Monday, January 27, 2014

Strive to Rest



Hebrews 4:11  We should do our best to enter that place of rest, so that none of us will disobey and miss going there, as they did.

Many times I find rest in the finished work of Christ but there are times...even after a sermon somewhere that seem to leave me with the feeling, you are not doing enough. You will never do enough. You will never be able to please God. You are never going to be able to get yourself fixed, together. When you look at you, you always come up lacking, short, something that needs changing. Am I truly valuable? Do I have worth? Why am I still struggling with the same sins? What is wrong with me?

This is contrary to the gospel...the gospel says, Jesus said, "it is finished". It says, He loves you just as you are. Not that He loves you too much to let you stay that way but that it is truly already done in Christ. If you never changed God would always be pleased with you. He loves you unconditionally. That means you cannot earn it or make it any more so. It is completely done in the eyes of God. When the Father looks at you He sees you finished because of Jesus Spirit living in you.

Do you find it hard to just do something that doesn't produce something and enjoy God and reconnect with yourself? Who you truly are in Him, loved, forgiven, completely righteous or do you hear the words already but not yet. If you died today you would look Jesus face to face and be just like him. I find it hard to do something just to enjoy God. I think I must do something to produce something of value, like better health, clean house, a product, or do something for someone, ministry. But just to draw something or color something, just enjoy music that is good for nothing but fun and loving being with God. Even my husband who goes fishing catches fish. We always look for something produced. 

This tells me I am not at rest during these times. That I am not seated in the heavens with Jesus at the right hand of the Father just enjoying Him. Sometimes I just like to pretend I am having a picnic with Jesus, flying a kite or dancing. I use to do it with a broom and just pretend I am in the presence of Jesus or the Father just delighting myself in their company and love. Just loving Him for Him. Not for what He has done for me, which is much, but just because He is awesome and my Dad.

This kind of thinking that I cannot measure up keeps me from changing. When the enemy even says, yes you are enough you don't need to change. You don't need to do anything. Just stay as you are or there is no need to change. Just be satisfied with you now and don't strive for holiness. You'll never arrive anyway. Just stay as you are with no change.  Brokenness is beautiful.  It is a place of grace.  But Jesus died to make us whole, to make us holy.  We are to strive to love more, to find a place of rest.  I think of a caterpillar in a cocoon.  From the outside it looks like nothing is happening, there is rest.  But in the inside there is a miracle going on.  There is being made a beautiful butterfly.  This is a picture of the beauty Christ is doing in us even in our struggles.

We may need to strive to resist the lies of you don't and can't measure up, you are not worth anything, you don't need to strive to rest, just quit.   Don't give up, persevere in doing good, in making peace, in dying to self, in laying down your life, in forgiving 70 times 7 as you are forgiven.  Great is your reward.  I think that reward is the peace, love and presence of God in you that has been given solely on the merit of grace.  We just have to get ourselves in a place of receiving it.  In knowing Jesus did it all then our life changes, we change and we have the peace that passes all understanding.

True rest brings rest and enjoyment but when we are in the presence of God we are changed from the inside out. It is not something we do but cooperate with what God is doing. He is loving us so we can first enjoy that love but then before we even realize it or think what we are doing we are humbling ourselves and loving others in ways we never thought possible. We are doing things we never thought possible. We are admitting we are wrong. We are finding good in other people. We are more interested in giving than what others can do for us. We look for opportunities to give others Jesus in their brokenness and pain. We pray from the heart of compassion and love like we know it is not of us but of Jesus living and loving through us to others. There is change but it is not out of a deficiency but out of an abundance. It is not a labor but a joyful resting and enjoyment and pleasure beyond anything we have ever know. We feel we may burst if we don't pass on this love that is so overflowing within us, we must give it away.

We are told we are to strive sometimes to rest. To me this striving is a believing. Believing Jesus is enough and He did it all for us and we are already whole in His sight.  We are to ask for faith. We are to believe and trust to rest. We trust Him with even the hardest of circumstances and people in our lives.  We trust Him with us.  So the desperate find rest. The desperate find Jesus. Or rather Jesus finds them and sets their hearts at rest. It is the day of rest but this is just a picture of what the Lord wants for our hearts. To give up the labor but strive to rest, to believe.