Yesterday we talked about going boldly before the throne of grace. No matter what we are facing, His grace is sufficient for us (2 Cor 12:9). So if we are, by faith, are to have His grace be sufficient for our life, then we are to be dependent upon Him, not ourselves. We are to take our own selfish “wants” and lay them before His cross, and take up what He has for us. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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.” (Matt 11:28-29)
“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it…Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.” (Heb 4:1, 11) We are not struggling to earn or keep our salvation (John 6:39–40); rather, we seek to obtain our heavenly rewards (Rev 2:26–27). Jesus came so that we can have an abundant, spirit-filled life here on earth (John 10:10).
Hebrews 3 explained that Israel’s punishment—loss of their “rest” in Canaan—was due to disobedience. They failed to complete the works given to them by God (Heb 3:16–19). Lack of belief will destroy our ability to fulfill the destiny God has in store for us. God only rested from His creative work when it was complete (Gen 2:2; Heb 4:3–4). So, in order to claim our spiritual inheritance—our “rest”—we must obtain it by completing the work given to us, not for our salvation, but our rest. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:10) This means to “hold fast” to our faith (Heb 3:6), rather than succumbing to doubt and disbelief (Heb 3:12–14).
Only by being diligent, not careless, can we expect to avoid the kind of faithless disobedience which cost Israel so dearly (Ps 95:7–11). “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” (Heb 4:9-10) God intended for man to rest in Him, it was His plan for human behavior. But the first man fell from the grace in His rest, while seeking proudly to be more like God. Jesus Christ came to restore our relationship with the Lord by our faith in Him, so that we should rest in the Lord.
We all have been brainwashed since birth with a false concept of the basis of human activity. We have been sold on the satanic lie that we have in ourselves what it takes to be what we want to be, to be a man, a woman, to achieve whatever we desire to be. We are sure we have what it takes, or, if we do not have it now, we know where we can get it. We can educate ourselves, we can acquire more information, we can develop new skills, and when we get this done we shall have what it takes to be what we want to be.
We do not have what it takes, and we never did. The only one who can live the Christian life is Jesus Christ. He proposes to reproduce His life in us. Our part is to expose every situation to His life in us, and, by that means, depending upon Him and not upon ourselves. We are to meet every situation, enter into every circumstance, and perform every activity with dependence on our Lord, cease from our own labors, and walk in what He has planned for us. “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” (Col 2:6).
This is the way we began the Christian life; we came to the end of ourselves, realizing we can’t be good enough to get into heaven. As we have received Him, dependent on His death on the cross and His resurrection overcoming death, so we are to live in dependence upon His life in us to do all things through us. We are to step out upon that, and if we do He promises us His wonderful rest! Relief, release, no longer worrying, fretting, straining, for we are resting upon One who is wholly adequate to do through us everything that needs to be done because His grace is sufficient for us, and His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor 12:9).
He does not turn us into robots. He works through our thinking, our feeling and our reasoning, but our dependence must be upon Him. And then in our dependence on Him, we put our feet to our faith and do what He tells us to do. I confess that this is one of my struggles, to make certain that I don’t start “doing” before I’ve received a word from Him as to what I should be doing. Activity for activity’s sake isn’t what we’re called to do. He has prepared good works that I should walk in. I must stay on the vine so that I recognize what He has planned for me, and that I’m not taking up something He doesn’t intend for me to do. We tend to get tired in doing good works, because we aren’t doing what He wants and equips us to do. Do I affirm the all-sufficiency of Christ Jesus our Lord in my consistent reliance upon His Presence, power and direction?
The lyrics of the song Enter The Rest of God speak to my struggle: “Are you tired, worn out and empty? Is your soul weary? Have you tried releasing your burdens? Do you feel the weight of worry? I am the rest you need. I am the Prince of Peace. Enter the rest of God. Come to Me. Burdens will fly away. Walk with Me; Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. Come to Me. Burdens will fly away. Walk with Me.”
Lord, thank You for setting me free from the bondage of toiling in works. I rejoice that there is a rest remaining into which I can enter. Grant that I will so that I operate in Your power and rest, because You have promised to thoroughly equip me for every good work You have for me. Lord, teach me to know the difference between the work I choose for myself, and that which You have for me. In the precious name of Jesus, amen.