Be Still & Know
How do we... as followers of Christ... as Christians... practically and effectively live for God, every day? Good question, right?
I mentioned last Sunday, that in order to truly live for God, you and I have to be “doers of the word, and not hearers only” as James points out. It’s a daily calling. To take up the mantle of Christ - and to walk in that Truth - has to become part of “who” we are... it has to become part of our identity (as we talked about two weeks ago).
Every... single... day... you & are called to decide who’s going to be in control of our life - will it be the trinity of self, as in “me, myself and I” -or- will it be God, the “Father, Son and Spirit?”
And it’s a constant struggle. I know, because I live that struggle just like you live that struggle. I get it! I completely understand. There are things in our lives that we want to control. And the truth is, some of our habits and tendencies... we certainly need to control.
For instance: God’s Word says we need to control our tongues. James says, “Out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing... which should not be” (James 1:10). We need to control what we say.
We also need to control our thoughts... as in keeping our thoughts focused on “things above and not on earthly things” as God’s Word instructs us, in Colossians 3:2.
So, in other words, there are things in our lives - personal things - things that pertain to us, and our ability to reflect the image of Christ, that we need to control.
But we’re not in control of everything.
Of course, we think we are... but such arrogance is what leads to frustration. But there’s a solution to our frustration; and that solution always starts with letting God be God. It always starts with saying, “God, I’m giving up control, because you can control the things that are out of control in my life.”
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and KNOW that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
In other words, “Stop trying to control everything! Then you will know that I am God. I rule the nations. I rule the earth.”
I don’t know everything that you’re going through... anymore than you know everything that I’m going through! We only walk in our shoes... we can’t walk in someone else’s. And none of us can say with certainty what tomorrow will bring.
But we do know, with crystal clear clarity, what God expects us to do concerning whatever lies ahead. God wants you, and me, to “be still, and know.”
In other words, let go of that confounding desire to control everything and acknowledge that God, and God alone, is in control. Be still, and know! It’s one of the greatest steps to true and lasting peace in our lives.
Listen: Whenever we face out-of-control situations in life, we tend to go to one of two extremes. For some of us, the more out-of-control our life gets, the harder we try to control it.
And for others... we tend to do the exact opposite: because we just give up! You have a pity party and invite yourself to it.
Both of those reactions are “out of step” with God’s calling on our lives. They don’t work.
Instead of being a victim or becoming overly controlling, you and I are called to offer our anxiety, and stress, and frustrations to the only one who can ultimately help us. We’re called, as followers of Christ, to pray, and lay our burdens at the feet of Christ.
Jesus said, “come to me, all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest?” (Matthew 11:28). Jesus didn’t say take your burden to your neighbor... or the local bartender... our to post it all our the internet for the whole world to see! He said “come to ME when you’re weary and burdened... and you will find rest.”
You know... the primary reason you and I experience anxiety and stress and frustration, as God’s Children, is because we resist surrendering “our will” to God’s Will. We’re in conflict with God... we try to control things we were never intended to control to begin with!
News flash: You can’t control your husband... or your kids... or your wife... or your job... or your future... or your past... or any of that stuff. The more you do it, the more flustered you get... because we’re trying to play God... and that puts you in opposition to God. Not only are you going to lose that conflict, but you’re also going to be tired.
Millions of people pray the Serenity Prayer, which is based on the Lord’s Prayer, but most have never read the last eight lines to the prayer: “Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that you will make all things right if I surrender to your will so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with you forever in the next. Amen.”
That’s where the power is! There is power when you surrender to God the very things you’ve been trying to take control of from him.
Try to call to mind something in your life that you’re trying to control... and consider how that’s working out for you! Does it bring your stress, or peace? Does it bring frustration, or rest?
“Be still, and KNOW that I am God.”
“Come to me, all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest?”
For this is the Word of God for the People of God.
Thanks be to God.