As we wrap up this series, I want to accomplish 3 things: briefly summarize previous posts in the series; leave you with a gentle word of caution; and, finally, impart final words of encouragement.
Now, here’s the simplest part. Lets review the topics covered in each of the 6 parts published so far (all are hyperlinked for easy reference):
An Introduction to Being Still explored how being still is an imperative from God. In this way, being still isn’t a form of weakness; there is boldness in the obedience and stillness.
Emptying Our Plates provided some advice on how to go about emptying already full plates. How can we be still if we are too busy to be still? Remember, we will be able to accomplish infinitely more for those entrusted to our care and for the kingdom if we surrender to God’s will for our lives. Sometimes less is more!
Living it Out attempted to put my own advice and the Word of God into practice. Instead of spending more time on writing than I reasonably had to give during the busy holiday season and while my family quarantined; I opted to share some of the best content ever created: Scripture. Verses focusing on the need to rest were highlighted as I took a step back for a few days.
Saying No offered additional examples of life application as related to being still, specifically on how to say, “No.” The latter skill is key if we want to keep our schedules balanced once we get them to where God would like them to be.
Is Keeping the Sabbath Still for Real? established the Sabbath rest as part of God’s design for creation. God set the standard and the example for us, his creation, when he, the Creator, rested on the 7th day. Creation was incomplete until it encompassed the act of resting.
Finally, Resting Better suggested an antidote to our restlessness: trusting in the Lord more during the times when we are asked to slow down. A biblical example from Exodus set the backdrop for this important and sometimes sensitive discussion.
Now, speaking of sensitive discussions, here is that promised word of caution I mentioned earlier: be wary of keeping “sabbath” rest for purely legalistic reasons. While I understand we all have seasons where we need to “fake it until we make it,” Sabbath rest should be more of a mindset than something we feel obligated to squeeze into our schedules. Once rest becomes something else to check off we are missing the point. Yes, we are to be obedient and be still, but its a heart change as much as it is either a scheduling or cerebral change.
The essence of the Sabbath (and being still) is to cease, stop striving and trust in Him. As long as you are doing this intentionally out of a pure heart, you are doing just fine! Do not get hung up on the exact day you are keeping your Sabbath. Doing so can push up against some dangerously legalistic territory!
Now that we have recapped the series as a whole and have received our loving dose of caution, let me share some final words of encouragement.
Do me a favor, and scroll up for a quick second. See that picture? That’s my 8-year old daughter, Kaleigh, laying on my lap during church two weeks ago. Do you know what else she is resting on? There’s something between her head and my lap…My Bible! The Word! She is literally and figuratively at rest on and in the Word during a worship service!
Next time I need to be grounded and be still, I’m going to think of the simultaneously simple yet profound truths portrayed in that picture. The Word is around her; she’s soaking it in as she peacefully listens to the message. The Word is in Her. She loves Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is alive in her! The Word is touching her. She is literally touching it, but it is also moving her heart! This 8-year old had not a care in the world that Sunday: she just needed to be still while existing and absorbing His Word.
After looking at the picture some more I started to wonder what light a childlike faith could shed on the idea of resting on God. It is that simplicity and pureness of heart I’d like to leave you with today, which is why I asked each of my three children what resting on God meant to them. Here’s what they said:
Following what He says.Kaleigh, age 8
Believing in God and putting faith in God.Keira, age 10
Relying on His Word. Relying that He is there when you need Him the most. Relying that he is just there.William, age 14
Right out of the mouths of babes, am I right?! Do you have a child in your life you could ask the same question to? See what they say! Perhaps their answers, lacking any pretense whatsoever, will provide you with a refreshing perspective: a perspective that can’t easily come from many well-read or even well-intentioned adults.
Friends, although I’ve now spent several weeks recounting scriptural truths and practical how-to-style advice, please know that resting on the Word of God doesn’t have to be difficult; but it does take our willingness.
As our pastor pointed out this morning during service, “we need to step back and step toward God.” Go to Him…be still…and find rest. It will change you.