The Balance of Perseverance and Rest
“When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies, the statutes, and the judgments which the LORD our God has commanded you?’ then you shall say to your son: … the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day. Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the LORD our God, as He has commanded us.’” Deuteronomy 6:20-21, 24-25
A disciplined life is what Moses was talking about in the passage above. To live a life that stays within God’s prescribed commandments requires personal discipline. To live in the fear of the Lord and keep His name honored and holy within the context of our lives requires personal discipline. To stand against the world and choose to follow the narrow path of the Lord instead of the wide path that leads to destruction requires personal discipline. To be consistent in seeking God and His ways above the natural ways of man requires personal discipline. And personal discipline over the long haul is what trains and equips each of us to persevere as long as God calls us to live for Him.
King David is known in the bible as man after God’s own heart, and there are many instances in his life where he did persevere for God and for God’s glory, but David’s human frailty was not beyond reproach. Now, in David’s defense, he was not a man who looked for ways to over step God’s commands, yet David had limits regarding the amount of perseverance he could maintain before he needed to rest – we all do. Unfortunately for David, as is also the case with many of us, weariness was a doorway for sin to enter his life. Read the following account of how it all played out in King David’s life:
“It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants…But David remained at Jerusalem. Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed …And from the roof he saw a woman bathing…Then David sent messengers, and took her… and he lay with her…And the woman conceived… David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. And he wrote in the letter, saying, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die… When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband. 27 And when her mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.” 1 Samuel 11: 1, 2-5, 14, 15, 26, 27
You may be thinking: “If David couldn’t even discern the difference between when his rest should have ended and his persevering should have started, then how can I?” Well it is possible, and not only possible but maintainable. The key to maintaining a balance between perseverance and rest is being able to, by the gift of the Holy Spirit; hear God speak into your life and then following His calling. The concept is simple, but the discipline required to seek God before all things in your life is one that takes lots of practice and which no one perfects over a lifetime.
But be encouraged because God is with you all of the way and He knows each of us and our weaknesses. If you are feeling weary today and are tempted to stray from the narrow path, remember that some stops along the way are necessary. But also remember that stops which persist too long can also lead to temptation. If you are finding yourself fatigued, ask God to show you a place you can find rest in Him today, but if you have been enjoying some rest for a time and you have found yourself starting to think about paths other than the one set before you then ask God where your steps need to go next and then commit to following the path that is laid before you.