What does it mean to 'be still and know that I am God'?

(SeanO) #1

@Lakshmismehta posed the following question on another thread - “How can one can know if they are being guided by the “Cosmic Christs” or the “Holy Spirit” when practicing Lectio Divina ? What does “being still to know God” mean in the Bible? Any thoughts?”

Let us continue that discussion here, as this is an important topic.

(Lakshmi Mehta) #2

Thanks for posting the question. Look forward to hearing from others on this.

(SeanO) #3

@Lakshmismehta Personally I like to use the Biblical concept of being ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ rather than thinking of it as our individual thoughts or actions being guided. In that sense, for me Leccio Divina is an opportunity to meditate on Scripture - to renew my mind. I am not trying to empty my mind and let the Spirit guide - rather I am focusing my mind on the Scriptures and trusting the Spirit to transform my heart.

In terms of how we can know we are living the Spirit filled life, I think that is easier to assess - we obey God and our heart is filled with songs to Him. Here is a short article by Chip Ingram on this very question of how to assess whether we are living the Spirit filled life.

Here’s what is constant when we’re filled with the Holy Spirit:

  • Our speech. Our words tell us what’s going on in our heart before God. When the Spirit of God is influencing our life, our speech will reflect this. We won’t be engaging in gossip, sarcasm or speaking evil about others.
  • Our singing. When we’re intimate with God, there’s a song in our heart. There’s something about singing that takes God’s truth into our heart, mind and emotions.
  • Our thankfulness. Giving thanks for all things forces us to picture God’s goodness and sovereignty. This doesn’t mean praising God for horrible things, but it does mean that if God is good then no matter how painful this life is we can tell Him how upset we are and also thank Him for being loving and good.
  • Our submission. When we’re filled with the Spirit and yielding to Him, then we also give preference to others by treating them the way we would want to be treated.


In terms of living a life guided by the Holy Spirit, these two books have been very helpful for me in my own journey.

(Lakshmi Mehta) #4

Those resources are valuable and not emptying the mind seems to be key. While I understand and agree that Holy Spirit filled life is evident through our transformation, developing discernment of the Holy Spirit’s guidance may be the means. There have been instances in my own life where I have experienced being guided by the Holy spirit in specific situations like being enabled to have more faith than usual during a crisis, an urge to share the gospel to a specific person, being prompted in my spirit to pray for someone who was in an accident, being warned of someone, suddenly being reminded of a verse or song to calm my anxious thoughts, certain verses jumping off bible text as an answer to a specific situation etc. Its moments like these that confirm to me on difficult days that God has his eye on me, that Jesus is alive and that Holy Spirit is truly a Comforter and Counselor.

The pattern I see in my own experience about the guidance of Holy Spirit is - its initiated by God and not dependent on my effort, it requires obedience on my part, its God glorifying, it strengthens my faith in Jesus, it’s not in opposition to the revealed Word. A few times, I have wondered if I actually heard from the Holy Spirit when the words I felt compelled to share were met with much resistance. After hearing of false Christs, for my own assurance, so that I am not influenced by any other spirit, I specifically pray in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. I think there may be a chance of being influenced by other spirits if we unknowingly open ourself to following some of the teachings that are not founded in the Bible similar to how Adam and Eve came under Satan’s authority on agreeing with him in Genesis.

In practice, being still and knowing He is God to me has been about checking if my attitude is in submission to God after I have done what I know to do, as much as I can. It’s not about silence or emptying of mind or chanting as that’s a voluntary act of losing control of self to be influenced by anything out there. In contrast, the process may be actually reverse in Christian practice. It’s the encounter and understanding of God’s love that causes us to cease in our self striving or in other words give control of self to God.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on discerning the Holy Spirit. Thanks @SeanO for the books you recommended on this. Thank you!

(SeanO) #5

@Lakshmismehta Great thoughts - especially about it being God initiated. We may feel that we need a special word from God in the crisis we are in - but we cannot demand it. And if we look at Scripture it is actually quite rare - there were periods of 400 years with no prophet! And yet God is still present with His people even in the absence of these supernatural signs. His Spirit comforts and guides us through the Scriptures and we gain wisdom as we mature in our walk with Christ.

(Lakshmi Mehta) #6

That’s very true. We love and trust God for who He is rather than for the blessing, sign or experience He can give. Very easily, worship can deteriorate into focusing on self if we depend on the signs/gifts alone as a proof of His presence or love for us.

(jesse porter, jr) #7

To understand “being still to know God” seems very clear when read in its completeness in Psalm 46. In only eleven verses.

Very to the point is a quote from the website Bible Gateway. “The four steps of lectio divina have also been compared to “feasting on the Word.” Reading is taking a bite of food. Meditation is chewing food. Prayer is savoring food. Contemplation is digesting food and making it a part of your body.”
From https: //www.biblegateway.com/resources/scripture-engagement/lectio-divina/home