Trying doesn’t really help
I have spent a lot of time in my Christian life on this earth trying to be a good Christian. And it either hasn’t really worked well or it has brought disappointing experiences into my life.
Trust not rectitude
Our real task in this life is to trust God and obey the Lord, as the hymn proclaims. Both are much more restful than legalistic living.
Rest for your souls
Jesus said, as recorded in Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Are our efforts off?
Has your Christian walk provided you with rest for your soul lately? If not, maybe we have been missing something. Maybe our efforts to please God or impress our fellow believers are have been misguided and just plain off.
Rules and Rituals
When Jesus came the first time in bodily form to this earth he found that His people were trying to live according to the dictates of a very religious system, with rules and rituals aplenty, a decidedly legalistic system. And you know what? All that they were doing, for the most part, didn’t seem to impress or please the Lord Jesus, did it? How did they get so far off?
Formulas and Traditions
I’ve read church history about a number of moves of God. I’ve even experienced a few. People seek God sincerely, and God pours out His Spirit on them, and wonderful things happen. Then as time goes by, men begin to think they can find formulas to keep “the blessing” going, or some leaders find that they can work things just right and build some local churches then make a living off of the movement. Traditions are formed then entrenched, and we’re left with a hallow shell without much substance in it. Religion just isn’t restful.
What is this Rest…
that Jesus spoke of? The rest that awaits us is mentioned in several key spots in Scripture and a lot in Hebrews. Let’s take a peek at a few verses in Hebrews Chapter 4…
“Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.” (verse 1)
That’s something to be concerned about. God has promised rest, but is possible to stop short of actually finding it.
“So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.” (verses 9-10)
Notice that this rest does not apparently depend on doing a lot of good works to try to please God or gain a reputation at your local church. No, it involves resting from our works.
Now skip to the end of that chapter…
“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.” (verse 16)
It’s a Rest that Trusts God
We please God by believing in Him and that He will reward us for seeking Him (Heb. 11:6). It’s not struggle God is after. It’s not legalistic living or even ritual really that He wants. What He really wants us to do is to live our lives loving Him and trusting Him. We please him and find His rest by drawing near to Him.
A Way to Connect with God
Jesus came to inaugurate a living way for all of us who believe, direct access into the very presence of God (Heb. 10:20). So that we could approach God in prayer when we need His help, His enabling grace. That’s the best thing we can do for God and for ourselves and our fellow human beings. Everything good flows from a life of trust in God.
This is Rest
It is trust in Him, not in ourselves or our church membership or our good deeds or whichever famous Christian leader we know or follow.
Jesus didn’t walk around worrying about whether He was a good person or not. He didn’t seek to please the religious leaders of His day, nor did he obey their traditions. He lived a life of absolute trust in God His Father, and so should we.
That is the true pathway to peace and rest.