Monday, February 7, 2011

Study to Be Quiet

A thought that has hung on in my mind since reading I Thessalonians was from chapter 4 verse 11:  "And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you."

I've always thought it interesting that the Bible tells us to "study to be quiet."  I know there are many times in my life that I should have just kept my mouth shut. . .but how do I study being quiet?  Is there a book about it?  Do I just watch quiet people?  Do I sit for hours and try to not say anything? I guess that is a question that I have asked the Lord to give me an answer to over and over again.

Through years of praying, pondering, and listening to preaching, I have come to a few conclusions about studying to be quiet.

Whenever I ponder a verse, I begin by looking up all of the words in the dictionary, as well as in Strongs' Concordance.  Here is my rendition of what those books say about the word "quiet":  tranquil; free of commotion, disturbance, anxiety, tension, and/or restlessness; steady; even; not running hither and thither; v. to lower the spirit of one who is angry.  Reading through those items gives me quite a chunk to chew on.  If I am a truly quiet person, I am known by others as being tranquil, steady, and able to successfully calm those who are angry.

When I think of someone who is tranquil, I think of a dorm supervisor in college who had an area of her room devoted to warm drinks.  She could often be seen working on something or talking to someone while sipping a hot drink - apparently I equate hot drinks with tranquility.   Maybe we could translate it to someone who takes time to make sure their own spirit is calm, then uses that calm spirit to help others.

When I think of someone who is steady, I think of a preacher I had who illustrated the word steady by using a graph.  In life, we all have highs and lows.  An unsteady person's highs and lows are extreme.  So high one moment at good news (I imagine someone shouting and jumping up and down). . .and so low at the next moment with bad news (then I see them in a dark room on a couch with a box of cookies in hand).  A steady person also has highs and lows; however, the highs and lows are so close to the line that runs through the middle of the graph that those on the outside don't even realize there are highs and lows.

In I Peter 3:4, the Bible says that having a "meek and quiet spirit" is an ornament.  It adds to us to make us more beautiful.  Whenever I think of the people in my life who had quiet spirits, I do feel that it was like an ornament about them.  It made them more beautiful.  It made them more attractive.

I am still working on being quiet as the Bible describes it, and I know it is a lesson that will probably take my whole life to learn.  I do believe, however, that it is a worthwhile goal that will be very beneficial to myself and my family as time goes by.

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