Monthly Archives: February 2012
“But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.” – Psalm 131:2
It is common knowledge that the continual rush of noise and activity steal away those times to connect with real values in life, but there is never any harm in being reminded of how imperative those times are that so many are inclined to neglect.
People do not want to be still, quiet and face reality; constant activity has become the way to avoid hearing the voice of God. For many there is a tendency to restlessness and depression when faced with just themselves. Oswald Chambers hits a raw nerve in much of our distractions and refusal to face reality today, “If we have been living in unrealities, we shall find ourselves faced with great impatience when we do endeavour to face reality, and we are apt to behave like caged wild beasts. We have to take a grip of ourselves when we come to the true centre of things, and it means discipline and discipline, until we face nothing but realities. We have to exert a tremendous effort, and God is pleased to see us exert it.”
The world is driven by advertisement through television, radio, internet, cell phones, etc to appeal to our ‘needs’ and ‘wants’. Almost everywhere we go we are bombarded by commercials to the point of it becoming a way and comfort within ones routine. Although it’s a nuisance that invades our privacy, somehow we feel we cannot live without it otherwise our world would ‘cease’ to function. We have the technology of communication continually at our finger tips, convinced we cannot survive without it. Somehow, the church feels that she cannot be operative without it either, and therefore will not succeed unless a meeting is powered by the latest trends; corporate worship, preaching and Bible reading is now impossible to manage unless of course we have laptops, ipads and kindles at our beck and call to assist. I wonder how long it will take before text prayer meetings become the new vogue in church activity! How on earth do we think the early church was empowered to succeed over and above our affluent styles and methods? It wasn’t electrical power that made her dynamic, and it certainly is not a power we can tap into with our so-called advanced technology either!
Being alone with God is not escapism, but at our peril is something we have escaped! Constant activity – whether in work, entertainment or socializing – is escapism. It is an indirect refusal to face things as they really are, and there is no better time than when by ourselves – quiet. We were made to periodically rest, reflect and refocus in order to live balanced lives.
We have to make time by prioritizing, and it does take discipline. Some of us may insist that too much demands our attention that doesn’t afford us the luxury to spend quality time with God, moments whereby eternity overrides our clock. Martin Luther, who led the Great Reformation of the 16th century, once said that he had so much to do daily that he first had to be in prayer a few hours beforehand. Many have said that they have accomplished more in their day when seeking the face of God first thing in the morning.
Some may find the chance to ‘squeeze’ God in for a moment or two in their chaotic schedule. It is ridiculous to find these one minute devotions (for those with hectic and busy lifestyles), endorsed by Christian websites; communion with God has been reduced to a 1 minute formula ‘capsule’ with expectancy of ‘time release’ throughout the day – it just does not work. It was Robert Murray M’Cheyne who said, “A man is what he is on his knees before God.” Moses’ face was not incandescent by giving God a minute or maybe two at a push! Some of the biographies of the great leaders in the church knew the art of communion with God on a regular basis. Just reading of their schedule, what they accomplished and the success that followed is incredible. Read the autobiography of Charles Haddon Spurgeon and be amazed at how it was ever humanly possible to cover so many things in one day. Spurgeon was a very able man, a man of astounding intellect and ability, but had he not spent those moments of intimacy with the Lord, he would never have accomplished anywhere near to all he did, not forgetting he was a man assailed with many physical ailments. Robert Murray M’Cheyne – another very able man but whose body was frequently racked with ill health and near to death on occasions – was often in conscious communion with God and achieved so much in such a short life – dying at the age of 29. A.W. Tozer – another leader who had significant impact in the body of Christ – spent more time with God than with anyone else, leaving behind a lasting legacy whose words still thunder with striking clarity and relevance. These men, among hundreds of others, knew that the way to get to know God was to be with Him – and alone! They knew how to come away from all the distractions and demands to a place where they could quiet themselves and listen to God. What they were and what they spoke was the outcome of being with Him. Arthur Neil said, “A conscious communion with God inevitably results in an unconscious communication of Him.”
A sick over-familiarity with the 10th verse of the 46th Psalm has veiled the understanding of many today: “Be still and know that I am God” and there is a kind of ‘stillness’ where our thoughts wander and stagnate, but there is the kind of stillness where we concentrate on God alone, where He communicates His attributes thereby knowing that He is God.
When alone with God, are we transfixed by a sense of peace and solitude, or are we taken up and preoccupied with Him? The worlds varied cults will give you ‘peace’ and ‘tranquility’ – and don’t say they cannot; millions of people would not adhere to them otherwise – but what differentiates the way of the Lord is the Spirit-born-Christian who seeks God for Himself –
“My goal is God Himself
Not joy, nor peace,
Not even blessing, but Himself, My God.”
It is not so much encountering the peace of God but beholding the God of peace that is to be the ultimate motive, making a whole world of difference to the seeker and bringing a difference to the whole world in which we live.