No Greater Stillness
Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.(Zechariah 2:13)
There is no stillness like that of the grace. In the grave of Jesus, in the fellowship of His death, in death to self with its own will and wisdom, its own strength and energy- there is rest.
As we cease from self and our soul becomes still to God, God will arise and show Himself. “Be still and know”; then you will know “that I am God.”(Psalm 46:10) There is no stillness like the stillnessJesus gives when He speaks. “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39). In Christ, in His death, in His life, in His perfected redemption, the soul may be still, and God will come in, take possession, and do His perfect work.
But God Himself must work it. And for this end our working must cease. We must see how entirely it is to be the faith of the operation of God, who raised Jesus from the dead. Just as much as the resurrection, the perfecting of God’s life in our souls is to be directly His work.
Waiting has to become, more than ever, a tarrying before God in stillness of soul, counting upon Him who raises the dead and calls things that are not as though they were (Romans 4:17).
My soul, be thou still only unto God! God says, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Let us be still and wait and worship till we know how near He is, and then say, “On thee do I wait all the day” (Psalm 25:5)
And then, let it be very clear that we are waiting. Let that become so much our consciousness that the utterance comes spontaneously: “I wait on Thee.” This will imply sacrifice and separation, a soul entirely given up to God as it’s all, it’s only joy.
Few if any ever tap into the full power of God for doing so requires full obedient surrender. Most of us in our relationship with God attempt to use the same methods as we do with our human relationships. We negotiate our position and each parties responsibilities and benefits. When we come to our relationship with God there can only be one decision-maker, one guide and one leader. To fully experience all that God has for us we must fully surrender.
Let us consider Jesus as He was here on earth in the flesh.
“Have this same attitude in yourselves which was in Christ Jesus [look to Him as your example in selfless humility], who, although He existed in the form and unchanging essence of God [as One with Him, possessing the fullness of all the divine attributes—the entire nature of deity], did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped or asserted [as if He did not already possess it, or was afraid of losing it]; but emptied Himself [without renouncing or diminishing His deity, but only temporarily giving up the outward expression of divine equality and His rightful dignity] by assuming the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men [He became completely human but was without sin, being fully God and fully man]. After He was found in [terms of His] outward appearance as a man [for a divinely-appointed time], He humbled Himself [still further] by becoming obedient [to the Father] to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also [because He obeyed and so completely humbled Himself], God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow [in submission], of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess and openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord (sovereign God), to the glory of God the Father.”
Notice the bold portions of Philippians: He emptied Himself, assuming the form of a servant and He humbled Himself, by becoming obedient to the Father even to death of the cross. All these things Christ did willingly setting Himself under the complete authority of the Father, giving up His will and position and totally surrendering to the will of the Father. Because of this, He was highly exalted and given a name above all names.
Many of us think that Christ became Lord and has authority over all things because He is and was the Only Begotten Son but Paul explains to us that Christ did not receive this because He was but because He fully surrendered. Like everything else that He did, this was done for us to teach us how to live.
There are so many paradoxes in the Christian life and this is certainly one of them. To have power and authority, we must fully surrender. This full surrender is such that it is referred to a death, the ceasing of human work, energy, effort and choice. It is the principle of the new birth which is best expressed in death of our selves and the birth of Christ in us in which our old being is put to death; that is we no longer control things, and the life of Christ- He now is in full control.
Far too many wish to negotiate a partial surrender in which we give up some things but not all; we surrender some part of our lives but keep our favorites, and we give God partial control but reserve the right to make our own decisions and choices.
Now God never demands or forces us to this place of death to self. The sacrificial lamb must come willingly to the altar and present itself there at the disposal of the High Priest. To this we are called for only when old self is fully surrendered and sacrificed and dies are we fully free from the old sin nature, the temptations of Satan and recipients of the fullness of Gods power and blessing.
So many of God’s people struggle and wrestle with God over the ownership of their lives and never come to know the rest and peace of surrender. It is through surrender that we find both rest and peace for we release our control to the One who knows the end from the beginning.
We see the great accomplishment of Christ and the wondrous work God did through Him and we know it was through His full surrender that all that happened. While we will never attain to that level there is the possibility of what a life fully surrendered to God can accomplish and the peace and rest and confidence that life enjoys. Let us press toward that prize.
Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work]. Just consider and meditate on Him who endured from sinners such bitter hostility against Himself [consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Although He was a Son [who had never been disobedient to the Father], He learned [active, special] obedience through what He suffered. And having been made perfect [uniquely equipped and prepared as Savior and retaining His integrity amid opposition], He became the source of eternal salvation [an eternal inheritance] to all those who obey Him, being designated by God as High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
Sing with me:
All to Jesus I surrender
All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him
In His presence daily live
I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee, my blessed Savior
I surrender all
And may we be filled with peace and rest quietly in God even in the storm for our confidence and hope is fully in Him.
Dr. John Thompson