Fighting for Peace; Contending for Quiet

“…That we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior” (1 Tim. 2:2b-3, NIV).

It gives God great pleasure for us to live quiet lives. It delights His heart for His children to have lifestyles marked by genuine, profound peace. For this reason, He has a lot to say about the subject in His Word. Let’s dig into a few of His thoughts on the matter today.

The first relevant principle from Scripture we’ll examine is the truth that quiet and peace do not come by default. A funny-sounding verse out of Hebrews points this out to us: “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest…” (Heb. 4:11, ESV). Don’t striving and resting sound like a contradiction? Actually, they are not. Oftentimes we have to battle arduously to protect our rest and our quietude.

Even more than an external quiet, God is talking to us about inner quietude. A heart at rest. However, in order to enter into God’s rest within our souls, we will need to build quiet into our physical lives as well. This will not come without a fight.

Think about it. What is the context in which you live? Is it the frantic, break-neck pace of a society full of people anxiously busying themselves to shut out their emptiness? Is it a culture where the more hectic and packed your schedule, the more “virtuous” you are? Then you know what I mean when I say that it won’t come without a fight.

This is exactly what the Bible is expressing by urging us to strive to enter God’s rest. We will have to fight against a myriad of demands screaming our names. We will have to learn to say “no” to what seems most pressing, in order to make room for what is most crucial. If we truly want to live the way that God intends – the kind of life marked by enduring inner rest – we must build windows of quiet into our schedule. It’s a non-negotiable. This is the only way to cultivate His calm stillness inside of our hearts.

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I already hear some of your minds protesting. “But where would that fit??” “Others can have that luxury, but it’s just not possible for me.” Like I said, you’re going to have to fight for it. This includes the fight against the thoughts in your head that shout “Impossible!” Dear one, you will have time for whatever is most important to you.

Meditating on that, here are some alternate translations of Hebrews 4:11 (bold emphasis mine on each):

  • “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest…” (NKJV).
  • “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest…” (NIV).
  • “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest… (KJV).
  • Let it then be our earnest endeavour to be admitted to that rest…” (Weymouth).
  • “Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest” (AMPC).

It takes a decision – a diligent, earnest, even zealous decision – to make every effort to enter God’s rest.

However, once you have firmly decided to make time with Him your highest priority, you will have all the help you need to follow through. Jesus is waiting to guide you into that very quiet place to which He is calling you. This is what He will do for you every single day:

“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul” (Ps. 23:2-3, RSV).

The Good Shepherd is longingly calling you by name. This year, will you put aside the urgent to embrace the essential?

 

For more thoughts on getting started with a daily quiet time, check out Holy Spirit, Prayer Coach; The Singularly Focused Eye; and How to Acquire an Undistracted Mind.

 

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