Get, do, settle down, stick with it, keep, open up, hold nothing back, and quiet down. A list of actions we must exhibit if we are to really grow in relationship with Jesus. A list which may seem insurmountable to some, but when we really stop to think on these actions a little, we begin to see they are not really all that difficult. God's plan for his kids is to grow closer to him - in order to do this, there are just some things which come naturally in relationship which we must respond to. These are things like wanting to talk to each other and spending time with the other person. I think this is why some of our social media options today are kind of awesome - especially things like "Face Time" and video messaging. They allow those separated by the miles to be able to connect with each other despite the "physical distance" in their relationship. Maybe what is being explained to us is the importance of taking a closer look at how we are interacting in our relationship with Jesus, not just that we are "in" relationship with Jesus.
Get insurance with God and do a good deed, settle down and stick to your last. Keep company with God, get in on the best. Open up before God, keep nothing back; he’ll do whatever needs to be done: He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon. Quiet down before God, be prayerful before him. Don’t bother with those who climb the ladder, who elbow their way to the top. (Psalm 37:3-7 MSG)
Get: Cause it to be in your possession. When something is in our possession it is usually there to be used. If we simply possess things to say we possess them, then those possessions don't serve the purpose for which they were created. The first action word we see presented to us doesn't suggestion we come into possession of something which becomes a nick-nack in our lives! When we are told to "get insurance", we are really being told to enter into a place where we trust God. To gain possession of that which builds trust, there must be connection and "use" of that which we are trusting in. For example, we might possess a flashlight and batteries. We place it on the shelf to be prepared for the time when the electricity may go out. If this is all we use the flashlight for, we will probably be a little disappointed when we go to use it that one time we need it. Why? Just sitting dormant on a shelf causes the batteries to weaken. The light just isn't the same when it isn't used right away! When we move into a place of trusting relationship with Jesus, we come into a place of receiving light - not to be stored on a shelf - but to be put into use in our lives all the time!
Do: Doing good is more than helping the old lady across the busy street or volunteering at the soup kitchen on holidays. It is a lifestyle which comes out of the trusting relationship we are allowing to be developed with Jesus. The more we come to trust him, the more pleasure we find in doing "good" things which matter so much to him. Doing good is not just a matter of "serving" others, it is also a matter of taking care to do the things in our lives which allow us to be built up and mature in his grace.
Settle down: I have taught groups of rowdy preteens, toddlers, and the like. I love kids, so it comes to reason I would like to spend time with them. There are times when I have had to say to them, "Settle down!", simply because they are just getting out of hand. God isn't so different with us - sometimes we just need to "settle down" - come to a place of resting in him. When I told those kids to settle down, I wasn't asking them to just be quiet. I was asking them to refocus their attention, be aware of those around them, look beyond their immediate pleasure or need. God asks the same of us.
Stick with it: Nothing gets us more discouraged than to see something begun and then it stalls out. I deal with this all the time in my job. We seem to make great progress toward a process change and then all of a sudden it is like we hit a brick wall. Nothing seems to move forward! Why? Somehow we aren't "sticking with" what we said we were going to do. There was a "drift" in our practice. God doesn't expect perfection from us, but he does as for us to be committed. There is a difference!
Keep: This one kind of goes with "get". We can "possess" a lot of things - but that which is not used somehow becomes harder and harder to keep. We find we cannot trust it to be "good" or "reliable" to the same degree as when it was fresh and new. We "keep" based on the frequency of "company" we keep with the one who has the power to continually renew!
Open up: At this point, God asks for our vulnerability. To really grow in relationship with him, we have to let down our defenses and open up to him in ways we may not always be comfortable with. To be truthful, we all face these moments of "uncomfortable obedience" in our walk with Jesus. Let me just assure you - God doesn't treat our vulnerability disrespectfully. As we open up to him, he is always sensitive to the exact vulnerability we are experiencing. In opening up, we become available to his touch.
Hold nothing back: If we are to be truly vulnerable and open with Jesus, we will not be cautious in our "abandon" to him. When we trust someone fully, we hold nothing back. I have a really close friend and find it so awesome that we can just be together without any pretense or facade needed. This gives us a certain "liberty" together which we may not have in other relationships. We are free to speak what needs to be spoken - even when it may not be easy to hear. We are free to express our concerns - even when they may be blown a little out of proportion. We are free to be ourselves - and this is all God asks of us.
Quiet down: This is probably the hardest of them all. It is more than the call to "settle down" - but they do go together. As we settle down, we often need to "quiet" our emotions which are running rampant within. We can look pretty "settled down" on the outside, but if the inside is all running a muck, then we are really probably not able to enjoy our time with Jesus all that well. To be quiet within we need something we don't possess on our own - the peace of God. But...when we bring our "noisy emotions" and "loud thoughts" to Jesus, he is able to take those into his care and put them in right order for us. In turn, we are both settled down and quieted within. Just sayin!