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Cease Striving and Know God

By Charles F. Stanley

People live with a lot of stress these days. Whether our economy is in recession or not, there are a million reasons to be anxious: pressures in the workplace or lack of employment, other people’s criticism or hurtful actions, failing health or ruined relationships.

Maybe you can’t clearly identify the source of anxiety in your life, but you strive every day to pursue your own agenda without God’s blessing—this is the worst stress inducer of them all.

Whatever your situation, Psalm 46 holds the key to dealing with demanding situations: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change” (vv. 1-2). The psalm continues, describing earthquakes, fallen kingdoms, wars, and desolation, but concludes with these words: “Cease striving and know that I am God” (v. 11).

How can you do this when things are falling apart all around you? To cease striving, you must rest in the Lord. To rest, you must trust Him completely. And to trust, you must know Him.

So how do you get to know God? The process begins when you place faith in Jesus as your personal Savior. Then develop the relationship as you would with a good friend:

  • First of all, spend time alone with Him. You have to make an effort to meet with Him regularly.
  • Get to know what He thinks—read the Bible, pray, and listen to sermons.
  • Observe what God does in other people’s lives and also in your own.
  • Tell Him honestly what you are thinking and feeling. It is important to be open and transparent.
  • Be still and listen to Him. He will speak straight from His Spirit to your spirit and quiet your troubled heart.

Once you understand that God loves unconditionally and forgives completely, you will be able to let go of guilt. When you realize that He has a will and a plan for your life, you can stop worrying about the future. And when you see how He turns suffering into something good, your fear will be replaced by a growing confidence and inner joy.