When we are operating at an unrealistic pace we have no intimacy in our relationship with God because we don’t spend time with Him. We are always in a hurry working for God, and not spending time with Him. When anybody criticizes us or pulls our coattails. about our pace we get angry and say stuff like; “The devil never takes a day off”. Well “I’m not sure the devil is supposed to be your example.
Have you ever felt like the more you do the more there is to do? It seems as if the pile keeps getting higher rather than lower; the working hours get longer and longer although you’re working harder and harder? All of us have probably been there and some of you may be there now. You have gotten yourself on a treadmill and you’re running at an unrealistic and unsustainable pace. If you continue you will burnout, pass out, stress out, and probably become depressed. How do you get off the treadmill? The answer is to simplify your life by seeking first the kingdom of God. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Well it’s not. I justify overdoing it by saying, “after all I’m doing God’s work, work for the Kingdom”. Notice I said “working for the Kingdom,” not “seeking the Kingdom.”
From Exhausted to Energized
Think about the times when you’re exhausted or completely drained and empty; during those times you have nothing else to give to anyone or anything.. What does that feel like? My guess is that you feel resentment. You resent something or someone. Martha resented her sister Mary when Jesus was visiting their home. Martha was busy being the perfect hostess making sure that everybody had everything that they needed, running around making sure that everybody was happy. Mary, on the other hand was spending time listening to Jesus. Martha was upset.
Luke 10:38-40 (NKJV) 38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me."
To Martha it was like “Jesus, don’t you care that my sister isn’t helping me? After all I’m trying to prepare for you and your disciples.”
How does Jesus respond?
Luke 10:41-42 (NKJV) 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."
Instead of shaking your fist at the world and those around you because you have worked yourself into a lather or continuing to complain that you don’t have any help, maybe it’s time to sit and spend some time with God meditating on His word. We all, me included, want to get it all done right now and if nobody is there to help us we become resentful, not realizing that we are the ones putting the pressure on ourselves to get it all done. The answer may just be to let whatever it is you’re doing wait or even go undone until you spend some time in a quiet undisturbed conversation with Jesus.
Psalm 119:15 (NKJV) I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways.
Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV) 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
In the Ten Commandments the commandment that God spent the most time addressing was the one on rest.
Exodus 20:8-11 (HCSB)8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy: 9 You are to labor six days and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. You must not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the foreigner who is within your gates. 11 For the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days; then He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy.
Your soul wasn’t created for hurry. And as a result, hurry is the enemy of what matters most in life.
We were designed to go at a slower pace, to ponder, to process thoughts one at a time, to focus on the face in front of us with tender care. And when we try to go at computer-speed, we miss out on what’s important in life.
The Apostle Paul penned a list of the characteristics a Christian should exhibit when the Spirit of God lives in them. And not one of them is possible when I’m in a hurry: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control …” (Galatians 5:22).
Hurry robs us of the beauty God has placed in front of us and the grace others so desperately need.
I just finished the five day YouVersion Reading Plan, "The Ruthless Elimination Of Hurry" written by John Mark Comer. John says that hurry doesn't just make you weary. It is an enemy of your spiritual life. I want to share some of it with you in the hope that it encourages you to slow down.
Hebrews 4:1-11 NIV Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.” And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
Un-hurry to the Pace of Jesus
The philosopher Dallas Willard once called hurry “the great enemy of spiritual life in our day,” and urged followers of Jesus to “ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”
If someone e asked you what is the greatest challenge to your spiritual life what would you say?
I bet very few of us would answer “hurry”, but the more you think about it, you may agree that it is "hurry "
Corrie ten Boom, who helped hundreds of Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II, said that if the devil can’t make you sin, he’ll make you busy. Her logic is sound: both sin and busyness have the exact same effect—they cut off our connection to God, to other people, and even to our own soul.
Many of us are just too busy to live emotionally healthy and spiritually rich and vibrant lives.
Granted, there is a healthy kind of busyness where your life is full with things that matter, not wasted on empty leisure or trivial pursuits. By that definition, Jesus himself was busy.
The problem isn’t when you have a lot to do; it’s when you have too much to do, and the only way to keep the quota up is to hurry.
Hurry is incompatible with life in Jesus’ kingdom.
Hurry is Incompatible with Love
Jesus set love as the highest value in his kingdom’s economy. When asked what the greatest commandment in all of Scripture was, he responded with “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and strength,” but he refused to stop at one command; he added another, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Matthew 22:34-40 NLT But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
But love is painfully time consuming. All parents know this, as do all lovers, and most long-term friends. There’s no shortcuts. No life-hack. No killer app.
It takes an enormous amount of time to love well.
Love and hurry are oil and water: they simply do not mix. All of my worst moments as a husband and father, a neighbor or friend, are when I’m in a hurry—late for an appointment, behind on my unrealistic to-do list, trying to cram too much into my day. I ooze anger, tension, a critical nagging—the antithesis of love.
If you don’t believe me, next time you’re trying to get your type B wife and three young, easily distracted children out of the house, and you’re running late (a subject on which I have a wealth of experience), just pay attention to how you relate to them. Does it look and feel like love? Or is it far more in the vein of agitation, anger, a biting comment, a rough glare?
It comes as no surprise that in the Apostle Paul’s definition of love, the first descriptor is “patient.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
In Three Mile an Hour God, the late Japanese theologian Kosuke Koyama said it this way:
God walks “slowly” because he is love. If he is not love he would have gone much faster. Love has its speed. It is an inner speed. It is a spiritual speed. It is a different kind of speed from the technological speed to which we are accustomed. It is “slow” yet it is lord over all other speeds since it is the speed of love.
2 Peter 3:8-9 NLT But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
1 John 4:7, 9-10 NLT Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
There’s a reason people talk about “walking with God,” not “running with God.” It’s because God is love.
Love is the highest value in the kingdom economy, but it’s not the only value. The triumvirate of love, joy and peace show up again and again in Jesus’ teachings, and the writings of Paul. They are the core reality we aim at in our spiritual journey with Jesus.
All three are more than just emotions, they are overall conditions of the heart. They aren’t just pleasant feelings; they are the kinds of people we become through our apprenticeship to Jesus, who embodies all three ad infinitum.
And joy, like love, is incompatible with hurry.
All the spiritual masters – from inside and outside the Jesus tradition – agree on this (as do secular psychologists, mindfulness experts, etc.): if there’s a secret to happiness, it’s simple—presence to the moment. The more present we are to the now, the more grateful we are for what is, the more we tap into joy.
We often vow to give God “our future” with great aplomb and a heroic virtue. But the future is easy to give God for the simple fact that we don’t have it.
All we have is the present. The here and now. This moment, this pain, this joy, this gratitude, this surrender.
Philippians 4:4-9 NLT And the more moments we slowly and gratefully turn over to God, the more we tap into his joy.
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
It’s fairly obvious that peace is incompatible with hurry.
If you don’t believe me, next time you’re running late to “catch” a flight, or ten minutes late for an appointment, or overdue on an assignment, take an interior inventory and see if you feel the deep shalom of God in your soul. Do you sense a grounded, present sense of calm? Or something else?
And yet: we continue to cram more and more in to our already overfull lives, forcing us to speed up to a frenetic pace, and rarely slow down long enough to experience God’s peace. Of course, not all busyness is bad. There’s a kind of busyness that means you’re not wasting your precious life on trivial things. The problem isn’t having a lot to do, it’s having too much to do, where the only way to cram it all in is to kick into hurry gear, and as a tragic result, slip out of love, joy, and peace.
In our culture slow is a pejorative. When somebody has low IQ, we dub them slow. When the service at a restaurant is lousy, we call it slow. When a movie is boring, again, we complain that it’s slow. Case in point, Merriam-Webster: “mentally dull: stupid: naturally inert or sluggish: lacking in readiness, promptness, or willingness.”
The message is clear: slow is bad, fast is good.
But in the upside-down kingdom, our value system is turned on its head: hurry is of the devil; slow is of Jesus, because Jesus is what love, joy and peace look like in flesh and blood.
John 14:27 NLT “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
Take My Yoke
Jesus regularly invited people to follow him. Normally, his invitation sounded something like, “Whoever wants to be my apprentice, must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow after me.” But in another famous iteration on his well-known invitation, Jesus appealed to all the tired, weary, and burned out, and simply said, “Come, find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:29-30 NLT Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Jesus’ open invite is to a life of rest, not just for our bodies – we can get that from a doctor or a pill – but at a far deeper level, for our souls.
And yet, his imagery of an “easy yoke” is a bit odd. Far removed from an agrarian economy, we forget that a yoke is a tool for work; it was used to harness oxen together to plow a field. That sounds like the last thing a burned-out worker needs – the tired among us don’t want a yoke, we want a vacation!
But Jesus is wise beyond comprehension; he gets – better than we often do – that life is an unending series of burdens. There’s no way around the weight of responsibility that is life this side of resurrection. What we need isn’t an escape from that weight, but a way to carry it with ease and joy. That’s what Jesus offers – a way to carry the weight of life with a straight back and smile on your face.
In the way of Jesus, Sabbath is a 24-hour practice of restful worship. There are Sabbath moments all through each day. Little opportunities to slow down, and rest under Jesus’ easy yoke. To un-hurry to the life that’s waiting for all of us in him.
Hebrews 4:1-11 NLT God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God. For only we who believe can enter his rest. As for the others, God said, “In my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest,’” even though this rest has been ready since he made the world. We know it is ready because of the place in the Scriptures where it mentions the seventh day: “On the seventh day God rested from all his work.” But in the other passage God said, “They will never enter my place of rest.” So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted: “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts.” Now if Joshua had succeeded in giving them this rest, God would not have spoken about another day of rest still to come. So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.