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Be Still and KNOW
By David A. DePra
Be still, and know that I am God. (Ps. 46:10)
One of the biggest ironies of our relationship with God is that we spend much time trying to drag out of God what He has already promised. We try to win the victories He has already won. We try to merit what is freely given. We make lots of noise, do lots of things, but in the end, God may want to say to us, "Be still and know that I am God."
To, "be still and know," is evidence of faith. For if I am truly still before God, it is because I know He is moving – I know He is in charge. I KNOW that He is faithful to take the initiative in my life.
To, "be still," does not mean we don’t obey. It doesn’t mean we are passive. No, that little phrase, "be still," is indicative of my spiritual condition towards God. I am still because I know that there is nothing to be frantic about. Despite my emotions – not necessarily because of an absence of emotion – I am resting in Christ.
The Bible tells us that God has not given us a spirit of fear. We are also told that, "God is love," and that perfect love casts out fear. Do the math. All of these words add up to the reality that there is never any fear incited in us by God. Ever. If I am afraid, the source cannot be from HIM.
No fear is ever of God. None. Zilch. Zero. Now, we don’t believe that. Many of us are not only afraid of God, but we are afraid of what might happen to us, even as children of God. But until we see that no fear is of God, we are going to have much unrest and trouble. We will have great difficultly being still and knowing God.
If I am afraid of God, it always goes back to somewhere I am embracing a lie about Him. Always – even though the lie I’m embracing might not be some formal doctrine. Maybe the LIE I’m embracing is the way I feel – and I paste that on God, thinking that this is the way HE IS. No, it is the way I AM. There is no reason to be afraid of God.
Maybe I’m afraid, not so much of God Himself, but afraid that I might be a fool to trust Him. But again, this is nothing more than believing a lie. Something – perhaps my inability to understand God – is suggesting to me that God may not really be there for me. And at some point I am embracing this lie. Fear is the result.
We need to see this: Fear for a Christian is based on a lie about God. It is based on the suggestion that perhaps God really isn’t there for me. It is based on a picture of God that leaves me outside of His love. It is usually based on MY failures, and MY sin – rather than pointing me to the Redemption of Jesus Christ. Seeing the Truth about God removes the wrong kind of fear. Every time.
Of course, there is a legitimate, "fear of the Lord." But that is not a matter of me being AFRAID of God – it is a matter of REVERING God, that is, realizing His worth and value. The irony is that until we stop being afraid of God, we are not likely to revere Him. In the end, fear will try to get us to RUN AWAY from God. Reverence for God, on the other hand, always motivates us to RUN TO God.
Once we let the wrong kind of fear into our system, and begin to give it place, we have a problem on our hands. Paul told Timothy that God has not given us a, "spirit of fear," and so if we entertain fear, we are entertaining a spirit that is contrary to the Holy Spirit. I’m not here speaking about being demon possessed, but simply the possibility of letting into our system that which belongs to the realm of darkness – a spirit of fear. Once we let that in, we MUST deal with it. It is going to cause great unrest and great anxiety.
Have you ever noticed how, once you begin to travel in your thoughts down a road of fear – have you ever noticed how things just keep getting darker and darker? You cannot talk your way through it, argue your way through it, or find any resolution at all. NO understanding comes from it. No peace comes from it. That road simply spirals downward with no way out. Your emotions, and the fear, simply get worse. Why?
Well, first of all, you are dealing, not with an intellectual or an emotional problem. You are dealing with a SPIRIT OF FEAR – a spiritual dynamic. Thus, you are trying to deal with it on the wrong basis. The spirit of fear is really is of another realm. It can be dealt with only in the spiritual realm – and that is done by refusing it through faith.
On you let in fear, and let it begin to move you, you will have a war on your hands. Eventually, you are going to have to deal with it, because if there is one thing a spirit of fear does not do – it will not go away. It will push and push and push. So in the end, you have to do something about your fear. You will either have to give into the suggestions of fear – suggestions that play upon your mind and emotions – or you will have to decide that God is faithful despite your fears.
God tells us how to deal with fear. He says, "Fear not." When everything is said and done, you are not going to argue away fear. You are not going to find a secret line of reasoning that will expose your fear as nonsense – fear will just come back along another line. Neither are you going to get rid of fear by merely getting someone to pray that you will be delivered from fear. You don’t need to be delivered from fear. You need to delivered from unbelief. You need to start believing you ARE delivered from fear through Christ. And then, based on faith in Christ, you need to FEAR NOT.
But you see, we think that fear is something that sort of HAPPENS TO US. And that we are powerless to stop it. In Truth, we can stop it anytime we choose. But we usually don’t stop it because fear will attach itself to our emotions, perceptions, and understanding. It will seem REAL – even rational. Yet if we will step OUTSIDE of all of those things, and believe God – to the complete disregard of how we feel -- fear will dissipate. It may take a bit for the emotions that are stirred to die down. But once we speak the Truth in our hearts, and refuse fear by believing, fear will be exposed as a lie.
Do you believe that when God tells us to, "fear not," that He knows we are able to, "fear not?" Or do you think that God is telling us to, "fear not," all the while knowing that it is impossible for us to, "fear not?" I rest my case.
How do you, "fear not?" You, "fear not," by, "fearing not!" In other words, you have to make the choice, in the face of your stirred up emotions, and in the face of what you might perceive as facts that support your fears, to FEAR NOT. But to, "fear not," isn’t just a matter of refusing fear – in the sense of continually fighting fear. No. You must, "fear not," by believing. In other words, stop listening to fear and start listening to God. That is why Jesus once said, "Fear not, only believe."
We must FEAR NOT by BELIEVING. That is a choice of will that we can make. Yes, you can. If you are in Christ, you have everything in you necessary to do that. It may require that you deliberately take charge of your thoughts, and that you put aside your reasonings. You may feel like a fool for fearing not. But do it. You might be amazed at how the air clears, and how the spirit of fear is exposed for the liar it is.
The spirit of fear is the root cause of more problems among Christians that we can possibly imagine. That is because all fear goes back to where I have believed lies about God. Thus, the solution is the Truth. Once I begin to see the Truth, I will BE STILL – because I KNOW.
Christians constantly wrestle with God. We usually don’t call it that, but so often we wrestle with God by arguing with Him. We try to convince Him that He is obligated to do such and such. We complain to Him about what He has allowed, or not allowed, in our lives. We try to use this or that line of reasoning to force God into conceding the point to us. Somehow in all of this, it has escaped us that we are dealing with Almighty God, who knows all things.
There are other ways we wrestle with God. Often we do whatever we think we ought to do for God, so that He will do for us what we desire. Maybe we do some good work. Or perhaps give money. Or maybe our efforts are more veiled. Some folks, knowing God requires faith, give Him faith! Faith becomes a sort of, "position they take," or a, "posture they adopt." It is almost like we do whatever it is we think God wants us to do, or say whatever it is that we think God wants us to say – and we think that this is real faith. It is not.
All of this is not of faith. It is really of fear. Of fear? Sure. I am frantically trying to SHORE UP my position before the Lord, lest I lose out. I am trying to get on God’s good side, lest I end up out of His will. I am trying to walk the high wire of God’s will, lest I fall off and end up in a mess.
Herein we find the greatest irony. Christians wrestle with God. We think that this is the way to get through to Him. But God is saying, "I want you to STOP wrestling, so that I can get through to YOU!"
The key to so much in the Christian life is that we STOP trying to wrestle it from God, and simply believe we already have it in Christ. And then, as Christ is unfolded to us, things fall into place. But don’t think that this is merely a theological position we must learn. No. It is a spiritual condition into which we must come, based on faith in Jesus Christ.
Often the only way in which we will stop wrestling is either by losing the wrestling match, and learning a hard lesson, or by coming to the point of total exhaustion of our own efforts. Then we are ready to finally BE STILL – because we finally see that all of our wrestling got us absolutely nowhere.
Probably every Christian must come to the place of total depletion and exhaustion on some issue before we will learn the lesson that we need not wrestle out of God what He already wants to give. This is a testimony of the way we are made – we WILL struggle with God and wrestle. But later in our Christian walk, this ought to subside a bit. We ought to learn the lesson and begin to be more still because we know and believe God.
Rest, Not Resignation
God does not want us to stop wrestling and surrender to Him out of resignation or defeat. He doesn’t want us to say, "Well, my wrestling didn’t work. So I guess I’ll try resting." No. He wants us to come to the place where we stop wrestling because of one thing: We see wrestling was never necessary. God was faithful the whole time. We just didn’t see it.
Rest is not resignation. Rest is not giving up on God. Rest is giving up on myself. I rest because I believe, not because I don’t.
Herein we need to see a great Truth: Surrender is not supposed to be the result of us seeing we are out of options – in other words, surrender should not be what we do because we are painted into a corner and must do it. Neither should surrender be something we do because we think IF we do it, THEN God will respond – sort of like surrender is our part of a deal we make with God. No. None of that is true surrender. True surrender to God is joyous. It is the result of seeing and rejoicing in the fact that there never was anything I could do to help myself, and that God never expected me to. I rejoice in the fact that God is faithful, and finally, and gladly fall into His hands.
God does not want us to surrender to Him because we have wrestled and lost – although if that is what it takes, then so be it. That is what it took with Jacob, and sometimes we need to learn that lesson. But there is a better way, and once we learn the hard way, we will see it. God really wants us to surrender – not by wrestling and losing – but by refusing to wrestle to begin with. In other words, we FORFEIT the wrestling match through faith.
But you see, in order to do that, we have to BELIEVE that God is faithful, and more than willing to help us – without the need for us to argue Him into it. We have to KNOW that God is already with us – without us clubbing Him over the head with His own promises. If we KNOW that, then we won’t wrestle so much.
In short, God wants us to BE STILL AND KNOW HIM – or to put it another way, He wants us to be still BECAUSE we know Him. Knowing and believing God brings a rest. And it is the only way we will come to it.
When God Does Nothing
I think one of the biggest frustrations is when we surrender to God, the best we know how, and NOTHING happens. This can go on for years. And at some point, the question arises, "Where is God?"
There are answers to this dilemma. First of all, we usually think that what God is after in our trials is to solve the trial. We think that because it is usually what WE are after. But that is not God’s priority – although He will get around to doing His will in the trial. God is really after drawing us to HIMSELF – the trial is simply the circumstance that presses us to Him.
If you haven’t noticed, some of the biggest choices you and I make by faith happen in difficult, if not desperate, situations. Some of these might be outward, but there are also many INWARD crisis which call upon us to abandon ourselves to God in surrender. But the crisis is NOT what God wants. What God wants is US – the crisis simply gave us motivation to seek Him more fully. A crisis not only gives us the opportunity to seek and surrender to God, but it gives God the opportunity to reveal Himself to us through the crisis.
But we need to understand this very important point: God’s silence and seeming indifference in our trial is PART OF THE TRIAL. Get that. We demand God show Himself during a crisis. God would say to us, "My silence is part of the crisis. My silence is the whole point. I want you to believe despite it." So one reason God seems to do nothing in our trial is because He wants it to seem like He is doing nothing in our trial. THAT is His whole point. It is a necessary part of the trial.
Another reason God seems to be doing nothing is that this is necessary if we are to grow in faith. It is one thing to surrender to God when He speaks, shows Himself, or gives us an assurance. But it is another to surrender to God when there is no evidence that He is even there! Yet at some point we are going to have to face this choice. It is a choice to DIE to our understanding. And if we will make that choice and believe, there will eventually come a revelation of Jesus that could not happen otherwise.
A third reason God is silent despite our surrender is that what we think is a real, deep, and profound surrender, may not be quite that. God wants to deepen it. And frankly, if our surrender is real, when God does nothing, we aren’t going to take it back, are we? Take note of how you react when God doesn’t seem to do what you think He ought – on the heels of your supposed surrender.
True surrender to God does expect LIFE as the result. But true surrender cannot make demands – for making demands is evidence that I am still wrestling. Surrender to God and LET IT GO – and keep LETTING IT GO. By faith, not by resignation. Because you believe, not because you are, "fed up with God." God IS working, and He IS faithful, and in the end, it will be proven so.
There is NO WAY to know for sure what God is trying to do in our lives until we begin to surrender to Him. Unconditional surrender TO God is the only way to KNOW God – and to come to see what He has been doing. So if you and I are trying to figure out what is going on BEFORE we will surrender, we are wasting our time. We must first surrender even if we are VOID of understanding. Then, through the resurrection that will come out of that, we will KNOW.
If you listen to some of the teachings that prevail today about faith in God, you cannot help but come to the conclusion that our faith moves God. Sometimes people are smart enough to realize that we cannot, and should not, seek to move God to do OUR will. But even then, we often hear that our faith can move God to do HIS will. Yet this also is error. You faith never moved God – neither to do YOUR will or HIS will.
There is a reason why you cannot move God to do even HIS will. It’s because IT IS His will! He must do it, and can do it only without our pushing Him. Doesn’t it seem silly to try to convince anyone, let alone God Almighty, to do what they already want to do – to do what is already their will? Yet if we try, we will get ourselves out of the place where God can do His will. Why? Because God’s will isn’t just a THING He does. It is a relationship He has with us, leading to a THING He does. Thus, if we try to push God, we are messing up the relationship. And this hinders the THING that may come along with it.
God says to us, "Be still and know that I am God. Stop reminding Me that I am God. Stop running around making noise because you think it is the only way to get My attention, or show Me you are sincere. Stop trying to earn My love, and stop receiving the condemnation that tells you that I am not with you. Stop all of that traffic. Stop pulling, tugging, and wrestling with Me. Be still and know that I am God."
This one short verse, "Be still, and know that I am God," (Ps. 46:10) says it all. It is not God that needs to get still. WE need to get still. God doesn’t need to be convinced, begged, coerced, or argued, into doing His will. Rather, we need to STOP trying to convince God, beg God, and stop trying to coerce God into doing His will. We need to BE STILL and KNOW that God has always been right where He needs to be.
Herein we come to the definition of faith that is wrapped up in this verse. Faith means that I am still because I know God. I am, "still," in the sense that I have relinquished myself to the reality that God was faithful a long time before I was born, and doesn’t need to be talked into being faithful now. I am, "still," in the sense that I know that there is nothing I can do to make God more faithful to me, and nothing I can do to make Him less faithful to me. I am, "still," because I know that all of the promises of God find their YES and AMEN in Him, and not in me.
Wrestling With God?
When we are in a trial of our faith, some of us seem to think that the battle is between us and God. We need help and God isn’t giving it to us. So the battle has to do with how to get God moving. So we hunt and search, try to impress God, and do whatever we think will convince God that He ought to help us. This can go on for years.
But the battle is NEVER between us and God. The battle is between US and US. The call upon us is NOT that we win a wrestling match with God. Rather, it is that we STOP FIGHTING – and BE STILL.
Now, the moment I say this, it is going to sound as if I am denying that there is a warfare. No. I am not denying that. I am simply defining the warfare. The warfare is not to fight our way through to God so that finally we can be still. Rather, the warfare is to BE STILL – because we know God.
Jesus Christ has already won every victory there is to win. There are no exceptions. The PROBLEM is that we don’t believe this – and we manifest our unbelief by trying to wrestle with God. God says, "You don’t have to wrestle out of Me what I already want to give. But I cannot give it to you until you stop wrestling."
We have to decide: Either God is faithful to us by His own initiative, or He is not. All or nothing. No middle ground. And despite the fact that we may not understand how things can be the way they are if God is faithful, we dare not base our faith in God upon our understanding – because we simply do not have all of the facts. We don’t. The only solution is to BE STILL AND KNOW. If we will follow that one command, we will, in the end, see that God was faithful to us – even during the times when He seemed the most far away.
Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation. (Zec 2:13)
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