Life is busy. Like really, really busy. It gets even busier if you have kids at home, or grandkids to love on, or are married, or hold down a full-time job, or a part-time job, or multiple jobs, or serve at your church, or volunteer for an organization, or have any relationships to speak of, or if you’re a living, breathing human being. And if you are lucky enough to have more than one (or a few) of these schedule busters, your busy life becomes truly insane.
“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10a
With so many of life’s demands vying for your attention every day, the idea of being still before God seems laughable. In our fast paced, success driven American culture, sitting in silence feels like a waste of our time. But it’s important.
There are many reasons to prioritize being still before God, but only three that I am going to point to today.
1. Be Still to Hear His Voice
Here’s the thing. God can speak to you any way He chooses (He is God after all), and sometimes He does choose the big and loud to get your attention, but this isn’t usually the case. And to be honest, I’m not sure you want Him to have to use the crazy attention-getter with you, that approach is rarely pleasant.
And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. 1 Kings 19:11-12
A whisper is missed if we are not listening for it. And it is difficult to listen for it if the voices in our own head or the demands of life are drowning it out. It is important to settle your soul to hear God’s voice. The only way to do this is to become familiar with hearing the voice of God by spending time in His word, the Bible.
If you do not intimately know somebody’s voice, it is difficult to pick it out in a crowd. The only way to gain that level of intimacy is to talk with them often. I read something the other day that said that a married couple does not begin to truly experience intimacy until 10-15 years into their marriage. If that is the case for two people who spend every day together, how much more would that be with the God of the universe?
Spending daily time in God’s word and discerning God’s voice regularly is the only way to recognize the whisper when it comes.
“The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” John 10:3b-5
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2. Surrender to His Authority
We tend to be such overachievers, don’t we? Working to attain the reward on our own blood, sweat, and tears…and in our own way. But it’s not about us. Well, it shouldn’t be at any rate.
If we want to see God’s best in our lives, if we want to see God work, we need to step aside and surrender. Allow Him to work. Humble yourself before Him and let go.
And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today…The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:13-14
And oh, He is so capable of handling your things. I don’t know why we begin to think that we alone can make success of our lives. We are but merely human.
After preaching to a multitude of people, Jesus and His disciples got into a boat to sail across the sea. While in the middle of the sea, Jesus was sound asleep when a large storm came upon them. The storm was more than the disciples could handle so they woke Jesus.
And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Mark 4:39
In His groggy state of half-sleep, He still commanded more authority than the twelve men (experienced fishermen included) who were with Him. Not one of them were capable of managing the storm without Him. If they had just woken Him up to begin with, instead of wearily attempting to navigate on their own, they would have been saved from all the stress, anxiety, and exhaustion.
So be still and offer up a prayer of surrender to the Lord today. Don’t wait until you are beat down in weary failure, too exhausted to go on.
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3. Wait on Him
Once you have surrendered to God’s voice, it is time to be still and wait. We are often tempted to give our struggles to God only to take them back again when He doesn’t answer right away. We are quick to assume that He doesn’t care when we don’t see immediate action.
But what if His silence is instead asking us to also be silent, to be still and know that He is God? What if His silence is His voice saying, “Trust Me”?
For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15
When we sit still waiting on the Lord, we allow God to work in His way and in His timing. Honing this skill will create an unbreakable bond of trust in the Lord that will only grow stronger with time. Every time you slow down to hear God’s voice, surrender to His authority in your life, and wait on Him, you grow in your intimacy with Him.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:24-26
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“Be still and know that I am God.” This is not just a soft suggestion for adding peace to your life. It is a crucial command and plays an essential part to drawing close to your heavenly Father.
And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. Isaiah 32:17