Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Strive For Rest


"So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.Hebrews 4:9-11

In our culture of "build your self esteem!" "You can be all you want to be!" "Shoot for the stars!", we often miss that in all of our planning and dreaming we are striving for the wrong thing. Dreams, goals, accomplishments, these are gifts of God. But when the end goal does not line up with God's plans and His word, we miss the mark and we end up exhausted---running on a hamster wheel that never ends up anywhere and we wonder why. 

We always seem to strive when we encounter any obstacle in life, but often God begins to work when we begin to take our hands off of a situation. He wants to show us His ways and His power and often we block God out ourselves by trying to take His place. How can He fully work when it is our own self that is stopping Him? Then we wonder and ask ourselves where God is and it is a cycle that we have to break.

Our manipulating a situation, trying desperately to turn it into what we want, often ends up a fruitless activity, we end up frustrated and having made ourselves sick.

God tells us strive to enter my rest. Enter my arms, the work is finished. I have already completed it. You don't write your story, I write it. I am the author of your story. You aren't in charge, I am. You aren't God. In all your constant, blind striving you are trying to be the great I AM. You are not a god, I am the great Yahweh! In your constant striving you are sinning because you are failing to trust me and allow me to be God and you fall into disobedience.

Jesus finished the work for us on the cross, He strove to finish it so we don't have to. Let this truth be cemented into our souls. We can enter peace and rest without a whip at our backs, because the work is already complete!

Of course this is a much different truth than what we have absorbed all of our lives, but the truth is God has a much different view of accomplishments than we do, and this should come as no surprise. The Bible is our plumb line for any situation in life, and our thoughts, situations, problems, dreams, goals, all need to be measured against God's truth.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD." Isaiah 55:8
 So much effort is put into striving for the outward things. Educations, cars, houses, finances. Where is the work on our inner soul? When God looks at us He does not see our possessions. He sees the inner life, the thought life, the soul. It is not very well taught that we are to develop the soul and thought life in a rich and deep way. We are to put MORE effort into these things than the outer things. And a funny thing happens when we pursue God with our whole being---we begin to enter into His rest. He blesses us with this because He sees us pursuing the thing that is best.

Jesus tells us that the ONE thing we are to be concerned about, is resting at His feet and it will never be taken away! All we strive for in our own human efforts will someday vanish. How important is it then that we learn what is truly important?

 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”  But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10:38-42

When we stop striving in our own blind ambition, be begin to see. Our eyes and hearts are open and we see Jesus. In that place of peace and rest is where God begins to open doors and we see His power and love. God knows our hearts, our goals, He is the author of our life! Who loves us more than Him and who wants us to fulfill His purposes more than Himself? So He asks us to enter His rest, so He can accomplish through us more than we ever thought possible and more than we will ever "achieve" through our own aimless striving.

 "Many in this life care little for the service of God and their lives end up in futility. They perish through their own ambition because they choose to be famous rather than humble. The truly great are humble in mind, and consider public acclimation to be worthless. In order to find Christ, the truly wise consider all earthly things to be rubbish. The really wise surrender their own wills to the will of God." Thomas Kempis

 Let our main goal be to know God and allow Him to mold us into one of the "really wise",  and enter His wonderful rest, that we may not spiritually perish through our own earthly ambition.

Be still, and know that I am God:
I will be exalted among the heathen,
I will be exalted in the earth.  Psalm 46:10

Be still and enter His wonderful place of rest.  If you aim for one thing may it be for His peace that passes all understanding. (Philippians 4:7)



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