Thursday, October 4, 2012


Resting in God's relationship with His promises, His will and His timing surrounding me. This is a paradox. How can I rest? So much work, don't you know even Jesus says the fields are white with harvest, but the laborers are few? Aren't we to be about the Father's business?
Religion engulfs us. What can we do to make God happy? Love us? The fact of the gospel is the work is done. Jesus did it all on the cross. We accept His mercy and grace. We do service in love for Him. But that can get so twisted, can't it?
My picture for the year of the yoke, taking Jesus' upon me, is in my mind. I'm a people pleaser. I try to do my best, but lately that is falling through the cellar. Some of us raised in the church have that mindset. I need to teach, serve, participate with a smile and kind word, always. I can't ruin my reputation, my family's and then even Jesus'. Catherine Marshall wrote, "You can't ruin Jesus' reputation."
Many older saints wrestle with their inability to work for the Lord. They are laid up in bed. They can't see at night to get to church. Driving has been removed from them, and getting to church is difficult. I once told a woman who wanted to die and felt the nurses were interfering with "God's work," that she could pray for the home health aids and other workers coming into her home. I'm not sure it sunk in.
I get tired. One of those times, when the girls were younger and my mother also needed me, my Discipleship Journal issue came. DJ was a bi-monthly magazine with in depth articles focused on one theme. My sister-in-law, Kathy, introduced them to me. This one month, the theme was Rest, with a picture of empty pillows stacked invitingly. I wish I could find this picture, but I haven't. This called me finally away from performance Christianity to believing God loves me, personally. He has an interest in me. I could rest in His arms.
I'm not sure why I had the opinion of God only wanting me to work and being disappointed when I failed. My earthly father didn't model this example. He was loving and kind, understanding when we did wrong. We were disciplined, but never unfairly and always with a hug after the discipline. I always thought my dad truly showed Jesus in his actions and attitudes. I saw Jesus living in him.
The performance Christianity thrives in our rugged individualism America. I can do it! I plan and then invite God into those plans. I used to check off my half hour devotion time and feel uneasy if I didn't take that time one day. That is when the picture of the pillows flooded my heart with God's rest.
Just as holding our children while they sleep, cuddles our hearts, I realized God loves us like that. When we're done playing, He's there to cradle us. He loves us. As I could observe my girls sleep for hours, so God also watches over me, and loves to do this.
Resting, though, is not to be confused with sleep or inactivity. I cannot do anything, but not be resting in God-see my post on Martha's Heart in a Mary Body, Think of how in the middle of the night, the thoughts rush at us, the plans explode, the worries double creating little rest. Yet, how calm we can be as we go through our day serving the Lord, but waiting on Him as well. We display the fruit of the Spirit. No anxiety and no people pleasing in a Bible confident Christian. I can spend extra time with the Lord in the morning and not worry about my day. I still struggle with that at times.
I believe this is a lesson I learn over and over. I feel I have to be good, righteous. Jesus is my righteousness. I could always accept that the work on the cross covered my sins before I came to salvation, but what about the sins after that point? Wrapping my mind around the fact that all my sin is under the cross seemed impossible. How, after I know what is right and still do wrong, could He keep forgiving me? Paul addresses that in Romans. He even did what was wrong, while knowing what was right. That is the Good News. Jesus loves us. We try and the Holy Spirit lives in us to keep us triumphant, but we can't do it on our own strength. He has sent the Paraclete, the Comforter, the Helper. He is cheering us on through this life. We are not alone in living a life for God.
The secret is admitting our weakness. The secret is allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us. The secret is rest, waiting on the Lord.
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