(Blog Post by Stan Kellner – www.stankellner.com)
Posted September 27, 2010
Read Psalm 46, esp. verse 10
Psalm 46:10, in most translations, says, “Be still and know that I am God”. Awesome translation, awesome goal and awesome experience. As good as this verse sounds, I discovered some time ago an alternate translation from the Hebrew – “Cease striving…” as opposed to “be still”. Oy Vey! Now, that nuance takes on a whole new meaning.
Be still could mean things like find a quiet place and spend some time with God, when I’m nervous I need to be still and pray, etc. All good stuff. But when I looked at this verse with a fresh perspective, the truth rang more deeply in my heart. Cease striving. Okay, now that’s something that hits me right at the heart.
Our world today, at its core, is really no different than the first century culture or the Old Testament culture. I guess ever since Adam and Eve, mankind has had troubled with balance, with doing things in moderation. Seems we either work at a frenetic pace (because we’re excited about burning out for Jesus) or we work at a hugely slow pace (thinking that deliberateness is next to godliness).
So how does this play out in my life? Cease striving when I find myself in a tight spot. Cease striving when I have just lost my job and feel I’ve got to initiate a flurry of activity. Cease striving (like my activity will gain greater favor with God anyway) and chill; rest in God’s love and grace. You can make your own list.
Cease striving Abraham and let me work out the child thing. (Oops! Abraham strove and look what we’ve got now.) Cease striving Moses and let Me part the Red Sea. Cease striving Gideon and let Me distill your army down to 300 rather than thousands. Cease striving Jehoshaphat and let Me smite the enemy. Cease striving Peter and don’t cut off any more ears already! Cease striving, Stan, and I’ll guide you to your next role. (Ooh! Now that’s hitting too close to home.)
Wow! How in the world do we even attempt to apply this in our busy, fast-paced, technologically connected world?
- There is a “be still” factor in this process. Stop for a moment and take a deep breath. I mean right now. Didn’t that feel good?
- I find that there is a fine line between putting forth effort and striving. Each of us must define this line before God. I can’t answer for someone else. They can’t answer for me. But we need to ask God for His wisdom and clarity.
- Caution Flags – If my BP is going up, perhaps I’m striving. If my palms are getting sweaty, perhaps I’m striving. If I’m doing more effort and less praying, perhaps I’m striving. If my brain is obsessed with how to solve the problem as opposed to trusting God to give me His wisdom as to how to solve the problem, perhaps I’m striving.
- Ask God on a daily basis to fill your life with His presence, His expectations, His peace and trust that what ever you accomplish today is exactly what God wanted you to accomplish for him. Nothing more, nothing less.
Now, that doesn’t that feel better?