Friday, October 28, 2011

Make Time And...Be Still

"The first and chief need of our Christian life, is fellowship with God. The Divine life within us comes from God, and is entirely dependent upon Him." ~ Andrew Murray

"Be still and know that I am God." ~ Psalm 46:10

"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." ~ Jesus (John 15:4&5)

Lately, our Lord has been leading me into what I call "the deeper life" with Him. Something deep within me is becoming more and more detached from this world and is longing for intimate communion with God Himself. 

I have found myself praying more fervently and with more patience; with less words and more silence (listening). I wish I could say that this has been easy for me, but it hasn't. Since I became a follower of Jesus, longing for more of God, that I can remember, has never been my issue . It's the being quiet and being still part that is tough for me. 

People who know me might label me as a pretty "active" guy. If I'm awake, then my mind is racing with all kinds of thoughts and ideas. Whether it's about my family, the church (nationally and locally), our work in Sudan (through Global Response Network), dreaming or personal relationships, my brain rests very little. I'm a "thinker" and it's tough for me to put things out of my mind and simply focus on hearing from God.

In this fast paced world that we live, SOLITUDE is something we need to fight for. If we are hoping to FIND the time, then we may never truly enter in to pure communion with the Lord. No, solitude is something we need to MAKE time for and that's not easy.

As a spiritual leader, it is my "job" to abide with Christ and to walk by the Spirit (and might I add that it is my greatest joy), but even I struggle at times to "be still" and be alone with Him. The demands on my life at times are overwhelming. If it is difficult for me, then I know it must be very challenging for stay-at-home moms, business leaders, college students, doctors, athletes and everyone else with a demanding schedule. Yet, being still and embracing a life of prayer and solitude is not optional for the Christian.

So, how do we do it? First of all, we "MAKE" time. I remember years ago waking up and finding my wife Elli in the laundry room crying out to God. She needed to "make" time before the children woke up. I remember seeing her sitting on the floor, leaning against the drier and weeping for lost people. It was one of the most beautiful sights to behold. Today, she is in a new season of life and has had to adjust to make time to be alone with the Lord.

Here is what I believe is the key - desire and discipline. Everything worth having is going to cost us something. Being alone with our Father is no different. Leonard Ravenhill put it this way, "We all have as much of God as we want of Him." That stings, yet we all know it is true. If we want to be alone with God, it will cost us. It will mean saying "NO" to other things and slipping away and finding a quiet place to meet with Him. So, in simple terms, the way we say "yes" to being alone with God is saying "no" to the distractions and other allurements of this world.

When is the last time you got alone with God? When is the last time you were "still" before His majesty? When is the last time you even heard the word or thought about "solitude". My encouragement to all of us is to examine our lives and take a deep look at the way we spend the time God gives us. Then, after we get honest with ourselves and we MAKE time, find a quiet place to be alone with Him. Shhhh......  Quiet yourself. Say nothing. Read nothing. No music playing. Complete silence. Listen. Be still and know that He is God. And once you know you have entered that secret place with Him, then.... speak... if you can.

By Tom Zurowski

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