Over the past few years when I believed in the Lord, I persisted in praying and reading the Bible every day, and always went out to work for the Lord, but I felt that I was still estranged from the Lord. Even when sometimes I prayed or read the Bible, my mind would wander away into other things, being bothered by some trifling matters in my daily life, and then I was incapable of quieting my heart before the Lord at all. So after several years, I did not have much understanding of the Lord’s words, nor did I have much growth in my spiritual life.
Recently, I read some books. And only then did I understand that if we want to achieve a result in our spiritual training, the most fundamental lesson to enter is to quiet our heart before God. Only by doing so can we receive the moving, enlightenment, and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and then establish a proper relationship with God and enter the right track in our spiritual life. Gradually, our spiritual life will have ever greater progress. Then what should we do to practice quieting our heart before God? I have found some ways of practice from a book. Now, I’d like to share them with you.
First, While Praying, Our Heart Must Be Focused and Sincere
As a Christian, we pray to the Lord every day, but most of our prayers are the following of procedure: We neither truly quiet our heart before the Lord or use a single-minded and honest heart to speak from our heart to Him, nor bring any issues we don’t understand or any difficulties we have before the Lord to seek, to ask for His enlightenment and illumination, and for more and new understanding of His words. Instead, we always kneel there merely to murmur what we do not mean, speaking some commonplace or repeated words. Sometimes when we hurry to go to work or go out to do something, in order to finish ouras soon as possible, we just say some words simply, going through the motions; even when sometimes we are kneeling in prayer, our heart is thinking about other things, and so on. All these behaviors show that we are not truly quieting our heart before God to have true communion with the Lord, but are stalling and deceiving the Lord. When we pray in this way, not only can we not obtain the Holy Spirit’s moving or enlightenment, but we will make God feel disgust and hatred. The said, “When the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him” (John 4:23). From these words we can see that, the Lord’s demand for us is that we should worship God with an honest and focused heart. So while praying, we should tell God about our true states and difficulties. No matter what ideas and plans we have in our mind, we should completely open ourselves up to God. Only then will God be interested in our prayers, let us be more touched by the Holy Spirit, be enlightened and illuminated in various things that we do not understand, and let us gradually come to understand .
For instance, in the face of difficulties, our heart is always occupied by matters of wealth or the flesh, so we are unable to put our heart into working or expending for the Lord. At this time, we can speak the truth to the Lord, “O, Lord, I see that my stature is too small. I always live in the entanglement of the flesh, always consider and plan for my future, and always cannot wholeheartedly serve You. When I see those brothers and sisters who expend for You can forsake their flesh, and are considerate to Your will, I feel very ashamed. I also want to rise up to care for Your will, to expend and work for You, but my faith is too paltry, so I cannot achieve it. I only wish to entrust this difficulty into Your hands. May You lead me and grant me confidence and strength….” If we always share what is in our heart and commune with God like this, God will see our prayer is sincere rather than the following of procedure. Then the Holy Spirit will work within us, lead us to gradually break free from the entanglement of the flesh and to rise up to devote ourselves to the Lord. Simultaneously, when we pray to God, we should avoid all of the matters, people, and things that can disturb our mind, and find a quiet environment. Just like the Lord Jesus said, “But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly” (Matthew 6:6).
Second, While Reading the Word of God, We Should Be Quiet and Use Our Heart to Ponder
Although we often read the Bible at ordinary times, we seldom expend effort in pondering God’s word. Most of the time we just read without devotion, like viewing flowers on horseback, and being satisfied with understanding the literal meaning of the truth. Even though sometimes we are staring at God’s word and reading it, our heart is wandering in the great world, and as a result, after we read it, we do not know what God’s word means. Sometimes we also ponder God’s word for a while, but if we have no enlightenment afterward, then we will give up pondering it. Actually, we do not at all quiet our heart before God to figure out why God say these words, what results God wants to reach with them, and how to practice and enter in order to meet God’s requirements. That’s why we have believed in the Lord and read God’s word for many years, but we still do not have much understanding of the will of God, nor have we found the way to practice the many truths which we should practice and enter. It is clear to see that ordinarily we do not ponder God’s words enough, so even though we have read much of God’s words, we are still incapable of comprehending their inner meaning, and our spiritual life still cannot grow. Then, as to this aspect of truth, how should we do to enter into it? Here is an example. The Lord Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the” (Mat 19:24). Then we should contemplate: What did the Lord mean by saying that? Which aspects of God’s will and disposition are revealed? What result does God want to achieve on us? By contemplating, we see that those people who pursue money but not the truth cannot get into the kingdom of God. We may think back to the Age of Grace. Some landlords also wanted to follow the Lord. But they were unwilling to give up their wealth and superior living conditions because they were greedy for comforts and pleasures of the flesh, and could not bear to live a simple and poor life. Therefore, although they knew that those who believed in the Lord would have eternal life and the chance to enter into the kingdom of heaven, they still lost the opportunities to get God’s salvation. This shows that it’s nearly impossible for a landlord to enter into the kingdom of God. Through this story, God’s will is that we should not pursue money but should pursue life. If we pay attention to money, and when we get the money, we lose our life, then what benefit is this to us? As we ponder God’s words like this, we will understand God’s will better and better, and then we can also act in accordance with God’s will better no matter what we encounter.
Third, When Something Happens, We Should Seek and Practice the Truth, and Live Before God
We all know that spiritual devotionals take up only a small portion of time in our daily life; most of the time we are working or dealing with various matters in our life. So if we want to practice quieting our heart before God, then we cannot be limited to just practicing reading the Bible and praying. We should also practice to come close to God, to meditate on and contemplate God’s love with our heart, and to focus on seeking the truth and God’s will, and on acting in accordance with the truth at any time in all the people, events, and things that we encounter in our daily life. God’s word says, “In your daily life, you must grasp those words you say and those things you do that will cause your relationship with God to be abnormal, then rectify yourself and enter into the correct manner. Examine your words, your actions, your each and every move, and your thoughts and ideas at all times. Grasp your true state and enter into the way of the work of the Holy Spirit. Only in this way can you have a normal relationship with God. By weighing out whether your relationship with God is normal, you will be able to rectify your intentions, understand the essence of man, and understand yourself; through this, you will be able to enter into real experiences, truly forsake yourself, and achieve deliberate submission.”
Through God’s words we can see that, only by always quieting our heart before God and seeking God’s will in all the things we encounter, can we have a clearer understanding of our true states, shortcomings, and inadequacies; can we grasp God’s will in everything we encounter to practice the truth and satisfy the Lord. Only through this can we maintain a normal relationship with the Lord, live before Him, avoid being ensnared in the temptations and schemes of Satan and doing things that rebel against and oppose the Lord.
Just like Job, during his daily life, he sought to fear God and shun evil in everything, for fear that he would sin against God and make God feel disgusted in what he did. So when his sons and daughters feasted and made merry, he not only distanced himself from them, but also sent and sanctified his sons, and sacrificed burnt offerings for them. Even when Job encountered Satan’s temptation and lost a mountain of sheep and cattle, untold masses of wealth, and his sons and daughters, although he was very distressed in his heart and did not understand God’s will, he still was able to quiet his heart before God, seek God’s will, neither sinned with his lips nor said hurtful words about God, much less resisted God. And it was precisely because Job was possessed of rationality and a heart of seeking the truth and fearing God that he could submit to such environment and said, “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21), thus standing a beautifully resounding bearing of witness and made Satan retreat in humiliation. In the end, Job was doubly blessed by God. Not only that, but he got the opportunity of seeing the appearance of Jehovah God, and got the blessings which no one had ever previously received.
Fourth, Paying Attention Every Day to Reflecting on Our Problems and Shortcomings
Every day we will face with various things. So we should come before God to reflect on all the things that we have done in a day: Over what matters we practiced the Lord’s words and our actions conformed to the truth; over what matters we followed our own will and went against the Lord’s will. We can recall them and try our best to write them down in our notebook when conditions and time allow. We can go on practicing the things that we acted according to God’s word; as for our doings that were not in line with God’s will, we should integrate God’s words to inspect ourselves about the problems and deviations in them, and seek the truth to resolve them timely. For example, we believe that we can treat the brothers and sisters with sincerity when in association with them at ordinary times. But at nighttime when we reflect on ourselves, we are aware that in the daytime, we did not speak openly and honestly to others in order to protect our own interests in something. We see that for the sake of our personal interests, we lied and committed fraud to the brothers and sisters, and revealed deceitful corrupt disposition in this thing. We know that God is disgusted with deceitful people; He loves those people who are honest, innocent and open. So we should open ourselves up to the brothers and sisters actively, confess to having told lies and deceived them, ask them to forgive us, and resolve not to do this anymore. In this way, unconsciously, we will have some entry into the truth of being an honest person. If we do not reflect on ourselves by coming before God, we will pay no heed to our everyday expressions of corruption, thinking they are all trifles, and then we cannot achieve the effect of improving our spiritual life. So only by focusing on quieting our heart before God, by always reflecting on ourselves and pondering those problems in ourselves, will our spiritual life grow ever greater, our relationship with God become ever closer, and we gradually become a person compatible with God’s intentions.
The four aspects above are the direction and path of practicing entry into quieting our heart before God. I really hope that we can all benefit from them.