Learning to Sit
When we walk or stand we bear on our legs all the weight of our own body, but when we sit down our entire weight rests upon the chair or couch on which we sit. We grow weary when we walk or stand, but we feel rested when we have sat down for a while. In walking or standing we expend a great deal of energy, but when we are seated we relax at once, because the strain no longer falls upon our muscles and nerves but upon something outside of ourselves. So also in the spiritual realm, to sit down is simply to rest our whole weight— our load, ourselves, our future, everything—upon the Lord. We let him bear the responsibility and cease to carry it ourselves.
Watchman Nee, Sit, Walk, Stand
When I first picked this book up, it was revolutionary to me. If you haven’t read it, it’s worth your $5.99. It might possibly change your entire perspective and approach to faith. It changed mine.
Nee’s thesis in Sit, Walk, Stand, which is a brief overview of the book of Ephesians, is that so often we go about our faith in a backwards sort of way. We practice our faith the way we do life. In the west (especially the US), our minds are trained from a young age to work for a reward. To be given honor without having earned it seems backwards to us.
William Shakespeare, in his play The Merry Wives of Windsor, makes the statement: “Why then the world’s mine oyster/Which I with sword will open.” Am I just to pry open what I want at the tip of a sword? Do I really need to go out and take hold of life and press it into a mold of my own making? Or is it possible that there’s a better way? Nee would say there is a better, more legitimate, way.
Sit first. Relax. When Jesus saved you, did you have to work for it? (answer: Ephesians 2:8-9). Our life with Jesus begins through faith, not works. Ephesians says that we are “seated with [Jesus] in the heavenly places.” Before anything else happens, he gives us the Catbird Seat.
What is the Catbird Seat? It’s the best seat in the house. It’s next to Jesus, and it’s where everything else begins. It’s from this place of rest, this place of identifying with Jesus that we begin. Have a seat in your chair next to Jesus, enjoy him, trust in his acceptance of you. Stop striving. Just stop and recognize how secure your place is with him. He has given it to you. It’s not a wage. It’s not being lazy, it’s recognizing who inspires our works and letting him inspire us with his presence.
It’s from that place of rest with him that our strength to serve God finds its initiation. It’s from this position of authority that demons are cast out, and the sick healed. It’s not working toward a payoff, because the payoff is in the seat you’ve been given. Rather, it’s the love and acceptance of Jesus which inspires us to get out of our chair.
What about taking hold of life? I’ve always found it so much more simple when God opens the doors for me. Things are natural, unforced. I don’t have to struggle to make things happen.
I named this blog Sitting in the Catbird Seat because it’s about my journey through life. It’s about learning to sit in the presence of Jesus. It’s about learning to trust and follow.