Today, more than ever, our time seems to be at a premium. There is never enough of it to do everything we want and the time we do have is often split between any of a number of activities. With this being the norm, it is no surprise that our relationship with God is also dealt with in a similar fashion. Being with God is often something that we do rather than something we are. I don’t mean that we shouldn’t engage in spiritual disciplines (which are definitely things that we do) but that we shouldn’t lose sight of what we are striving for in them: to be shaped and grown by God into the image of Jesus Christ. God has already given us the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us and works to bring about this formation within us.
However, Paul admonishes us, saying, “Do not quench the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19) Our struggle, in many ways, consists in striving to still the waters of our internal life so that there isn’t interference to cloud our ability to receive from the Spirit who wants to make known to us the things of God and to lead us into all truth. (John 16:5-15) If we wish for water to still and settle so that it is clear, we cannot force it to do so. Any attempt to manipulate the water with our own wills only stirs it up. Additionally, we can very easily cause the water to churn up once more if we immediately and violently start back into our regular routine. What is within our power is to make the time and the space for the water to still. We also have the ability to strive to keep the water still even after we have moved on from our devotional time.
As we persevere in our quest to still the waters of our soul, we will find that spiritual inertia begins to work in our favor. The default status of our water drifts toward being still and calm. This, however, is not a signal for us to slip into complacence. For our enemy is tireless in his efforts to draw us into his own ruin. Therefore, we must remain vigilant and constantly drive away the thoughts and temptations that attempt to bring confusion to our hearts once more. For it is that confusion, disorder, and general static that we allow to come between ourselves and God. Working with God to do away with this interference allows us to live more closely to Him by letting His Spirit speak clearly to us and be present to us rather than being obscured and quenched by turning our attention elsewhere. Being clearly connected to God and mindful of Him as a general rule of life is what we seek when we aim to follow Him and live our lives with Him.