Standing still can often feel counterintuitive. Our natural inclination is to stay busy, keep moving, and avoid idleness. However, the Bible has a surprising amount to say about the importance of stopping and standing still before God. Slowing down allows us to realign our priorities, renew our strength, and receive guidance for the road ahead.
In our fast-paced world, stillness is a lost art. Our calendars are packed, to-do lists never-ending, and quiet moments few and far between. When challenges arise, our impulse is to work harder or run faster. However, Scripture offers an alternative: to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).
Standing still is a posture of faith. It demonstrates trust in God’s sovereignty and reliance on His strength. Though counterintuitive, God often calls us to stand still in order to see His mighty hand at work. When we slow down long enough to fix our eyes on Jesus, we receive wisdom, perspective, and encouragement to walk forward in confidence.
Here are some key truths for why we must stand still before God:
- To realign our lives to God’s purposes and timing
- To renew our strength and energy by waiting on the Lord
- To receive clear direction and guidance for the road ahead
- To remind ourselves of God’s mighty power and love
- To rest in God’s presence and timing when facing trials or uncertainty
This article will explore the biblical foundations for standing still, practical benefits of slowing down, and keys for cultivating stillness before God in various seasons of life. My prayer is that God will use these reflections to remind you of the blessing of standing still. May your soul find rest in His presence.
Biblical Foundations for Standing Still
Scripture is filled with examples of God’s people standing still and seeing His salvation. Often God specifically instructed individuals and groups to hold their ground, wait, and watch to see what the Lord would do. Standing still always precedes God’s mighty deliverance.
God Parts the Red Sea (Exodus 14)
In Exodus 14, the Israelites find themselves trapped between Pharaoh’s advancing army and the Red Sea. Terrified and desperate, they cry out to God. Moses responds with a call to stillness:
“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord…The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:13-14)
God then miraculously parts the sea, allowing the Israelites to walk forward on dry ground. This mighty deliverance required a posture of stillness and trust.
Joshua and the Battle of Jericho (Joshua 6)
Before the famous battle of Jericho, Joshua encounters a man with a drawn sword. “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” Joshua asks. The man responds, “No, but I am the commander of the army of the Lord” (Joshua 5:13-14). Joshua falls on his face in reverent stillness. He receives instructions to march quietly around Jericho for seven days. Only by this strange act of stillness do the walls eventually come tumbling down.
Judah Delivered from Invading Armies (2 Chronicles 20)
When Judah faces invasion, King Jehoshaphat leads the people in desperate prayer and fasting. The Lord responds, “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed…for the battle is not yours but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15). The people march into battle praising God, and the invading armies turn on each other. By standing still in God’s presence, the victory is won.
Jesus Calms the Storm (Mark 4:35-41)
In the midst of a raging storm on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus sleeps peacefully in the boat. Terrified, the disciples wake him crying, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38). Jesus awakes and simply says “Peace! Be still!” Immediately the wind ceases and there is a great calm. Stillness always precedes God’s mighty deliverance.
These examples demonstrate how God calls His people to stand still and wait for His timing. Stillness reorients our perspective to trust in God’s power rather than our own strength and effort. As we shall explore, embracing stillness unleashes spiritual benefits and blessings.
Benefits of Standing Still Before God
Cultivating stillness realigns our priorities and deepens our spiritual roots. As Charles Spurgeon said, “It is in stillness…that we recover ourselves.” Here are some key benefits of standing still:
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
Waiting on the Lord renews inner strength and vitality. Rather than hustling in our own power, stillness allows God’s strength to infuse us.
Wisdom and Guidance
“I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me.” (Habakkuk 2:1 NIV)
Like a watchman, stillness positions us to receive God’s wisdom and guidance. Silencing our agendas clarifies God’s voice.
God’s Presence and Peace
“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
Stillness brings us face to face with God, enveloping us in His gentle presence and supernatural peace.
“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.” (Psalm 62:5 NLT)
Waiting reorients us from self-reliance to reliance on God, transforming our character.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33 NIV)
Stillness helps us seek God first, reorienting our priorities around His purposes. Life’s demands fall back into proper perspective.
Faith to Move Forward
“Let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity” (Hebrews 6:1 NIV)
Standing still is not the final destination but prepares us to walk forward in maturity and boldness.
Stillness realigns us to God’s rhythms and purposes, anchoring and nourishing our souls for the road ahead.
How to Cultivate Stillness Before God
Intentionally setting aside time for stillness can seem daunting amidst busy schedules. However, even small pauses to fix our eyes on Jesus renew our strength. Consider incorporating these practices:
Extended Times of Solitude and Silence
Plan regular getaways to pull away and meet alone with God. Silencing electronics and eliminating distractions ushers you into stillness. Long walks in nature can also guide you into His presence.
Begin Each Day Resting in Him
Rather than diving into your to-do list, start your day sitting in stillness. Silently invite the Holy Spirit to fill and lead you. Center first on who God is rather than what you must accomplish.
Schedule a Daily Time to Pray and “Be Still”
Carve out time to stop and intentionally meditate on Scripture. Linger over passages that speak deeply. Release distractions and simply rest in the unhurried presence of Jesus.
Practice Waiting Throughout Your Day
Look for small moments in your day to pause and reconnect with God – waiting for coffee to brew, sitting in traffic, riding an elevator. Involve Him in the details, listen for His voice, and breathe in His peace.
Release Expectations and Control
Surrender control of situations to God, releasing timetables and embracing His timing. Relax clenched fists and anxious thoughts, trusting He holds the future and your best interest.
Persevere through Spiritual Dryness
Seasons of spiritual dryness and silence are normal. Stand firm in faith that God is present though not felt. He often uses dryness to strengthen roots of stillness that sustain us through storms.
Standing Still in Every Season of Life
While stillness is always important, God has unique lessons to teach us in each phase of life. We must learn to stand still in every season and circumstance.
In Times of Waiting:
Surrender your timeline – stop striving and sit in the gap between promise and fulfillment. Though it feels inactive, waiting cultivates stamina, strength, and hope.
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope” (Psalm 130:5)
When Facing Uncertainty:
When the path ahead is unclear, turn your eyes from the unknown to focus on the God who knows. Stillness allows God to recalibrate your priorities and realign your steps.
“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:8)
In Seasons of Abundance:
Success and prosperity bring distraction and self-reliance if we don’t continually return to stillness. Let overflowing blessings direct your gaze back to the Giver.
“In my prosperity I said, “I shall never be moved.” By your favor, O LORD, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed.” (Psalm 30:6-7)
When Overwhelmed with Responsibility:
The weight of responsibility often drives us from stillness into fruitless anxiety and effort. God’s work must be steeped in stillness before Him.
“The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.” (Isaiah 50:4)
In the Face of Opposition:
When facing overt opposition, stillness stabilizes our perspective. We access God’s courage and discern proper response rather than reactionary retreat.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)
When Facing Disappointment and Loss:
“I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes.” (Psalm 6:6-7)
No matter the circumstance, stillness anchors our hearts in God’s presence. We gain His perspective, receive His comfort and guidance, and access His strength for each day.
Stillness is Not the Final Destination
A call to stillness is not meant to paralyze us into perpetual passivity or inactivity. Stand still long enough to receive strength, wait patiently to discern direction, and then boldly follow God’s lead.
Think of stillness as pausing to sharpen your tools before a difficult task. As Dallas Willard wrote, “The really determinative person knows how to be silent and listen – to wait and direct his mind toward what is above himself.” Out of stillness emerges focused and purposeful action.
After delivering Israel through the Red Sea, God immediately directs Moses where to go next. After speaking to Joshua, the commander of the Lord’s army commissions forward movement around Jericho. renewal. Having turned to God in desperate prayer, Jehoshaphat is given the battle plan and marches forward in victory.
Stillness prepares and propels us into the right action at the right time. Jesus retreated into solitary prayer before each crucial decision – calling the twelve disciples, performing miracles, even facing the cross. Out of abiding in the Father’s presence, He moved forward with clarity, wisdom, and courage.
So stand still today – to realign with Christ, be filled with power, gain perspective. Then walk boldly into the good plans He has prepared for you.
May this study on stillness encourage you to carve out time to cease striving in God’s presence. As Psalm 37:7 says “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him.” Though counterintuitive, God often works mightily through the posture of standing still.
- Stillness demonstrates trust in God’s sovereignty and reliance on His strength
- God has delivered His people throughout Scripture through the act of standing still
- Pausing to wait on the Lord renews our strength and perspective
- Schedule consistent times of solitude and silence to cultivate stillness
- Stand firm in stillness, especially when facing uncertainty, adversity, or responsibility
- Stillness anchors us in God’s presence and purifies our perspective
- Out of abiding in God’s presence flows wisdom, guidance, and power for the task ahead
The Lord is waiting to meet you in stillness. As you slow down and fix your eyes on Jesus, may you receive strength to walk forward with joy, confidence, and faith.