for the faith, we must first cease our striving against God:
“thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry; for the spirit would grow faint before me, and the breath of life that I made” (Isaiah 57:15-16)
We cannot by discipline go to the “high and holy place” where God dwells, but we can go to the place of the lowly and contrite where he promises to be.
So, in my efforts to contend for the faith within, I am devoting a short period specifically to meditation upon scripture…not reflections on the daily news. And, since we are in the much neglected season of Pentecost, I would like to begin with meditations on the gift God gives us…His Holy Spirit, the gift of Himself to dwell within us, to heal, to guide, to strengthen and encourage, to correct and bless.
One of the most amazing promises of the Prophets is:
“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” (Ezekiel 36:25-27)
Dwell on that.