The beginning of Psalm 46 reads, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalm 46:1-3, NIV-1984) That would make for an interesting day, with some quaking going on and some surging – maybe a tidal wave or two. But this is of no concern for the Christ-follower, because “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.” A little further down, this truth is emphasized again: “The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (Psalm 46:7, NIV-1984)
When your world appears to be caving in from all sides and your stress level is redlining, when it is panic attack time and your load seems enormous, when you feel obligated to go 90 mph with your hair on fire, hear and understand Psalm 46:10:
“Cease striving, and know that I am God!” – Psalm 46:10, NASB
Some translations will render that opening phrase as “Be still.” This is not a call for quietness in the sense of volume. Neither is God saying that we, as followers after Christ, need to be glued to our seats. This has nothing to do with vocal amplification, nothing to do with mobility, and everything to do with trust! The word here for “cease striving,” or “be still” is the Hebrew term raphah. The idea is, “Let go, already!” Cease striving!
Striving only demonstrates the extent of our pride in thinking that if we only work harder, pray harder, read the Bible more and with greater intensity, and if we strive for godliness, that we will somehow get there. It is arrogant. It is our work versus God’s work.
”For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6, NASB
The “good work” of which the apostle Paul speaks is not any sort of work we accomplish, as though we even could do so. No, this is God’s work, a work within us not yet completed. It is the transforming work of God’s grace.
“for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:13, ESV
The work of God’s grace within us includes the redemption of our souls through the death, burial, and resurrection of the Son of God. It includes our progressive sanctification (being made holy, as He is holy), that transformation of our character into the likeness of his Son.
This is God’s work, not yours, and not mine, so “cease striving,” relax, and let God do his work of grace within you…
“so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 1:7-8, ESV
Rest. Relax. Be at ease in the faithfulness of a God who loves you beyond what you can even comprehend or imagine. Be convinced of his work of grace within you, and in his ability to see that work through to completion.
“On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul you increased. – Psalm 138:3, ESV
“Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands. – Psalm 138:7-8, ESV
Victoriously in Christ!
Over to you: What needs to happen for you to truly trust God to be God within you today?