New Things

"Be still in the presence of the Lord." Psalm 37:7....."We need to learn to unburden ourselves and so become still. In being still we are to become empty. And in our emptiness we may look to God to fill us with new things." Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We know how to be busy. We don't know how to be still. I've a friend who likes to say that one of our great failings is feeling in the midst of a crisis or need that we've "got to do something." Notice that the emphasis there is on "we, me, I." We move out, and God obediently moves out with us. We form a plan, and He signs on to help us carry it out. We're very aware of our mind, but oblivious to His. But we're OK with that because after all, He couldn't possibly not be on board with what we're thinking, planning, and doing.......I may be oversimplifying here, but I don't think so. We live in a state of exhaustion for the most part. Worn out and burned out....and all because at root, we are living outside of Him. We "abide in Him" only in theory. We're burdened beyond our ability to carry. And we don't know how to unburden ourselves as Bonhoeffer advises. There is only one way that we can. We need to live, abide, at all times, in His presence. And we simply can't do that when our fleshly impulse is always to move, to act, to do.

On the Mt. of Transfiguration, when the glorified Christ was revealed to the three disciples, Peter's first impulse was to do something. The Father gently rebuked him. The only thing He expected of them was that they just be still in His presence. Peter didn't know how then, but he would learn. Will we? Or do we just go on, pushing ourselves and those around us, and all the while wearing ourselves, and them out? Is this how we're living, doing ministry, our jobs, carrying out our relationships, simply "doing life?" Do we know anything at all about being empty before Him? Empty of old, hurtful things, and filled with new, life giving ones.

We know so little of stillness, peace, and renewal, because we know so little of being in His presence. It is only in His presence that we can be empty. Empty of everything that is not of Him and against His nature. His Word tells us to be still and know that He is God, but we can only know that by becoming empty of all that works to keep Him from being Almighty God in our lives. Empty of the old life that is all about self. Our old plans, goals, visions and desires replaced by His newness of life. And this can only happen at His designated meeting place. At the altar that is His cross. It won't be realized in a ten minute devotional and pre-printed prayer, but at the place where we come to Him as we are, and He meets us as He is. As the old hymn says, "Burdens are lifted at Calvary." But we have to come to Calvary. He's made the way and He gives the means. At the cross, we are empty, and at the cross, we are filled. Old for new. Death for life. Woundedness for healing, self-centeredness for Christ-centeredness.

Have you ever really come to His cross? There's an old hymn that has the line, "On a hill far away stands an old rugged cross." Has that hill remained far away for you? Do you continue to try and keep it at a distance....keeping Him at a distance as well? Continuing to be controlled by the old things, while He stands before you with His new. He calls us. Do we come?

Blessings,
Pastor O

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