By Chris WittsTuesday 24 Sep 2013Morning Devotions with Chris WittsUncategorizedReading Time: 0 minutes
Yesterday I spoke about the value of silence and finding time to be alone with God. It’s a difficult issue because it’s not something we do naturally. Most of us want to talk instead of listening,but the experience of many has shown that time alone with God is valuable .. In the Old Testament we come across a wonderful passage called Psalm 46. It’s packed full of imagery for what our lives are like. It talks about earthquakes and mountains trembling and ocean waves roaring and foaming. It talks about nations being in uproar,kingdoms falling,and wars and battles,and all kinds of upheaval. But then suddenly in the midst of all that chaos,we find these words in v10 ..’Be still,and know that I am God”. For many people it is their favourite Bible verse … “Be still,and know that I am God!” No matter what life throws at me,or what failures and disappointments,stresses or demands I encounter,God says “Be still and know that I am God”. It’s good for us to read and reflect on these words because they bring peace and strength,and to sometimes settle down,take a breath and realise who is God.
Now,what is silence? What does it mean to be silent? What is silence all about? Because silence is not just about being quiet. It’s not just about the absence of noise. Because you can actually experience silence in the midst of noise.
And in order for you to hear from God,you need to get rid of the distractions. Whether that’s turning off the TV,or shutting off the music,or just taking a break in the midst of the busyness of life… create some silence in your environment,create some silence in your spirit,and just listen for God. I mean,we’re bombarded every day with distractions… with sounds,with images,with advertisements,with rushing around from here to there…. There are all kinds of distractions,and we just need to settle down and listen to God. Keith Drury says “Silence is abstaining from sound in order to open our spiritual ears and listen more closely to the voice of God.” It’s interesting,but you can be quiet without actually listening. But this spiritual habit of silence is not about being quiet; it’s about listening. There’s no point to it if you’re not going to listen.
There’s a helpful book that came out several years ago . It’s a book by Richard Foster called,”Celebration of Discipline.” And it’s a classic. If you want to delve a little deeper into these habits,I’d recommend that you get a hold of that book. And when talking about this particular habit of silence,this is what Richard Foster says…”Though silence sometimes involves the absence of speech,it always involves the act of listening.” what do your prayers look like? Are your prayers just monologues that you recite to God? Or do you allow God time to speak to you,too? How are you at listening? Because the truth is,even though we tend to do most of the talking,we should be doing most of the listening.
In Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 it says – As you enter the house of God,keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God. Don’t make rash promises,and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all,God is in heaven,and you are here on earth. So let your words be few. In other words,God is God. Let Him do the talking. We need to hear from Him much more than He needs to hear from us.
You know,in Jesus’ day,the Pharisees… the religious elite… thought they were doing a great thing by babbling on and on when they prayed. They thought they could gain God’s approval by using a whole bunch of words. And Jesus reprimanded them for that.
Because God isn’t looking for people to recite a bunch of words. He’s looking for people who humbly listen to Him. I like what the writer of Psalm 85 v8 says ..I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying,for he speaks peace to his faithful people. And then in the New Testament,Jesus said…”Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God.”(John 8:47)
We need to listen to God much more than we need to talk to Him. You’ve got two ears and one mouth for a reason. You need to listen more than you speak. Silence is about listening.
So what does that mean for you? How can you bring a little bit of silence into your life? Can you get up a few minutes earlier just to spend a few minutes in silence listening to God and allowing Him to re-calibrate your life? Can you take a drive through the countryside with the radio off? On one of these last nice days before winter,can you just take a walk through a park,or along the shore? Can you sit down on a bench and just sit there in silence,listening? You know what Susanna Wesley,John Wesley’s mother used to do? She had 19 children,so silence wasn’t something that necessarily came easy for her. But every day,she would sit down in her rocking chair,cover her head with her apron,and spend an hour praying and listening to God.
That was her solution. And I would guess that none of us could find ourselves busier than her,taking care of 19 children. So figure out what will work for you,and spend some time in silence.
At first,you’ll probably be a little bit uncomfortable with it. Because you’re not used to it. You won’t feel like you’re accomplishing anything,you’ll wonder if you’re doing it right. but let me encourage you to stick with it.
And you will find refreshment,you will find encouragement,you’ll find rejuvenation,and you’ll discover a renewed focus and passion for life.