Many of us know the first part of Psalm 46:10 as it is translated in the King James and NIV – “Be still, and know that I am God.” But, in my most recent few times through Psalms, I have noticed that the NASB translates it a little differently. It says, “Cease striving, and know that I am God.” Technically the same foundational thought, but just with a different twist to it.
The whole Psalm revolves around knowing not just who God is, but knowing Him intimately. Knowing who He is to us, how He relates to us, and that in Him we find refuge. This God who has infinite power is also a “very present help in time of trouble” (Psalm 46:1). He is near to us. And through it all, He wants us to settled down, be at peace, cease striving on our own, and just know who He is.
One morning recently I was reading a completely “unrelated” text of Scripture that referred to striving in the power of Christ (Col 1:29). But, as I read and contemplated that verse, Psalm 46:10 came clearly to mind. I know I don’t strive in the power and strength of Christ. Instead I strive in my own strength to accomplish those tasks He sets before me. That is the striving I am called to cease.
So, what exactly do I strive with?
I strive with a plan. A system. A method that will establish the perfect relationship between myself and my Father. After all, I’m supposed to know that He is God, right? If I can find that perfect plan that will show me how to have a right relationship with God, then I can follow all of the steps to the letter and truly know Him.
The problem is that there is no method to knowing God. No method other than to cease my striving. To let go of my “steps to a perfect friendship” and just let God reveal Himself to me. He will reveal Himself through the acts of His mighty hand. He will reveal Himself through His protection of me. He will reveal Himself through His provision.
Is there striving in your life? Is it the striving of Paul in Col 1:29 – the striving in the power of Christ? Or, is it striving that keeps you from knowing that He is God? It might be striving like mine, with a plan or a method. Or it might be striving of a completely different sort. If we are not striving in the power of Christ, let us cease all our striving that we may know who God is and how He works. Then and only then will our striving be useful.