Sunday, May 9, 2010

THE SABBATH REST is SEVEN DAYS LONG

Brothers, we are all prone to working our own works to get rest.  I should know, though a confirmed Christian and dedicated evangelical by belief and participation in the churches, I spent most of a lifetime doing my own works by my own power instead of resting in Christ for His work to be done.


We know about resting in Christ for our salvation.  We are well-taught that we are saved by grace through faith, and nothing we do can earn that salvation.


But the true rest of Christ is missed by many of us.  The rest of Christ that Paul talked about, when we cease from our own works, and live lives of faith, trust and love daily, dying to self, resting in the Vine as Branches.  When we come to the place we give up all our own efforts to build, to grow, to create, to do good works of our own devising.  This is the rest of faith.  That we must not do anything at all apart from Christ.  We don't run out every day with God's blessing, while He stays home to tend the fires, then coming back in the evening or late at night and showing Him all the fine work we've done for Him, like little children home from school after getting a good grade on a test.
This isn't about us and all our cleverness, and our hard work, and our earnings, and our construction.  It is about Christ, and His cleverness, His creativity, His energy, His love, His building of the building. It is our boasting only about His power in us, and His resurrection.   It is our boasting of how weak and powerless we are, but how Christ is all, and gives us strength to do what He calls us to do.


Again, brothers, we must lay down our puny and ridiculous attempts to do things for God, and let Him do things for others through us.  Examine yourself, to see if you are truly living by faith today.  Most of the time, in my experience, being one of God's anxious, restless, worried, hard-working people, and being around others who've been trying the same dry road, it's just us.  We have gotten an idea about what it means to achieve for Christ, and we are determined to do it.  We have laid out a path, and we ask God to bless it.  


The true rest spoken of in Hebrews 4 and other passages is the rest from our own works, as God rested from His.  This is not a one-day-a-week rest, like the Sabbath was, it is a seven-day-a-week rest from doing our own work by our own efforts.  Otherwise, we are like the hypocrites and the religious Jews in Jesus' day, whom He regularly reproved for their self-efforts to do good works, instead of living by simple love, and simple faith daily.


May God grant us His rest in Christ, brothers.  May we be willing to stop our frenetic attempts to live by faith in the works of our own hands, and begin living in resting faith, saving faith, that has none of us in it.


A. Brother
May 9, 2010

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