“TRY TO RELAX” By Pastor YAU
Text: Psalm 46:1-11 December 13, 2009.
1) In a dentist chair: Here is Bill’s story: As I sat in the dentist chair, I braced myself for the drilling that would begin my root canal. I was ready for the worst, and my body language and the facial expression exposed my sense of dread. The dentist looked at me and smiled, saying, “It’s okay, Bill. Try to relax.” But that isn’t easy to do. In fact it’s contradictory to try and to relax. To try requires effort and exertion, while to relax is the absence of effort and exertion. Therefore trying and relaxing just won’t fit with each other.
2) In a Christian life: As Christians, we were told to trust God and relax in all times, especially in difficult times. But it is easier to say than to do. Besides the contradiction of the 2 verbs: when you exert efforts in trying, you cannot relax at the same time. How many times you try so hard to exert your faith in God and do it in a relaxing way? When we are so eager to try, it is hard to relax. All of us incline to try on our own efforts than to relax in God’s power when we face dire problems. We usually will try hard on our own first and when it doesn’t work, then we will try hard to do it God’s way so it is never easy to relax. Relaxing means not trying but allows God to handle the situation and ready to accept its outcome.
REASONS FOR TRYING:
1) It is part of our nature: Very few things, human or animal, stop try to do things that are essential. We see baby animals try so hard to stand up soon after they were born. The will fall a 1,000 times and may get hurt, but they still try till they stand up on their own. This is also true with human babies. No one has ever tried to count how many times a baby may fall before he/she can stand up and walk. Although we feel sorry when they fall and get hurt, we will continue to encourage them to try. We will say: “You can do it, come to Mom or Dad.” With or without parents’ continued support, babies will try and try and try until they make it. This is in our nature. We want to try to get things done, to make it work. It is God’s gift.
2) It is about expectation: Expectation is an integral part of life whether you like it or not. We put expectation on ourselves and on others. We expect everyone will try to do good job, to be productive, to be kind and good, to function properly as one should. Expectation is a force that drives us to try to do better, to move higher. This is true in everyday life in schools, at jobs and even in our spiritual journey. God expects us to be more mature, more useful for His kingdom. We expect ourselves to be more like Jesus in words and deeds. Without proper expectation, few may become useful as they would.
3) It is how we grow: Because it is part of human nature, we expect everyone to try hard to grow. This is true in learning and growing. Whether it is playing a soccer game, play a piece of music or learn a skill, trying is the only way to grow. No one may grow anything without trying again and again. Few may grow without trying.
4) It is how we achieve: To achieve is an important part of life. From a small achievement at your elementary talent show to winning a Nobel Prize, achievement is part of advancement in all areas of life. You have to try so many times to do things right to achieve a success. Quitters are those who stop at their first try and they won’t achieve anything. There are very few things, if any, that will come to you without efforts of trying. Luck is not a commodity, it is a miracle. When Paul said he was pushing forward toward the goal that is trying to achieve.
REASONS FOR RELAXING:
1) Relaxing is biblical: Many Bible scholars agree that God intends to give us an example to relax by putting it on the record: “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” (Genesis 2:2) To rest is to stop working, to relax. No one would imagine that God rested from his creation work because he really needs to rest due to lack of energy. God did this to give us a guideline due to our nature of being human. God created us a nature to try. But He also created us with the implanted need to relax, to rest.
2) Relaxing is necessary: Among all the things God had created very few living things don’t need to rest. There are many suggestions why God made it this way. We wonder why God didn’t create living things, at least human beings, to be strong enough that we never need to rest. May be He wants us to have time with Him, or time with family. He may want us to know that life is more than just work, work and non-stop. God may want to see that life is more than just get busy all the time. And we all know that we are not all powerful. We do need to rest and relax on a regular schedule.
3) Relaxing is beautiful: Have you ever had the beautiful feeling of taking time to relax from your daily stress? Do you see the goodness of having time to relax and rest? How about a break at work? A vacation or a trip just to another place makes life so beautiful. Can you imagine life without time to relax? We need to learn to slow down or to stop once in a while to enjoy life to a fuller extend.
4) Relaxing is regenerating: It is not just human beings need to relax from stress, even metal suffers fatigue without proper relaxing. Taking time to relax is never a loss but a gain to prolong the life of our bodies and the things we use. We also need to regenerate our spiritual life from the stress of life so can grow spiritually to have a more balance life. All car manufacturers suggest that we stop the engine every few hours of driving to allow the engine to cool off and regenerate its utility quality. To neglect relaxation or resting is to cut short the quality of life, be it human or things.
HOW TO RELAX? (Psalm 46:1-11) So many people, including many Christians find it hard to relax in their life. They can’t relax in everything they do and have lost so many blessings in doing that. But the Bible told us: “Be still (relax) and know that I am God.” (46:10)Let’s find out how we can relax.
1) God is our ever-present help: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (46:1)Most of us can’t relax because we look at our self as the only strength to meet our needs, save us from trouble. The Bible tells us that God is our strength, our protection and help who is very capable to handle our troubles. If we truly believe that God is ever-present, all powerful and he is the best refuge to protect us from harm, we certainly can be more relaxed in all circumstances. If you have the Secret Service as your body guard, I bet you will feel relaxed.
2) God is our best defender: “God is in His city, she will not fall God will help her at break of day.” (46:5) Break of day is right after darkness of the night. The psalmist wants to assure us that no matter how dark our nights may be, as long as God is in the city, He will not allow the city to fall but will help the city to stand. Fear of falling is real in life if we try to handle it by ourselves. But if God is with us, who can against us? We certainly can relax in the darkest night when we know that God is with us and will protect us in the morning.
3) God is our infinite peace: “He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; He breaks the bow and shatters the spear, He burns the shields with fire.” (46:9) Peace, be it international or inter-personal, is a rare commodity, very hard to seek and find. Wars, conflicts, struggles and harms are part of life everywhere. But God promises His peace on earth even to the ends of the world. He will remove all source of conflicts and makes peace possible if we allow Him to direct our life. With God in control of peace, we certainly can relax without fear.
4) In God, we relax: “Be still (relax) and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.” (46:10)God is not just in control of small things or in some areas of our life. He is God of all nations even to the end of the earth. If we stay in Him, he will provide, protect and prosper us in any and all circumstances. There is not one thing God cannot do, not one person God cannot protect, not one problem God cannot solve and not one need God cannot provide. If we are in Him, we are safe to relax.
1) Things we need to try: God has designated each one of us things we need to do and do well. We are entrusted with talents God expect us to use them and be fruitful. Same applies in spiritual life as well. We ought o try to pursue a higher goal, be more fruitful and useful in His Kingdom and His church. Being irresponsible or just plain lazy is being unfaithful to God. Grow, serve and do our utmost is God’s way to fulfill His purpose in our lives.
2) Things we need to relax: There are time and things we need to relax, to trust and to be in Him so God can do His work in our lives without our intervention. We need to respect God as God and surrender our lives and pride to allow Him to lead, to use and to produce results He intended for us. We need to know our limits and be obedient and trustful that God will do His best in your life. Learn to let go and allow God to fulfill His purpose in you.
3) One thing you cannot do: You cannot save your soul by doing your good work. You cannot try to be good enough to save your soul. You need the grace of God in Jesus Christ. If you invite Him into your heart and be the Lord of your life and Savior of your soul, He will direct you to a higher ground and to have eternal life with Him.