We try too much, too long, and too hard to do the work that only the Holy Spirit can do in us—this truth so well put in Lilias Trotter’s little volume, Parables of the Christ-Life:

“How long we are in grasping that we are His workmanship, [just as the wondrous, unique seed vessels of plants are. How slow] in discovering… that it is as exactly impossible by our own striving to develop the Christ-life in our hearts as to form the seed in the pod! We have not to produce out of our… nature a lowliness and a patience and a purity of our own, but simply to let the pure, patient, lowly life of Jesus have its way in us by yieldingness to it and faith in its indwelling might.

“‘All that God wants from man is opportunity.’*

“Surrender—stillness—a ready welcoming of all stripping, all loss, all that brings us low, low into the Lord’s path of humility—a cherishing of every whisper of the Spirit’s voice, every touch of the prompting that comes to quicken the hidden life within: that is the way God’s human seed-vessels ripen, and Christ becomes “magnified” even through the things that seem against us.

“‘Mine but to be still:    

Thine the glorious power,

Thine the mighty will.’”*

-I. Lilias Trotter, Parables of the Christ-life

On the other hand, how slow we also are in loosing ourselves, as we so often could, from the thorns and brambles of earth-life that impede the way of His Spirit, that crowd and choke out the Christ-life and promote in us spiritually fruitless, worthless earth-lives! (Luke 8:4-8,11-15)

“Some fell among thorns… Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.”

My Sabbath “task,” my Christmas “to-do”:

To still today,

to come aside from the thorny tangles of earth’s fretful issues and frenetic rush,

to surrender,

to “cherish every whisper of the Spirit’s voice,”

to reach toward “every touch of the prompting that comes to      quicken the hidden life within.”

“How silently, how silently, the blessed gift is given! 
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heaven.”

-Philip Brooks, “O Little Town of Bethlehem”


*Quoted passages within the text of Parables of the Christ-life. Author(s) unknown.


Linked to

Still Saturday

Recommendation Saturday

Sunday Stillness


15 thoughts on ““How Silently…”

  1. “We try too much, too long, and too hard to do the work that only the Holy Spirit can do in us”
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for that…. Revelation that stirred my spirit deeply today and fills me with joy!

    1. Barbara, I am so glad this was spirit-stirring and joy-givingfor you. It certainly was for me (to read the Trotter passage), but I really didn’t know if it would be for anyone else. What a sweet confirmation to get your comment right after I published and linked the post. And I see your latest post, about motherhood, breathes the same truth, too—one that we must not lose sight of.
      Blessings to you!

  2. Sylvia – this sums up our strivings so well – ‘We try too much, too long, and too hard to do the work that only the Holy Spirit can do in us.’

    Thank you for the gentle reminder to allow Him to do the work that He does so well … not only in our lives but in the lives of the ones around us who need His convicting/comforting/renewing touch …

    I like to remind myself on occasion that I am NOT the Holy Spirit! And get out of His way so He can step in!

  3. Sylvia, I so often wonder why I am so very stubborn, trying to do it on my own… and why I am so slow to move out of the Spirit’s way. He says “My yoke is easy, my burden is light, I will give you rest.” Don’t know why I cannot fathom the depth of that meaning.
    This post is so beautifully written and such a timely reminder for me to refocus and let go. Thank you for letting Him use you in my life today!
    I’m SO glad you linked up at Recommendation Saturday!
    Heart Hugs and a very Merry Christmas! <3 Shelly

    1. Why, Shelly? Because you’re human, flesh and blood, like all the rest of us fallen, frail, and fallible humanity! But, oh, what a wonderful loving and understanding Father we have, Who “knows our frame” and intervenes in our weakness! That’s the “whole ball of wax,” so to speak. To waste our time beating ourselves up over our mistaken fleshly efforts (as I too am so prone to do!) eclipses the settling in His presence, in His arms, that we need to do for its correction actually to happen. After all, He’s the one that “fixes” us and our thinking. (I hope you read the next comment and my reply. We’re having a fellowship conversation here…)

      And yes, Shelly, isn’t Lilias Trotter’s writing wonderful? I am so glad that someone unearthed it and got it back into print before it disappeared forever! (And that you invited me to link up to your community! Blessings, all!)

      May He now richly bless your Christmastime with a great awareness of His presence!

  4. Blessings to you my dear friend! How often I need this reminder! Both a correction and a comfort. Just as I was about to chastise myself for reverting to trying to do it myself–I stopped– chastisement is HIS job and it was clear I knew the truth today, today I needed the reminder to rest, be still. Not to beat myself up and miss a quiet time of fellowship with our heavenly Father. He knows our weaknesses indeed and uses us anyway–to HIM be the Glory…

    1. Hi, Laurie! Your thoughts are so spot on! Getting into a session of beating up on ourselves over this just continues the flesh trying to deal with the flesh! To see the comfort right there in the correction, that is surely the perception He wants us to have. May you now have a very blessed time of fellowship with Him, and may He give you further opportunity in this busy time of overload to get aside and quiet with Him and roll it all into His loving arms. Love you, sister.

  5. “Be still and know that I am God.” To stop doing, and just “be”. It is in the stillness, in the surrender of not striving, that God does His mightiest work. All for His glory, and for our best. Thank you for sharing this. Christmas blessings to you.

    1. Goodness, Nancy! I missed this comment of yours! (Don’t know how.) Very sorry. Such good words you share, too! Hope your Christmas was lovely. God’s best blessings to you in the New Year.

      1. PS to Pam: I’m sure you would also deeply appreciate the role that her art played in conveying her messages!

  6. Our desire to remake someone or “fix” their problems is futile. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. Thank you for the awesome reminder.

    1. It’s a hard lesson to learn, isn’t it, Hazel? Because its motivation is often love—but a misguided human love that believes we have the power in ourselves to “fix” them/their problems. Yes, only the Holy Spirit can do this work, and (painfully) what we must often learn better to do is (as someone above said) get out of His way!

      May your Christmas be beautifully blessed with that Spirit!

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