4 Vital Reasons to Be Still
Psalm 46:10 powerfully proclaims,
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
I remember the first time I was encouraged to practice the wisdom of this verse. It was the summer of 1986, while I was preparing for a summer missions project to the former Soviet Union. I was in New York and the project leads asked us to spend 30 minutes practicing the discipline of being still. Not praying. Not problem solving. Not dreaming. Just being still before God. Almost 30 years later, I still remember the awkwardness I experienced at Kings College in New York that afternoon, as I tried to get my mind and body to be still.
The Hebrew definition for "stillness" is to stop striving, to let go, to surrender. Whether it's practicing Sabbath, or being still, the psalm reminds us that we can take comfort in letting go and resting in God to provide help, strength and safety in those times of renewal. Yet, this is tremendously difficult in our media rich, always-on, over-communicated society. It is not uncommon for the noise of this world to crowd into every empty space, leaving us spiritually, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. And that's why it's important to unplug and surrender to the One who ultimately provides.
In fact, here are four vital reasons to practice stillness in your life:
To remember that we're human beings, not human doings. If our salvation isn't based on what we do (Eph. 2:8,9), then neither should our significance. On the contrary, our identity needs to be rooted in who we are in Christ. When we cease striving, we recognize who we are, what we were created for, and it causes us to live a more balanced life. Now don't get me wrong, God desires us to participate in His plan and do things for Him, but our doing must be the result of being in His presence. Our works are the overflow of being with God.
To understand our limitations. Let's face it! We're not God and we can't save the world. By practicing Sabbath and stillness, we understand our limitations. Understanding our limitations allows us to let go and let God, be God! And this frees us up to truly rest in the arms of the One who has it all in control.
To express our dependence and trust in God. When we pause to spend time with God, we really have to trust God to provide the time we desperately need. In God Calling, Sarah Young writes as if Jesus is speaking the following words, "Trust Me enough to spend ample time with Me, pushing back the demands of the day. Refuse to feel guilty about something that is so pleasing to Me, the King of the universe." Sometimes it's hard to make room for God in the busyness of my day, but it's pretty amazing how God multiplies my time when I spend time with Him and honor Him in stillness. When we pause, we're saying, God I trust you to fill in the gap!
To hear God speak. Here's some truth...we can't hear the whispers of the Holy Spirit in the hectic pace of life. God often speaks out of the depths of His own silence. First to create the world, then to renew it through the incarnation of His Son. And God calls us to silence as well. He invites us to go into our room, our chosen sacred space, and to shut the door and pray to our Father who is in secret, assured that our Father who is in secret will answer our prayer (Matt. 6:6). It is in that silence that we can listen to God, hear His voice, and discern His plan and purpose for our life.
In considering the wisdom of this psalm, I wonder if perhaps God is asking you to seek His voice in rest and stillness, as you cultivate your relationship with Him. You see, as Christians, we often get the impression that growing in our faith means adding a bunch of spiritual activities to our crazy-busy lives. But lately, I'm finding that drawing near to God is more about subtracting, than adding. Yet for this Type A personality, I have to admit that this paradigm is a difficult one to embrace, but I believe that as we do, we keep urgency from edging God out of our lives. And as we remain in Him, we will bear much fruit, for apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5)!
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I would love to hear from you about how God is working in your life. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time...
Groups Pastor at Bayside@Adventure
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