Sunday, September 15, 2019

Resting in the Word

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:28-29 NLT
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In this bustling day and age, it can be hard to slow down and find rest for the soul. With all of our responsibilities and obligations, it can be difficult to choose to put our noses in the Bible over some other more leisurely activity. But our souls cannot survive on leisure alone.  
Rejuvenation and renewal of the mind can only be derived from letting our busy minds soak in the truths of Scripture. It may take rereading an ancient story you've read through before; it may mean revisiting a passage that prods the conscience. But the weight and substance of the Word brings comfort, guidance, and protection from a wanton enemy. Rest in the Word soon!
Re-entering the world of corporate faith is proving more difficult for me than I thought it would be. Consistent fellowship is challenging in this time, and not going is second nature to me.

As a graduate of Texas Bible [Charismatic/Word of Faith] Institute, and a member of a non-denominational church/worship team for 3 years, I've grown comfortable with the emotional appeal of these worship services and sermons. The swell, the repeat, the rise and fall of dwelling moments in music: I've always considered these pieces really important because it's what I know. Anything else feels dry and austere in comparison. Enter visiting a new Baptist church.

Was anything missing this morning as I sang along to songs I didn't know, in a style that kept my hands near my sides? Although my doctrinal slant is fairly Baptist, I've been known to go both ways. I still consider the Baptist church foreign territory. I don't have clear memories of the one where I spent my childhood (lot's of stuff between the ages of 6 and 14 is kind of missing), but historically speaking, it was fully operational in the gifts of the Spirit (not just tongues) -- a legendary Goldilocks hybrid of sorts that I haven't personally witnessed.

But was anything... missing? 

There were no tongues; no lyrics from songs penned by far-flung mega churches; no whirlwind declarations of His presence or new incoming messages. When I read the simple words to the simple songs during the simple prayers and applied them to what I know to be truth, everything matched up and I was still affected: I still felt an overwhelming gratitude to the Lord, even without the instrumentation and grand sway that I'm used to. 

Uncomfortable? Yes. Doctrinally offended? Not really.

For a while now, with no one by my side to nod or shake their head authoritatively when a shepherd says something that could be amiss, I've sat on edge in myself, unable to relax in any environment with other brothers and sisters because in that moment, they are strangers and whatever they say next may close me off completely. 

But that is not the point.

The point is to rest in the Word whenever I can. I jumped the gun in anxiety a couple times during the message, and again afterward being approached as a visitor. But by the end of the morning, mulling over where I stand with the differing branches of the faith, I'm not scared to enter more austere environs while I parse out what the Spirit does and doesn't do based on what He says He does and doesn't do, in His Word. Figure it out, and then rest in it, let it hold me up. That's the goal.

If anything, in hindsight, there was a calming sobriety to everything, and it reminded me how nice it can be to get up early, go to church, and not experience the full range of human emotions in the span of less than 3 hours (although that is something I usually enjoy)! Makes standing on my feet in front of more strangers behind a check-in desk (on four hours of sleep -- oops!) a lot easier to handle. 

Point being, I'm weary. I need rest. Let me just shut up and learn in safety.

(Thanks for asking me to come with, Guy, I appreciate it.)

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