40 days to a renewed you! Part 2

You can read Part I HERE

God says, ‘Be still and know that I am God’ (Psalm 46:10).  This sounds great, especially on Saturday morning before the children rise. But in the church today a question immediately rises inside, ‘How does this work if I am supposed to also follow Jesus (and work a job and provide for a family and go on that social media perfect vacation and keep the house clean and…)?’  Even the questions make me want to turn off the computer and lay down for a nap.  How do we be still in a doing world? 

Lent has traditionally been the time each year for many Christians to better connect to such truths and work this out.  Yet in last week’s post, we questioned whether the Lenten diets were not just extensions, sometimes, of the same self-help improvement practices seen in the rest of culture.  So, If not to improve yourself by the prepared fasts, studies, and good works, then what? Why Lent?  What’s the point if it doesn’t help me? 

And there is the rub. 

Me. 

Lent is not the problem.  It is a traditional season held dearly by the church for hundreds of years.  It’s a time of preparation to receive afresh the good news on Easter morning.  There have been wonderful practices tried and explored which have brought many deeper into their faith, closer to God, and therefore more powerful in their Kingdom work. 

Lenten practices become the problem when I make them about me.  Let me share a few such blunders from my past.  One time I gave up certain foods and found myself on the scale marveling at how much weight I loss because of the fast I chose.  Another year I found myself wondering at how much I fasted and others had no idea.  Another time, I finished a study and just knew I now knew all I needed to know about the book and could help others if only they knew how knowledgeable I was.  How does it go…’pride goeth before the fall.’ 

These short comings came clearly into sight in the months following the end of Lent.  Back to ‘normal’ I resumed the old diet and put back on the weight, stopped the study group and lost the relationships, and found there was a whole lot I did not yet know about the book of Colossians (much less what I forgot).  It was good for a season and several blessings abounded, but ‘MY’ efforts fell short for I was concerned mostly about ‘MY’ benefit.   

Back to Psalm 46:10.  The verse goes on to read, “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  How is God to be exalted and known? Through my fasting or righteousness or studying or short-term commitments?  No.  It is through being still and knowing who God is.   

Yes, knowing God may come through fasting and studies and good works and more.  But, if I am not still first – if ‘I’ do not yield to the ‘I am’- then the exact same activities bring not knowledge of God but rather exaltation of my self. 

It is like any diet we have ever tried.  They all work exactly for what they are designed for.  The problem is that we use the trendy diet so that we can justify our return to a prior diet once we got our desired result.  And then repeat. Constant motion.  Exhausting motion. 

Being implies a constant state. Being still means giving up on deciding whether we should do what God says. It means giving our whole efforts and attention to God.  It means resting in the completeness of God’s good work.  Being still means knowing you can do no thing now, or in the next 40 days, to be any more loved than you are now.  Being still allows us to know God. 

Will we fail in our efforts ahead?  Yes.  Let Grace abound and be still. 

Be still and know God loves you despite all you do.  God loves you when you rebel against Him.  God loves you when you turn towards him.  God loves you in the fast and in the feast, in the ignorance and the knowing.  God’s love abounds beyond our imagination!  It is God’s love which claims you, adopts you, and renews you.   

Being still leads to knowing God.  Knowing God means hearing his will and doing for God rather than ‘me.’  This doing brings ongoing blessing for you and the many around you. 

May this Lenten season be such a time of renewal for you. 

In Christ, 

Pastor Joseph 


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