with Jeremy Westcott –
It is really good to simply sit in the presence of God, and do nothing. That may sound like it should be really easy, but actually it is not. I remember going through a period of two to three months in which God taught me simply to rest in His presence and do nothing. I could hear His voice, but He kept me in a dark place under that shadow of His wing so that I could not see anything. I am not used to that at all.
If we want to build our spirit, we have to quieten our mind. Then we are not going into His presence already thinking about all kinds of other things, and we can really focus our attention on Jesus. It is our spirit that we want to engage, not our mind. When our spirit begins to engage with God, we will find that it starts to develop and grow, and to discern the presence of God so that we can engage with Him more readily.
In that place, we can worship and adore Him. Worship is not really about singing. It is an attitude of surrender and obedience to God. From there we can go on to listen and receive revelation from Him.
If we practice these things, our spirit will continue to grow stronger. We will find ourselves able to engage more clearly with the spiritual realm around us, engage with the realms of heaven, and see God face to face as we meet with Him.
We looked last time at the seat of rest, one of the most important things we can understand if we are to engage with God’s kingdom in the heavenly realms and then to outwork things here.
Weary and heavy-laden
Come to Me, all you who are weary and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. (Matt 11:28-29)
This is the time to take Jesus’ yoke and be joined to Him. When He sets the field, the path and the direction, then He will carry the weight. We are all called to live in a state of rest regardless of what is going on around us in our lives. What wears us out is trying to do things in our own strength. The storms of life come to everybody: it is how we respond to them that will demonstrate to what extent God’s kingdom is manifested through us.
We are called to live in the eye of the storm. There may be violent winds blowing all around us, but in the eye, everything is completely peaceful. Jesus never promised we would have no troubles – the very opposite, in fact. But He gives us His love, joy and peace. With the love, joy and peace of God in us, we can live at rest all the time.
This is not automatic: we have to learn how to do it.
Peace, be still.
Jesus is our example. He was asleep in the boat, crossing the lake, when a great storm rose up. His disciples were in a panic, even though He had already told them they were going to the other side. They woke Him up, and He brought peace. He rebuked the storm and everything became calm (that particular storm was demonic, designed by the enemy to stop Jesus getting to the other side of the lake where He would set a man free from a legion of demons).
I know we can sometimes feel up or feel down according to our circumstances, but true joy and peace comes out of our relationship with God. We need to be able to live in the peace and joy which comes from that relationship and does not depend upon our circumstances. We need to live with an attitude of thanksgiving and praise, rejoicing always. That will keep us in the eye of the storm.
Bringing a sacrifice of praise is a choice. Sacrifice means it costs us something. We may not feel so good because of what is going on in our lives, but still we choose to praise Him. We choose to acknowledge Him, His mercy, His goodness, His love.
Treating trials and tribulations as joy and an opportunity for growth and transformation: that too is a choice. When something happens, we can choose not to react; we can choose how we respond to it. We can choose to sit in that seat of rest and live in the eye of the storm.
What Jesus did, He has called us to do. So just as Jesus said ‘Peace’, we can say ‘Peace’. When He said ‘Peace’, the storm was stilled. We need to take authority and live from the place where we can change situations around us. We cannot change the situation around us while we are ourselves being swept around at 200mph, caught up in the hurricane. But from the seat of rest we can.
The seat of rest is the Kingdom of God within. It is the manifestation of the fullness of the government of God in us to bring revelation of the kingdom to the world around us. When we live from the seat of rest, the world sees a manifestation of God’s kingdom.
From the place of rest, Jesus wielded the power of the kingdom in order to bring everything into subjection to God’s will and purpose. He wants to train us to live the same way.
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