Submission & Stillness

Recently, submission and simply being still before the Lord have been important topics amongst my friends.  We discovered it can be unfortunately tricky to rest from “doing” for Him and simply “being”. 
It’s easier if we have measurable goals, like “I’ll write a letter to encourage this person, read that book of the Bible, and fix my husband’s favorite meal even though I hate making it.”  These aren’t bad things, but when we “do” to drown out the “be”, it becomes very dangerous. 
There is danger in the other option as well, but it is a danger that leads to the mountiaintop, not the slough of despond.  We put ourselves at risk when we submit to Him, when we open ourselves to what He wants us to be.  I think we fear this; we are afraid of what He might ask us to do–or not do.  How hard this is!  And we cannot just submit once, for it is a daily death we are called to die.  And this submission to His will is not momentary martydom; we do not merely submit certain “big things”, or turn for His wisdom if our own runs out.  We are to be always open to whatever He would call us to do.  I have this niggling suspicion that we cannot truly be open to Him if we are busy doing and bustling about, even if we are doing godly things.  (Mical provides godly gems of insight into this at http://funandfaithful.blogspot.com/.  Read specifically “A Martha Striving to be a Mary”.)  We have to take the time to sit and not just talk to God, but openly, attentively listen, straining for His Truth, and grasping it with all our might when we perceive it.  Perhaps that may sound romantic or idealistic, but I believe it is imperative that we take time to focus just on His face, not asking, but still seeking…not worrying, but resting, trusting and abiding in Him. 

Think of babies learning to walk.  Because we had felt the peace and security that comes from sitting in Daddy’s lap, we were not afraid when he stood us up and held our hands, encouraging us to stand.  Because we have spent time just resting and placing our total body weight upon him, we have utter confidence in his ability to sustain us, even when he’s calling us to “do hard things”. (there’s an excellent book about stepping outside of comfort zones by Alex and Brett Harris entitled “Do Hard Things”–I recommend it to all ages.) 

Simply taking time to contemplate “Who is the Great I AM?” is not containable, and I think we fear that, especially if we are in a season of carefully schedulized, data-ized time consumption–“every-second-counts-mode”, if you will.  But its benefits far outweight its risks–often the fears are worse than the object that spawned the fear.  Let us remember that “perfect love casts out fear”.  Christ has shown us that perfect love, and the more we think upon His boundless love and amazing grace, the better we can submit to Him, the more strength we have to conquer those fences of fear, and the closer we draw to Him.  And that is our cry–“Nearer, still nearer, while life shall last/until my anchor in glory is cast.” 

Here is my prayer for us this week, my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, who is our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, and Prince of Peace:

“Draw us closer to You, Jesus.  Show us how to integrate you into everything, yet also have time when we set aside everything to focus solely upon You.  Teach us to submit.  We all need that, O God, and You know it.  You know the things we have submitted, those that we want to submit but don’t want to or don’t know how to relinquish, and those we don’t even realize we need to submit.  Help us let go, and glorify You in every curve of this pilgrim path.  We love you, and thank You that You promised You would draw near to those who draw near to You, and we thank You that Your promises always come true.  Help us to drop our craziness, sit at your feet, and drink deep of You and Your Truth.  Let us bask in your light, letting it shine into the dark corners of our hearts.  Clear away our cobwebs, dust, and fears, and illuminate us with Your Spirit, we ask. Thank you for listening to us, and that You will complete the good work You have begun in us.  After we come from our time away with You, Lord, enable us to set forth on the works of Martha with the heart of Mary.  We love You with all we are, and we entrust every part of our lives into Your hands.  Thank You for Your gift of peace–peace untouched by worries and the tumult of this world.   We know that submission brings peace, and we thank You that You will aid us in submission, for we can’t on our own.  We are weak and clueless, but You are strong and all-knowing.  Strengthen us, and help us lean upon You in everything.  You are powerful and in control, and You have ordained our every step.  We give you the glory for everything good in our lives, for we know that every good gift is from above, from the Father of heavenly lights.  Thank You for these gifts, and for the greatest gift of all–eternal salvation through Christ, the Lamb who was slain, who was raised, and who reigns now and forevermore.  It is in His awe-inspiring name we ask these things, Amen.”

Oh, my brothers and sisters, please submit to our heavenly Father whatever you need to submit.  Have a thorough session with God, let go, and keep spending time being still before our Majestic King and High Priest–Jesus Christ!  “[T]o Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Rev. 1:6b)

Alex

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Published in: on September 22, 2008 at 9:44 pm  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Amen Alex! I find it very hard to brush aside the complications of daily life and listen – everything else crowds in!
    Thank you for this incredible post!

  2. Wow, Alex! This is my favorite post of yours (of the ones I’ve read, at least). 😉 What an amazing message – and EXACTLY the reminder I need … on a DAILY basis! I LOVE what you said about the baby in the father’s lap. A GREAT analogy! I need to be so engrossed in Jesus that when hard times come, I can overcome! I won’t be afraid to face those hardships because I am so enveloped in the heart of Christ. … Whoa! … That is a thought to really sit and think about! How do we get to that point?! How do we become so in love with our Savior that we hang on His every word, worship the ground He walks on, establish Him as the CENTER of our lives to the point that we have NO OTHER thoughts but HIS!? It is in those things, that we become so engrossed in Jesus that our hardships are not hard but challenges ready to be faced with the strength of Christ in our lives! Wow! Wow!!!! Thank you for these thoughts! A boost for the rest of my day! Swweeet! Thank you!

    And we need to get together again soon!
    Love ya!
    Mical 🙂

  3. Alex,

    I am grateful that you acknowledge the need
    to live in the presence of Our Lord.
    I believe that this goal is never perfectly
    reached this side of heaven…but it is still where our hearts must strive to live.
    I appreciate your child in the Father’s lap
    analogy. You use great word pictures like your father!

  4. Alexandra,

    Silence and solitude, submission and stillness. How different they are from our pragmatically-based culture, where “blessed are the busy”. It is difficult to merely sit, listening. Meditating. Enjoying. Delighting in God for who He is, merely that. “Be still and know that I am God”.

    I’m going to be that annoying friend who asks you though – how often do you do it? Rhetorically of course, since you aren’t responsible to me, unless you want us to hold one another accountable. In my own life this is a struggle, probably the dumbest one. It heals beyond all other things, to spend time with our Lord, but is woefully neglected. Thank you for the encouragement and reminder.

    Ben

  5. Alex,
    this was a very convicting and encouraging post.
    Benjamin took the words right out of my mouth when he said:
    “…my own life this is a struggle, probably the dumbest one. It heals beyond all other things, to spend time with our Lord, but is woefully neglected. Thank you for the encouragement and reminder.”
    Judy

  6. Soo….

    I heard from Alex that Jill Miser has been lurking around the blog (but haven’t seen any comments so far), so I thought I’d say “Hi Jill!”.
    How’s school? How’s living away from the folks?

    Ben


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