“To live alone with saints in love –
Oh, won’t that be glory!
But to dwell below
With folks I know –
Well, that’s another story.”

This thought has been quoted so often that its author’s name cannot be recalled by this writer. Notwithstanding, the truth of it is felt by all of us. God has made each of us with a slightly different broadcast signal – and aren’t we glad!

Having our daily problems is unavoidable. So is the friction generated by our differences. The elusive ability to dwell at peace becomes a lifelong pursuit for the seeker. It is not within our nature to want peace with others more than we desire pleasantries for ourselves.

The kind of peace that will be worth having is going to come from the Author of peace. This peace “passeth all understanding,” and it “shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). True peace cannot be kept by our warlike natures. It will have to be generated supernaturally and rehearsed hourly by those who want success in it.

Annie S. Hawks wrote in the 1800s:

“I need Thee every hour,
Most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine,
Can peace afford.”

Human peace is temporary at best and cannot render the truth and tenderness that only the heart of God can avail. The hatchet may be buried, but the handle is somehow always kept within arm’s reach.

The family unit is our primary building foundation in life, and the devil does all he can to blast and shatter it. That is where it is most difficult to maintain peaceful relationships. The reverberations are felt in communities, churches, governments and then internationally.

Real peace is delicate because it rests upon the tender love of God for each person (John 3:16). John writes about knowing and loving God in the letter known as first John: “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that liveth is born of God, and knoweth God” (1 John 4:7). Love among mankind has to come from God and can only be realized by those who are born spiritually of God and thus know God as Father and Jesus Christ as Savior.

It may seem unloving for the reader to visualize Bible truth such as this, but hearts will be satisfied when God’s Holy Spirit begins to make the Word of God real and understandable. We are to diligently seek the truths of God through the channel of faith in Christ (Hebrews 11:6).

The only demand God ever made for you and I to be His children was that we should receive His only Son Jesus personally and privately into our hearts as Savior. It is then that God gives the power to become His sons and daughters. Without the relationship, there can be no fellowship, and there can only be “love” on the human level that most every one of us has known (John 1:12).

“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9). If we intend to know genuine love, we will need to have genuine life. Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is the one simple way for this life and love. It is not human and temporal, but rather it is first spiritual and eternal.

John states it directly: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation (satisfaction of the penalty) for our sins" (1 John 4:10).

It is after being saved, and after the spiritual relationship has been born into, that we enter the realm of sacrificing and serving the Savior Who died to pay our sin’s penalty. God has never asked one little thing of the person who comes to Him for salvation and forgiveness. Christ says: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). We bring no degree of human goodness, acclaim or ceremony whatsoever. We come as desperate, poor, blind beggars. It is indeed only by the grace of God that He would stop to wait for any of us.

What Satan uses to fool a lot of “theological” people is that when a person is born again into God’s spiritual family, the entire scenario about working and doing and loving changes abruptly. As soon as Christ’s command to “Come ye” is obeyed and you and I do come without anything to offer, the next words we hear are to “Go ye therefore,” with a laundry list of fruit-bearing obediences. We do not work for our salvation, but we certainly are to be busy working from it. Christ did give us a sobering reminder in John 15:14: “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”

Paul writes to Corinth: “For the love of Christ constraineth us … that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (1 Corinthians 5:14-15, selections). The resurrection of Christ is the key event that guarantees the resurrection of all those who are truly found “in Him.”

Hawks makes the request in verse two of “I Need Thee Every Hour:”

“Stay Thou nearby
Temptations lose their power
When thou art nigh.”

Christ will stay nigh to us when we diligently seek Him in daily prayer, Bible reading, study and meditation; in fellowship when the Bible-believing church doors are open; and in giving out the Word of God into the traffic lanes of life.

Hawks speaks of life’s vanity without Christ in the third verse:

“In joy or pain
Come quickly and abide,
Or life is vain.”

Then she beseeches in verse four:

“I need Thee every hour
Most Holy One
O make me Thine indeed
Thou blessed Son.”

Yes, indeed!

R.D. “Bob” Hottle is a retired schoolteacher, farmer and pastor of the Anchor Baptist Church.