Updated: Mar 1
When I first started in ministry, an African Bishop visited our church. We were helping his churches in that continent. He spent the night with us, and the following day as we were having breakfast together, he looked at me and said, “Young man, you need to understand something. You're young, so this is important. The enemy's going to come at you. He's going to try to get you to fail with sexual Immorality. He’s going to try to get you to make a mistake that will damage your ministry and distance you from the presence of God. And, if he can't get you to fail in that regard, he'll try to get you to do something inappropriate with money like the misappropriation of funds or greedily stealing something that doesn’t belong to you so that he can distance you from your destiny. If that doesn’t work, he'll try to offend you. He'll try to make you bitter so that your heart will be hardened, and once again, he wants to make you feel distant from God’s purpose in your life. But, if none of the first three attempts work, the enemy will not stop. Instead, he will transform his attack and chase you with the spirit of hindrance. Distractions, interruptions, disruptions will surround every facet of your life. This attempt will get you so focused on “putting out fires” that you lose touch with any meaningful connection with God. Your prayer life will suffer. You will feel distant from God. Your decision-making processes will lack prayerfulness. Young man…the last of the four strategies of hell may be the most dangerous. So, if you overcome the first three by running away from what’s chasing you, never forget victory over the fourth attack requires you to BE STILL.”
I’m sure you can relate. The enemy is so insistent on keeping you distracted that it makes you feel like you have to be constantly moving. You have to be doing something continually, and you wrestle with the anxiety of “missing out” if you’re not present here or there or somewhere. Even the desire you struggle with to be constantly connected is probably directly related to the spirit of hindrance. Most likely, you’ve probably noticed, you are very uncomfortable with stillness, even when you’re tired. You need noise visually or audibly to make you feel normal. Stillness is awkward. Stillness feels very odd because we are so unaccustomed to it. The truth of it is that we are not comfortable with being still. And, therein lies the issue.
Many want to hear the voice of God. And, of course, God can speak in many ways, but repeatedly in Scripture, one of the things you will discover is that God's favorite way to speak to us is in moments when we are still.
So, how can we become STILL?
1. TURN EVERYTHING ELSE DOWN
We often want God to turn his voice up, but God prefers that we turn everything else down. Elijah learned God’s voice wasn’t in the fire, the wind, or the earthquake but rather the “still” small voice. In other words, one of the greatest prophets of all time did not hear God until he became still.
2. STOP MOVING
When Moses encountered God at the burning bush, God commanded Moses to take his shoes off. Although there is a lot of revelation about why he took his sandals off, most likely, in most remarkable simplicity, it meant, Moses, you need to be still. Maybe it’s just the country boy in me, but I like to view it from the vantage point of God saying, “Moses, if you want to hear my voice, then we're going to have to take off our shoes and stay awhile.”
3. CHOOSE A TIME
Adam and Eve met with God to hear his voice. As part of their relationship journey, he instructed them to take the seventh day of every week and be still. Interestingly, man’s first day (he created them on the sixth day) was God’s seventh day. The first day that humanity was on Earth, God required them to be still as he rested. Imagine how they looked around and saw all the “good” God had done on the Earth. The stillness allowed them to celebrate it, and it was a stillness that God required rather than suggested. Today, God still expects us to take a Sabbath day; although the teaching of Jesus seems to imply it does not have to be the seventh day, there must be a day of stillness, or we are in sinful violation of God’s plan for humanity.
4. SELECT A PLACE
A chosen time requires a selected place. Remember, Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 6:5-14 when praying, one should find a private place and shut the door. No hindrances, no distractions, and no public audience. And, when wrapped in the full context of the Bible, Jesus implies within this same passage, “If you want to engage the Heavenly Father in prayer, identify a space that is conducive to this approach, and be still.” Because his discourse also includes a rebuke of vain repetition and many words. Meaning – when praying – don’t just talk to be talking. Instead, offer your petition in a personalized but patterned approach, and then pause, opening your spiritual ears to hear God speak to you from his word – most potently, his written word.
5. SILENCE YOUR STORM
If you want a meaningful connection with God, you're going to have to silence your storm. We all want God to quiet the storm on the outside, but we rarely want to acknowledge the storm that’s on the inside. When you read Scripture, it is hard to find a place where God ever says that he will guard your mind for you. It reveals he will guard your heart, but he seems to put a responsibility on us to be disciplined in silencing the storms associated with our minds. For that reason, I find this verse fascinating:
Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be STILL. Psalm 4:4 (NKJV)
In other words, you and I have a personal responsibility to bring stillness to the storms inside of us!
Thankfully, if you let God settle what's happening on the inside, you'll discover that he can speak to what's happening on the outside. Jesus calmed the seas in the New Testament with three words, “Peace, be still.” Then, he rebuked the disciples as he spoke to the storms inside them – doubt, fear, and unbelief. He made them aware that those spiritual issues were affecting their ability to manage the physical storms on the outside of their life correctly.
So, my challenge to you comes from God’s command for you:
Be STILL, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10 (NKJV)
If you want to KNOW GOD and desire to be in MEANINGFUL CONNECTION with him, consider it might be time just to BE STILL.
I invite you to view this message in its entirety at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABgZzWZtqHs
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