“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14
God is teaching me a very difficult thing: to sit still.
It started with Watchman Nee, a very wise man and the author of several Christian books, two of which I read this summer. Nee says that human beings are only capable of doing evil; therefore, the only hope we have of doing good is to stop trying to do anything whatsoever.
I had never heard it put quite like this before, and my first reaction was, “This guy must be crazy! What does he mean we have to stop trying? How is that possible?” Nevertheless, I have begun to accept that all my efforts to do good are worthless, and that realization is the first step.
Once we stop trying to do good, Christ is able to begin working through us. Nee describes it as Christ carrying us. I can’t tell you practically how this works, but I believe it can work. After all, it makes sense. If we could produce good of our own efforts, we would be glorifying ourselves, not Christ.
In Desiring God, John Piper uses the example of a paralyzed man who relies on a good friend for help. “How could you [the paralytic] glorify your friend if a stranger came to see you? Would you glorify his generosity and strength by trying to get out of bed and carry him? No you would say, ‘Friend, please come life me up, and would you put a pillow behind me so I can look at my guest? And would you please put my glasses on for me?'”
The only way to glorify Christ is to rest completely on his strength and mercy and let him accomplish what he intends to accomplish.
Nee recalls when he first learned this himself, “In my amazement I jumped up and said: ‘Lord, are you really making no demands on me? Then I need do nothing more for you!'” For it is Christ who take care of all the “doing.”
As we rest on him there are a few things to remember:
1) The Christian life still takes discipline. We must never stop praying and studying the Word, for that is how God reveals things to us and fills us with his Spirit.
2) Don’t use your weakness as an excuse for sin. Personally, I think this is a sign of spiritual immaturity. Our desire for sin should cease as we walk in the Spirit.
3) If our attitude and actions do not change, we must pray for the Spirit to enact that change, always remembering that it is the Christ’s power, not ours, that accomplishes good works.