Question: Every day I bustle about, doing my work and serving in the church as well as taking care of my family and children. So every day I find myself occupied with these things. Although I’ve dealt with many things, my heart is always empty. Not only do I have nothing to say to the Lord while praying to Him, but I get dry and barren in spirit. Besides, I find it difficult to quiet my heart while reading the Bible. For I’m always disturbed by these external matters. For this reason, I feel rather upset and have no idea how to resolve this difficulty.
Answer: The question you asked exists among most brothers and sisters. So why do we have no normal relationship with the Lord when we’re busy with external matters? The main reason is that we can’t quiet our heart before God when we’re always busy with the matters. If we can understand and grasp the principles in practicing how to calm ourselves before God in all things, then whatever circumstances we encounter we can live in His presence, with peace and joy in our heart. Then we won’t feel so troubled and depressed.
Let’s explore together: What is being quiet before God? And what is its path of practice?
First, what does being quiet before God mean?
The words of God say: “Being quiet before God does not mean not cooking or working, nor ignoring life, but being able to quiet one’s heart before God, being able to keep God’s place in one’s heart in all normal circumstances. When you pray, kneel down properly before God to pray; when you work or prepare food, quiet your heart before God, ponder God’s words or sing hymns. No matter what environment you are in, you have a way to practice, do all you can to be close to God, do all you can to quiet your heart before God. When circumstances permit, pray single-mindedly; when circumstances do not permit, draw near to God in your heart while doing the work with your hands. When you can eat and drink God’s words then eat and drink God’s words; when you can pray then pray; when you can contemplate God then contemplate Him; do all you can to exercise yourself for entry based on your environment.” It can be seen from God’s words that being quiet before God means always keeping our heart before God, genuinely praying to and interacting with Him, normally getting close to Him and not keeping away from Him. In other words, no matter what we’re busy with, our heart shouldn’t be occupied by these external things. Rather, we should practice getting close to the Lord in our heart, pondering His words and contemplating His love. Thus, we can live before the Lord. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that we do nothing but think about God in our heart. What matters is that we can practice quieting our heart before God in our daily life. If we train and practice like this, we’ll be always moved by the Holy Spirit and have the way to practice for the matters and difficulties in our daily life. And then no matter how busy we’re, there will be peace and joy in our heart and we’ll no longer feel empty.
Then, how do we quiet our heart before God?
1. Then and There Praying and Opening Our Heart to the Lord as Much as Possible
When we are moved by what we have sung, we should offer God our gratitude and praise: “God! Today when listening to this song, I’m especially moved in my heart. I know this is the outcome of the work of the Holy Spirit, which makes me feel Your love for us mankind. God! I’m willing to be much closer to You and live before You.” As we pray like this, it’s much easier for us to quiet our heart before God. Regardless of the occasion and location, then and there, circumstances permitting, we will be able to practice quieting our heart before God. For instance, in the kitchen, while doing something with our hands, we can practice quieting our heart before God by singing hymns, praying to God or pondering the words of God. And also when we are waiting for a bus in public places or in the bus or in the place where we perform our duty and so on, we can still practice quieting our heart before God. We pray, get close to God and figure out His words, without the rules and regulations and without circumstances restricted. We can do it at any time and in any place. For example: During our spiritual cultivation in the morning, quiet circumstances permitting, we should kneel down andand then read ; in public places, on the road or at work, we can open our heart to God and then ponder His word. That is to say, actually, getting close and praying to God is not influenced by any factor like circumstances. So long as we’re willing to be close to God, we can keep a normal relationship with Him in any place. Thus, we can live before God at all times. This is also one aspect of the path of practice quieting our heart before God.
2. We Should Always Read and Ponder the Words of the Lord and Regard His Words as the Foundation of Our Existence
Often, we’re just satisfied with the outward formalities while reading the Bible, but pay no attention to pondering the words of the Lord. Without His words in our heart, in the actual life we’ll have difficulty quieting ourselves before Him. As a matter of fact, every day when we read the Bible, we should ponder His words with a pure heart, pray and seek as much as we can in His words. When we act like this, God will see we have a heart of thirsting for the truth and then He will enlighten and guide us to understand His will. Thus, every day we can gain some new benefit and unconsciously quiet our heart before God.
For instance, when reading the words of the: “Truly I say to you, Whoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein” (Mark 10:15), we should try to figure out: Why did the Lord Jesus say whoever does not become the likeness of a child, he would not enter the kingdom of heaven? What is His intention? What are the specific manifestations of the likeness of a little child? And how should we practice to live out the likeness of a little child? When we bear our burden to pray to God and try over and over to figure out His words, God will enlighten us to understand the true meaning of this word. As for little children, they are innocent, simple and honest, and say whatever they want to say without any disguise and hiddenness. They neither tell a lie nor deceive when they speak. From their words, we can see their inner heart in which there is no insidiousness and craftiness. So we feel at ease when getting along with them, without any concern. If we fail to become the likeness of a little child, and instead, with our heart full of craftiness, in our service to God, we do business with God for the purpose of gaining blessings, crown and satisfying our own ambition and desire, and our heart is full of these impurities, then we are not truly fulfilling our duty as a created being, but making use of God. How can such work and service gain God’s praise? When pondering this, we can know the reason why God demands that we become the likeness of a little child. God likes the honest, for they are of one mind with Him, do not have rebellion and resistance and are compatible with Him. Only such people can enter into His kingdom. Because God’s substance is holy, and He has no disposition of crookedness and craftiness. Those with Satan’s corrupt disposition won’t be allowed to enter into God’s kingdom, which is determined by His essence. Therefore, God wishes us all to pursue the truth, to cast off these Satan’s corrupt disposition and to live before Him like a little child who is simple and lively. Only in this way can we receive the blessings of God. The more we ponder like this, the more we understand the words of the Lord, and the more we know how to practice His words in our actual life. Then the relationship between the Lord and us will become closer and closer. This is also the outcome of quieting our heart before God.
3. Always Contemplating God’s Love and Pondering His Salvation Work He Has Performed on Us as Well as His Good Intention for Us
Usually, we should always think of the Lord’s love, recall His work He has performed on us, and ponder His salvation for us and His good intention. In this way, we will always be moved by the Holy Spirit, and we will be willing to get close to and satisfy the Lord in our heart. For example, in the evening, while lying on the bed, we should figure out in our heart the protection and love of the Lord we’ve experienced during the day or in the past days. For instance, we should figure out how the Lord has guided us step by step to get through the difficulties and hardships we met with in our service to the Lord. The more we try to figure out, the more we understand God’s intention. Moreover, we can be aware that through these difficulties, God wants to perfect us and make us obtain the truth. The more we experience like this, the betterwe will have. Furthermore, we’ll have more knowledge of work He does on us. Also we’ll experience even more His good intention in saving us. Sometimes we may think about the fact that for the purpose of His salvation of us corrupt people, God came humbly hidden among us, atoned for us, and was nailed on the cross. When thinking back on these God did for us, we will always be moved by His love. At this time, we will be possessed of an endless power in our heart and willing to forsake the flesh, refuse to live in difficulties, and do all we can to satisfy God. While pondering the Lord’s love, we can also experience that God is right by our side and is accompanying us. The more we ponder and practice like this, the more we can quiet our heart before God. Besides, we will have more knowledge of God and then give rise to the heart of fearing God.
I hope that my fellowship will be helpful to you and that you’ll keep a normal relationship with God. I believe that so long as we practice quieting our heart before God according to the above aspects, we will get God’s guidance and blessings, with peace and joy in spirit. May the Lord be with you!
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