Before we get started, a quick reminder about the purpose this coloring series. At Spiritually Hungry, we love to connect with God in many, many different unique and creative ways. The purpose of the Color Your Way Closer to God series is to use coloring Scripture as a way to meditate on God’s word. In this way, we use it as a spiritual exercise, one with the intent to grow close to God by opening up to Him while coloring Scripture.
“Be still and know that I am with you” is the verse from the coloring sheet I’m working on this week, however the traditional interpretation of the text reads, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Becoming still before God is not an easy thing. In fact, it’s a very countercultural act, to stop and be still. Yet, God calls His followers to do so. In this post from spirituallyhungry.com, we discuss why this is important and ways to still yourself before God.
Be still and know that I am God.
How do you read this statement?
Do you find it empowering?
Do you feel judgement?
Do you sense God’s love?
Sometimes people have a hard time with Scripture from the Old Testament, viewing God as a mean judgmental old man.
Seeing that this Scripture is from the Old Testament, I wanted to make sure we were all on the same page before we even started examining it. And let’s begin by first understanding that this is a verse of love, protection and power.
When you examine the entire text of Psalm 46, you can see that God is there for His people no matter the circumstance. He is their refuge and strength and dwells among His people.
This is a God of love; a God of power.
Now that we have a just a little bit of the background down from this verse, let’s dive into the heart of the matter. How does this verse affect us, and more specifically, how does it affect you?
Be still and know that I am God.
What does this information from God do for you?
Stop and think about it just a moment. Imagine God saying to you right now, in this very moment, “My child, I love you. Be still and know that I am with you.”
What does that do FOR you? What does that do IN you?
Maybe it does a lot already, and that is great!
However, it may do very little or it may just affect you intellectually, but really doesn’t speak to your heart.
If you happen to fall into that last category, no worries. Let’s walk together through this verse, and examine how this Scripture can become alive in your life.
First of all, I believe there are two ways that being still before God is difficult for us.
1.) It’s Countercultural.
2.) We Have Mistrust In God
Exploring these two topics may help you in being able to respond to this loving invitation from God, and it indeed is a loving one!
Believe me, I can understand if this Scripture falls flat for you. I mean it’s completely countercultural. Especially if you live in a Western culture (which I do). For us, life is always on the go. Fast, efficient, cheap, quick. We are bred to succeed. To dream big and work hard to acquire all that we desire. It is incredibly engrained into our beings that we don’t even notice that it’s there.
We are on the go! Stopping and becoming still is not found nowhere, and rarely celebrated. The people who are admired in our culture are usually very successful, busy, overworked people. From celebrities, to CEOs, to politicians, our role models in the West are almost always people who live the busiest lives.
And we, perhaps more “common people”, strive and toil. As a result, we easily get stressed and worried. Maybe it’s over friendships, finances, job problems, or school worries. Of course, the list is endless. We want to be successful and to have harmony in our lives, but we seek out those great qualities through more busyness.
However, if you are a Christ follower, then maybe you find yourself at a crossroads and you may not even realize it.
Because the American Dream doesn’t quite fit into the Gospel.
I’m pretty sure we are all cognitively aware of this, but I wonder do our subconsciouses know this?
Jesus’ life during his earthly ministry as depicted in the Gospels doesn’t really look like the American Dream at all. Sure, it was filled with moments of greatness, but it was also filled with times of defeat and disappointment. Jesus’ life was most characterized, however, by His love, closeness, and identity in God.
And that’s just what this verse is pointing to, for both you and me.
Becoming still before God is a practice in identity and purpose, just like it was for Jesus. Jesus showed us in His earthly ministry how to humble ourselves like He did. He showed us how to run to God, anddo not to things in our strength alone. Jesus not only knew it was important to still Himself before God, but He also wanted and depended on it.
We find Jesus throughout His earthly ministry quietly retreating, stopping and stilling Himself before God. The Son of God did this because it is vital to His identity, ministry and purpose.
Just think about how completely countercultural this is to our lives.
I guess though, this thought can’t truly take hold if you don’t trust either in the message or messenger.
In order to understand trusting God, we have to go back and challenge our idea of a vindictive God, the meanie from the Old Testament. While there is much to say about this perspective, for time’s sake, let’s just focus on one way to handle this, and that is of course through Jesus Christ.
Jesus is quite amazing, He really is! Not only did He die for our sins, but He helps us understand who God is, how to connect with Him, and how to follow Him.
When we look into the Old Testament, one way to make sense of God is to look at Him through the lens of Jesus Christ. The idea of looking at the Old Testament through the lens of Jesus is referred to in theological circles as “typology”, which is a fancy term you can throw down at your next Bible study!
Anywho, back to Jesus and the OT. Jesus was the epitome of God’s love for humanity – literally poured out. Jesus came to fix the problem that started all the way back in the Garden with Adam and Eve.
You remember those two, the ones who decided that they wanted to be like God and were deceived by the serpent. They’re the two that screwed up everything, and are the reason why we are where we are today, which is not in the Garden and not with God.
Oh, but the story doesn’t end there! God’s relentless love wouldn’t let us slip through His fingers. He loves too much and His grace is overwhelming. He simply wouldn’t, couldn’t leave us to our own devices.
So much of the Old Testament is a struggle between God and His people. Even though His people had a really hard time following God and became really confused.
But this is where Jesus enters the story Jesus. Because Jesus literally fixed everything.
Jesus was the best “Christian” there ever was, if you want to think about it that way. Remember, He was both man and God, but while on the earth, Jesus emptied Himself of His divine power, as Paul describes in Philippians 2, and relied solely on the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish His tasks.
Well, that’s great news for us! Seriously, Jesus wasn’t this super human that we could never measure up, Jesus was just like us. One of His purposes in coming to this world was to show us how to follow God. If He did that in anything but his human form then it would render useless to us.
Because of Jesus’ ministry and sacrifice on the cross, God again can dwell with His followers through the power of the Holy Spirit. And this is the same Spirit Jesus relied on in His earthly ministry.
So why is this important?
Because everything hinges on this reality and your understanding of this verse.
To be still and know that God is God, or that God is with you, takes an immense amount of trust and faith.
- God is who God says He is.
- That God is good and worthy of your worries, stresses, anxieties, fears, etc.
- That God truly is with you.
If you do not trust God, you can never entrust your heart, mind, problems to Him. It’s just not possible.
Trusting God means receiving His love.
Because God loves His creation, humanity so much He entered it. He came down to us, in our mess, to offer us a way out. This is not a mean untrustable God, but a God full of perfect love.
We see this realty through Jesus Christ.
Throughout all of Jesus’ ministry, we see Jesus’ life characterized by one undeniable fact, He was, and is love.
Jesus came to show us what God is like and how to follow Him. He literally walked us through the process. Everything He does in Scripture matters, because it shows us who God is and how we can respond.
Jesus was constantly stopping and resting with God. He often retreated quietly to be with God. Remember Jesus is our example of how to be a follower of God, and if Jesus is practicing this, you better believe it’s important.
But it’s just not the modern approach to living life is it?
However, I believe it is the only way to be able to turn to God and receive His love and reality of His presence.
Because this is a command, and its a command of love.
The Command to Be Still
When we come to a verse such as “Be still and know that I am God,” we come up against a lot of the baggage that we carry with us. Keep in mind as you try to practice this command, that not only do you need to trust God, you must also be aware that you are going against what has been engrained in you. Being still is not a Western practice. It is a foreign concept for us go-getters!
But there is hope because we are never able to follow a command of Scripture without simply just running to God to help us follow it. Weird isn’t? That in order to follow God’s word, we have to let Him take care of it. That’s the beauty of God, He just wants us to come running to Him. He knows we can’t do it alone and He never asks or wants us to do so.
God knows our situation, culture, mistrust in Him and much more. And He still calls. Calls us to remember just who He is. Who is on our side. Who loves us.
We get into tizzies left and right. God knows this about us and provides us another option; a option to stop and remember who it is that walks with us.
Stopping takes trust. You must trust to stop and let go.
Stopping takes Understanding. Understanding that this is not the way the world works, but it is the way of the Gospel. The way that brings freedom.
The two must be married Trust + Understanding = Freedom.
Being still and knowing God is God takes a lot of humility, understanding and trust. But it unlocks freedom. It allows you to unload your worries to your good, good parent. God has your best interest at hand, He loves you more than you could ever imagine. He wants you to learn to see Him this way and be able to give Him all the things confuse, hurt, scare you. He also wants to walk with you in the joy and good times too!
The Lord is giving us a wonderful command here. “Let me do what I do best, which is take care of you.” I do think it is important to remind you that, when God takes care of something, it doesn’t mean you will be devoid of pain. That may be in store, what you need to focus on is that you are not alone. God, the Creator of the universe, is walking with you in the pain and believe it or not, is transforming the pain into something beautiful in you.
So be still Child of God, and know God is with you!
It’s really an amazing reality.
Let us know what you think below. What ideas of challenges might you see coming from this countercultural idea of being still before God?