Resting And Being Still

Pastor Sam Sutter - 9/5/2022

Afternoon Homework: PERSONALIZING PSALM 131

Your biggest problem is proud self-will. That’s the noise machine inside you. And there is a way to gain composure through the Lord. What should you do now so you can honestly say, “My heart is not proud”? How can you make this psalm your own? How do you quiet yourself?

First, identify the ladders to nowhere that pride erects.

  • Where do you raise up ladders of achievement? How do you go for victory, for grades, for promotion, for the big church, for the idealized devotional life?
  • Where do you clamber up ladders of acquisition? Where do you say “if only”? Where do you seek the goodies, the security, the recognition?
  • Where do you race up ladders of appetite? Where do you gratify your need for ease or control? Where do you gratify hunger or lust or superiority?
  • Where do you scuttle up ladders of avoidance? Where do you get away from poverty, rejection, suffering, and people?

Pride sets up these ladders and climbs on high. The inner static reveals where your pride is located. You feel nervously happy when you climb up a few rungs. You feel bitter and despairing when you land in a heap at the bottom. Haughty eyes look down on anyone below you on the ladders you most cherish. You freely criticize others about some things, but not everything. Those particular ladders from which you gaze down in disdain are your precious and proud aspirations. You feel envy or despair when anyone else rises (or threatens to rise) above you in some things, but not everything. You chase after impossibilities, matters too great and too wonderful. No wonder you are noisy inside. Stairs of sand look so good. They promise to take you someplace, but they collapse beneath the weight of your life.

Second, come to know Jesus. He never climbed the ladders to nowhere. He’s the iconoclast, the ladder-toppler, the idol-breaker, the lie-piercer, the pride-smasher. He gives life, makes peace, gives joy, and makes you over. Seek Jesus, carrying your sins in your hands. Psalm 131 is his consciousness: quieted but not placid, composed but not detached. His composure is a communicable attribute, something he willingly teaches and gives away. Psalm 131 embodies a radical dynamic. It goes against everything we innately cherish, yet it gives us something worth cherishing forever. You need Jesus to liberate your heart in a coup-d’état. Psalm 131 overthrows the powers-that-be to establish the reign of Him-who-is.

Third, live the mindset of Psalm 131. When you set your hope in the right place, you become the right size. No pride, no looking down from on high, no hot pursuit of pipe dreams. The soul-storms meet their Master: “‘Be quiet. Be still.’ What is this? He commands even the demons, and they obey him! Who is this, that wind and sea obey him?” (see Mark 1:25-27; 4:39-41).  Psalms are meant to be read and quoted verbatim. Read Psalm 131 again. Read it slowly and take in each sentence.

LORD, my heart is not proud,
     and my eyes are not haughty,
     and I do not go after things too great and too difficult for me.
Surely I have composed and quieted my soul,
     like a weaned child on his mother,
     like a weaned child on me is my soul.
Israel, hope in the LORD now and forever.

Memorize these words. It will take you only a few minutes to make them your own. Then turn these words over in your mind before drifting to sleep. As you drive in your car. When you approach God to talk. When you get noisy inside for whatever reason.

Create such inner conversations moment by moment. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:16-18). The Holy Spirit forms in you a psalm-generating heart and lifestyle. As you live in Christ in all circumstances, Jesus teaches you to think the way he does.

– adopted from Seeing with New Eyes by David Powlison

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