Before the course I mentioned in the last post, I’d gotten quite stressed with all of the responsibilities weighing on me and taken a morning off to pray and re-prioritize. I found a little book on the shelf by Charles Swindoll called “Intimacy with the Almighty”, and that sounded like something I needed that morning. At the beginning of the second chapter, he whipped out Philippians 3:10 as translated in the Amplified Bible. Those of you that were in Israel may remember my reading of the Beatitudes from this translation, which truly sought to unlock the meaning of “Blessed” each time it was written. This is another masterpiece of translation.
[For my determined purpose is]
that I may know him–that I may progressively
become more deeply and intimately
acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing
and understanding [the wonders of His Person]
more strongly and more clearly.
And that I may in the same way come to
know the power outflowing from
His resurrection [the power it exerts over
believers]; and that I may share His
sufferings as to be continuously transformed
[in spirit into His likeness even]
to His death.
That’s it, that’s our duty to Him, and through this will His work be done. Swindoll quotes Thomas Kelley saying that God “never guides us to an intolerable scramble of panting feverishness.
Let’s read that again: God never guides us to an intolerable scramble of panting feverishness.
I’d wager that this describes not only missionaries and pastors, but most anyone reading these words. We get caught up in obligations to our boss, to our family, our congregation, and especially to our Saviour, and while we know that works aren’t getting us into heaven (we’ve already attained entry through faith and grace) we work ourselves thin as if it was.
God made us plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated. Ecclesiastes 7:29 (TEV)
I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his Craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3
I’ve always liked Luther’s idea “I’ve got so much to do today, I’d better spend 3 hours in prayer instead of 2.” This is the wonderful foolishness of Christ.
The world tells us that by working smarter and harder, that our labors will produce more fruit. In fact, working closer is what makes all the difference.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
And here’s where a little repetition comes in handy.
Be still and know that I am God. (Ps. 46:10 NIV)
Cease striving and know that I am God. Stand silent! Know that I am God. (Ps. 46:10 TLB)
Let be and be still, and know–recognize and understand–that I am God. (Ps. 46:10 AMP)
“Give in,” he cries, “admit that I am God.” (Ps. 46:10 Moffat)
“Stop fighting,” he says, “and know that I am God.” (Ps. 46:10 TEV)
Step out of the traffic! Take a long loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything else. (Ps. 46:10 Message)
“Stop your fighting–and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.” (Ps. 46:10 HCSB)
Are you still yet?