THIS SERIES: HOW TO LIVE IN REST
However, that supply was dependant on their ability to obey the Law given to Moses. It was straight forward: obey the Law and receive the promises, disobey and forfeit. Simple.
Only it wasn’t. Because of the inherently sinful nature of man, no one could actually do it. Perhaps some of it, for some of the time, but not all of it for all of the time. And their story is the story of man’s attempt, and failure, to climb up to a holy God through obedience to external rules and regulations. The story of an attempt to please God through human effort; the story, in fact, of religion.
The Christian world is often no different, the rules and regulations just take a different form. A person’s spirituality is frequently measured by their attendance at church services, commitment to a church programme and the daily quiet time. Non-compliance is judged, and many burnt-out Christians drop out disappointed and disillusioned, thinking ‘It wasn’t supposed to be like this…’
And in the secular world, people may not be consciously seeking God, but they strive after advancement. Egged on by the media, there is a constant drive after perfection: perfect bodies, families, jobs, houses, cars…you name it, there is an image of perfection held up as the ultimate aspiration.
There is built into every human heart the understanding that we were made for something more, something bigger, something better. And the compulsion is to strive after it with all our human strength. And the result? Disappointment, failure, exhaustion. Or the thrill of achievement followed by the realisation that more striving is required to maintain the exalted position.
If true rest and inner peace is found in the finished work of God (see previous 2 posts), rather than our own efforts, then it is all summed up in the person of Jesus.
During the course of His life, Jesus fulfilled every requirement of God’s Law on our behalf. And in His death, He took upon Himself every one of our failures to 'hit the mark'. Every demand of the Law given to Moses, every religious requirement, every missed attempt at secular perfection has been stamped ‘paid in full’ with a blood-written signature, and our names are inscribed as inheritors. Every righteous requirement of God has already been fulfilled.
There is nothing more we need to do to gain God's favour and blessing.
Apart from one thing:
"The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent."
Believe in His day by day, moment by moment involvement in our lives. Believe in His unchanging power and glory. Believe in His all-encompassing love for us in our human frailty. Believe in His irresistible desire to transform our lives to make us like Him.
That’s the key to entering rest.
1. All change starts with an encounter, so get very quiet inside, and turn your heart towards the Lord. Ask Him to come close [James 4:8]
2. Ask Him to show every area where you have been striving to hit the mark. Lay every one before Him. (You can read more about falling short here.)
DECLARATION: I no longer have to strive, because Jesus has met every requirement on my behalf.
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