Sunday, February 7, 2010

Rest

(Mat 11:28) Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.


I have found myself here, weary from too much work, exhausted from not finding satisfaction in my work. I desperately need the rest that Jesus offers.

No I am not overworked, far from it. Rather, I am too often trying to find the answers to my problems in my own strength and wisdom, and too seldom looking to God to show me the way I need to go.

In the parable of the soils, Jesus spoke of the seed that was sown among thorns. This is where I often find myself. The main problem is that it takes me so long to realize that this is where I am. I become anxious about many things before I know what is happening. And suddenly I am depressed or discouraged and feeling hopeless.

There are so many things that can bring us out of rest; finances, relationships, health, and the list is endless. The really amazing thing is that all of the reasons go back to a lack of belief in God’s love and provision.

The word of God is full of strong words of encouragement to ‘trust in the Lord’. Ps. 125:1, Pr. 3:5, Nah. 1:7, I Pet. 5:7. These are just a few. But sometimes we just get neck deep in cares and troubles. At that point how do I just start trusting in the Lord? Can you will yourself in those times to trust God and just not be anxious? I can’t!

What can we do? Once again the answer is simple and plain. You have heard it many times if you have spent any time on this way. Psalms 119 is full of encouragement that will help give us the right answer. Psalms 1 is also a great help.

:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Psalm 1:1-3

The word of God is the answer that has been the help that I have needed, the help that has truly been a help. Recently I picked up a tape at a truck stop entitled ‘Protection from Backsliding’. The brother, who shared, spoke of 3 things to do in order to not backslide. The first was start every day in the Word of God. There was no mention of how much or how little, but the encouragement was that we prayerfully soak ourselves in the words of God. I must speak very strongly about this, because I have been so unfaithful and seen the devastation of not heeding these words. If we do not soak ourselves at the beginning of every day in the Word of God we will backslide. The second strong word is that we must begin every day with personal time alone with God. And the third is that we must make every effort to share our faith with everyone we possibly can.

The reason I have written this article is, I have done so poorly here and suffered with discouragement, fear and a loss of hope, because I neglected these areas. But God gave me grace to see what I had done and gave me grace to turn to his word and communion with him. In that, he gave courage and hope.

Hebrews 4:11 says “Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

The word labor is translated in other versions as, ‘be diligent’ or ‘strive’. We need diligence, I need diligence. And many times it is a battle to be faithful. But the price of unfaithfulness is unspeakable. Verse 1 says “Let us therefore fear.” This is very serious. I know some are opposed to the word fear when it comes to the things of God, but for me I cannot water that word down. I need to fear that I will fail to enter this rest.

And finally the word unbelief at the end of verse 11 is also translated ‘disobedience.’ The more I think about it the more I see that these two words are almost synonyms. If I do not believe I will not obey.

I resolve to start every day in God’s word and with God in a time of personal intimate fellowship with God so that I may not come out of the rest that He wants me to live in. Let us pray for one another that we may be faithful.

Your brother Rick