I like God. I mean I really like God. And, I like what the church teaches about God when it comes to me and my feelings. I like knowing He is good and kind and will give me peace. I love to feel His presence and know that He sees me and lives in me. I really, really like that about God.
I like knowing I’m saved and will live forever with Him. I like knowing I’m blessed and have the promises of God at my disposal. I like being called a daugher of a King and a chosen one. I like knowing Jesus is my Savior and my brother and that we already sit with Him in heaven. I really like knowing that this body will one day be awesome.
I love the idea of having God given dreams and goals. Good ideas. I like seeing people help other people who need it; hungry, lonely, old, rejected. I like seeing them know that Jesus loves them and died for them.
I like knowing I can pray to God anytime, anywhere, and I like knowing He hears me at all times. It’s like when my little kids come to me, I know they want something and I love that. It’s the same with God, and that makes me happy. I like knowing He will give me wisdom when I ask for it, and grow my faith. I like knowing He is a God of compassion and holiness.
All that makes me feel good, safe, protected.
All of those wonderful things, promised and real, are the most predominant thoughts in my life, and yet, there is a danger in that.
WHAT? What, you say?
Do you like this verse? “Be still and know that I am God;”?
I do. How many times have you heard that in context of needing peace or comfort? How many times has it been preached for when you need to calm down and reflect? How many times have you (and I) used it to get a grip or force ourselves to think about God and not ourselves (which is impossible, by the way. We cannot think of God and not think of ourselves, but that’s a different post.)
I mean, it says “Be still and know that I am God;” but there is more. There’s even a semi-colon at the end of that phrase indicating, “Hey, there’s more here. Keep reading.” But how many placards, posters, pictures, cards, Instagrams, Facebook posts do we just see the “Be still and know that I am God”? And man, we like that. The feeling that comes over us, and we sigh, and smile and keep going.
But what comes after that semi-colon? Do you know? Here, let me show you…Psalm 46:10 (the whole verse)
“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The words, “Be still” don’t really mean, “Hey, calm down, breathe in deep, look at the sky and think about how God is God or how good He is to you.” Those words indicate, “Enough!” or “Stop!”. They also mean “to sink, to drop, relax, sink down, be disheartened” and know.
In other words, this isn’t a verse for us to say over and over in our heads so we can bring our heart rate down and hope to God our day goes better. This is a verse with much more powerful implications and more of a wake up call to God and His purposes, rather than a call for us to calm down and take a breather. It is His own words calling out that our enemies will be silenced and know He is God. It is His own words calling out to His people to stop and sink into His greatness in the world. To realize and feel the weight of this thing of global glorification. It is a heavy, awesome, and powerful thing.
When God says, “Be still, Enough! Stop! and know that I am God” and then says, “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth”, I don’t see anything that has to do with me getting a word from God, or a peaceful sensation coming over me that everything will be okay. I also do not see that verse having really anything to do with me… or us. I see that is has everything to do with God, and His declaration of Himself. It is a call to sink down in ourselves and know that He is the world-saving, all-knees-will-bow God. A call not to stop and sigh and reflect on what God means to us, but a call to stop and contemplate and understand what God means to the world and what He will expect from it.
In our self-centered, modern day, Americanized church, we have fashioned a culture around the wonderful and powerful things of God that make us feel good about ourselves.
We even take verses out of context and make them pacifiers. God is not a pacifier, He is a mighty, powerful, wrathful, you’re-saved-by-my-Son God!
He is a satisfier, on His terms, and for His glory.
This Gospel promises peace, yes, but that does not mean we have carefree lives. (this makes us squeamish).
This Gospel promises that I will be filled with the Spirit of Christ, but not just for my introspection and calculated goals of trying to be like Christ (but, we have crap to fix, I know, except we can’t fix them, and around we go.)
This Gospel promises that He is great things planned for us, but only when it has to do with the expansion of His Kingdom (we kinda miss this and call it dreams).
This Gospel comes with the Spirit of God, given to us for the task of making disciples. Oh! The wonder that comes with His Spirit is beyond our comprehension, but not beyond our interaction and grasp! But, He is not for us to just feel okay and sane. He is in us for His name’s sake. He doesn’t change us for just our own satisfaction (though, that is amazing!), but He changes us for His glorification, for His name’s sake.
His name’s sake.
And His alone.
We must wake up as a church, stop stuffing ourselves with self-helps and fattening ourselves on what makes us feel good. Only Christ can do that, but it comes with a calling, a command. It comes with the charge of taking Christ to the nations. It’s not a good idea, it’s His idea, His plan, His goal… and it will happen.
“Be still. (Enough! stop! Feel the weight. Know.) that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.
Do you read it a little different now? Me too. And I like it.
Now, what do we do about it?
What do I do about it? Still working on that, and I like that too.