“To please God… to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness… to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son- it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is.”- C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
One year, I fasted a total of 120 days. At one point, my wife came to me and said that she wanted me to live a long life. But I needed to eat. She asked why I was fasting. I realized that I had to work through my own self-righteousness. I had erroneously thought that if I fasted enough God would do something. I’m all for fasting and prayer. But I don’t do it to make God love me. I do works because God loves me. God doesn’t love you, bless you and favor you because you are so good. God loves you, blesses you and favors you because he’s so good. That’s it.
And then we are to live out of that goodness.
Moses represented the law. The law was given to show us God’s rest. But it can’t give you God’s rest. It can show you God’s glory, but it can’t give you God’s glory. The law can’t take you anywhere. Moses couldn’t take them into the promised land. We can only have the rest we so desire when we learn to live and walk in Jesus’ love on a daily basis. When we realize that God rested because he was finished, not because he was tired — He was complete—then we can rest as well. It is finished. Christ did all the work for us. We can and must live out of his finished work.
We have to daily work to push back against the religious tendencies in our life. We should not return to a works-equal-love lifestyle. God wants us to rest in him and live a life filled with wonder and awe over what he has done for us.
“Only a fraction of the present body of professing Christians are solidly appropriating the justifying work of Christ in their lives… Many… have a theoretical commitment to this doctrine, but in their day-to-day existence they rely on their sanctification for their justification… drawing their assurance of acceptance with God from their sincerity, their past experience of conversion, their recent religious performance or the relative infrequency of their conscious, willful disobedience. Few know enough to start each day with a thoroughgoing stand upon Luther’s platform: you are accepted, looking outward in faith and claiming the wholly alien righteousness of Christ as the only ground for acceptance, relaxing in that quality of trust which will produce increasing sanctification as faith is active in love and gratitude… Much that we have interpreted as a defect of sanctification in church people is really an outgrowth of their loss of bearing with respect to justification. Christians who are no longer sure that God loves and accepts them in Jesus, apart from their present spiritual achievements, are subconsciously radically insecure persons… Their insecurity shows itself in pride, a fierce, defensive assertion of their own righteousness, and defensive criticism of others.” – Richard Lovelace, The Dynamics of Spiritual Life
Today’s word is about entering in to that “relaxing” position and trusting in God. He wants a deep relationship of trust built on the amazing grace of Jesus Christ.
Grace is Jesus plus nothing.“The gospel is grace rather than merit. The gospel is: ‘I am accepted through Christ, therefore I obey.’ Religion is: ‘I obey, therefore I am accepted.” So the gospel differs from both religion and irreligion…Disbelief in the gospel of grace, of course, keeps the unconverted from God. But a lack of deep belief in the gospel is also the main cause of spiritual deadness, fear, and pride in Christians, because our hearts continue to act on the basis of ‘I obey, therefore I am accepted.’” (Gospel Christianity)
Going back to what Paul wrote: we have the Old Testament to show God at work. When we look at how he set the Israelites free from Egypt, we see that they did nothing to get out of the bondage they were in: God did it all. It was grace that brought them out of Egypt. Grace brought them through an ocean. Grace fed them angels food. And it would have been grace that allowed them to defeat the giants in the promised land. But their faith stopped there. When they faced the giants, they didn’t think there was any grace for them to win the battle. And here we see another truth: your faith in God’s deliverance that releases God’s grace to trample the needs and difficulties in your life and to transform your life into a miraculous one.
So let me ask you: are you resting?
The only fight the Bible says to have is the fight of faith. I fight to strengthen my faith so I can rest in the reward of its rest. Fight against anything that is stealing your rest. Get out his word and see what he says he will do for you. Pray. Pray in the spirit. Live it out.
The sabbath is Jesus. Jesus is our Sabbath. Everyday is a Sabbath. Because of Jesus we are not limited to one day of rest. Yes, unplug when you can do less things one day a week. But God wants you to live in rest even when you are doing lots of things.
Rest in Jesus.