August 20, 2016

Stop stewing . . .

A crock pot is a handy appliance. When I make a stew in a regular pot, I have to stir it often or it will burn on the bottom. That means my mind has to be on that stew all the time. But when the stew is in the crock pot, I don’t have to stir it, or lift the lid. I can just forget about it with no worries. At the end of the day, it is ready to eat.

My life with Christ is supposed to be like that. I don’t need to stir the stew, just entrust it to the Lord. He is taking care of everything and I can go about the day without worries.

Another analogy is living like a child who trusts his parents and is happily enjoying life. She makes her requests and leaves the answers to her father who loves her. She is not anxious about anything.

These analogies are great, but do they work? Yes, they do. I’ve an issue that at one time used to plague my thoughts first thing in the morning and most of the day. It was something I could not fix or do anything about. I didn’t want to think about it, or even pray about it because that would still keep it in my head.

Finally, I asked God to take it out of my mind. Sometimes it still pops up when I wake, but at the end of the day I am overjoyed because it was gone the whole day. This is what it means to rest in Jesus and this is His invitation to do just that:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28–30)

That rest is as Chambers describes — a heart full of peace that is not stressed at all, particularly with self-consciousness. That means to not be bothered with thinking about who I am, what I am doing, how I am performing, or anything that “by slow degrees will awaken self-pity.”

Self-pity is from the devil and is a sure way to take my focus off Jesus. This kind of thinking runs something like this: ‘Well, I am not understood; this is a thing they ought to apologize for; that is a point I really must have cleared up’ and has many other variations.  

Instead, I am to come to Jesus and leave all of my concerns with Him, being conscious only of Him, His power and presence with me and His ability to take care of any problems that plague my mind and heart.

This resting in Jesus means that I am not always asking about the will of God because I am already in it. Resting in Him is an attitude, a deep assurance that He is hearing and answering my prayers. I can go about my day with a calm spirit, not fretting, not stirring the stew, yet with a slight excitement that my prayers are being answered. It is like the stew in the crock pot — I can smell it cooking!

By myself, I cannot overcome nagging thoughts. My efforts remind me of the teacher who told her class not to think about apples or not to think about recess. If nothing else is given to occupy their minds, they cannot help but dwell on the apples or on recess.

My something else thought is Jesus. He says, “Come to me . . . learn of me . . . focus on my light burden” and in doing that, my mind is given the sweet rest of His peace, the “perfection of activity that is never conscious of itself.”

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