Oh, to have that peaceful, quiet spirit! As I have longed for this in my own life and study, I have come to certain Biblical and practical conclusions. In an age of convenience shopping, I find that I cannot “get” a quiet spirit like I can “get” a new utensil for my kitchen. (And boy, do I have the utensils!) The catalogues do not carry it. No amount of training can achieve it. My disciplined schedule cannot accomplish it. Unlike my approach to collecting kitchen gadgets, seeking a quiet spirit is more like gardening.
Now, I have to laugh because anyone who knows me knows that I am not a very good gardener. In fact, my husband has banned me from the yard, knowing that I will lovingly smother some poor beloved plant of his. It’s not that I do not want a beautiful, colorful landscape. It’s just that I try soooo hard—in my spare time.
Each plant has certain requirements: this much sun, this much water, this much fertilizer. A plant needs to be approached on its own terms. In other words, it needs to be nurtured. As a woman, I find that the squeaky wheel often gets most of my attention. Unfortunately, my plants never squeak—at least not loudly enough for me to hear—until I walk by one day and happen to notice, “Wow! I really need to take care of my plants.”
A quiet spirit is often too easily overturned by the noise of life. Situations arise, and instead of bringing our wearied spirits to God, we sometimes satisfy ourselves by trying to do a quick fix. Fixing it does not mean sitting down for a few minutes and saying, “Ok, God, I ran to You. Now please take care of this situation.” Of course, if you have cultivated a quiet spirit all along, you can find real strength in these brief moments of intercourse with God. But I know that I need real time with my Lord to allow Him to iron out my rumpled spirit.
We can easily fall into the trap of believing that personality is the primary factor in acquiring a quiet spirit. If a certain personality is required, some of us are in deep trouble. As I watch two-year-olds, I have noticed that some of them have the personality of a monkey, and some are quiet and reserved. But just as each two-year-old can learn to obey, we also have the ability, through the Holy Spirit, to acquire a quiet spirit. Look at the following verses to see how God defines the quiet spirit:
I Thessalonians 4:10-12
II Thessalonians 3:11-13
I Peter 3:4
The word quiet in 1 Peter 3 comes from the Greek word hesuchios, meaning still or peaceable. Now being still and peaceable sounds simple until you understand its full meaning. One way to define a word is to define what it is not. Some of the antonyms of hesuchios are as follows: disturbed, turbulent, troubled, disordered, controversial, agitated, ruffled, restless, and insecure. Be honest—isn’t it so easy to lose it, and then let your spirit reflect all of these awful adjectives? We fall back into the flesh, and the ugly head of uncontrolled passion reappears. Not a pretty sight!
God does not want us to be out of Spirit-control. He did not create us to be stressed-out and worried. He has given us the power to overcome our passions, emotions and unstable thoughts. He created us for His glory, and that does not include working ourselves into a state of unrest.
The quiet spirit begins with the inner man. Look at Ephesians 3:16-19:
That He would __________ you, according to the _______ of His glory, to be ______________ with might by __________ ______________ in the inner man; That Christ may _________ in your hearts by faith; that ye, being ______________ and ________________ in love, May be able to ________________ with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth _________________, that ye might be _______________ with all the ____________ of God.
You know the quiet spirit that everyone wants but has a hard time finding? This is it! You cannot describe it. You cannot work for it. You must ask Christ for it. God has given you the Holy Spirit to help you live this life the way He wants you to live it. When you learn to have a quiet spirit, you will comprehend what it is like to be “filled with all the fullness of God.” The quiet spirit isn’t something you can acquire by simply oiling the squeaky wheels of life. The quiet spirit should be the ornament of a Christian woman in every enterprise of life. It is a reflection of her constant communion with her Lord.
I was too busy focusing on the blooms and beauty of a quiet spirit. I forgot about being “strengthened by the Spirit” and being “rooted and grounded in love.” As beautiful, abundant flowers blossom on healthy, strong plants, so a quiet spirit blossoms in the woman who is continually “filled with all the fullness of God.” And, someday, maybe my husband will let me help in the garden.
Written by Kaye Dee Richards
Published in the First Issue of The Beautiful Spirit, 2006