Does Striving Bring Rest?
Lie #2 – “I will find true rest when I get more spiritually mature and learn to apply God’s word better in my life.”
Once you start digging into scripture, it doesn’t take long to disprove the lie we are covering today, but for some reason it is still a lie that is so widely believed. Listen to what Romans 3:19-20 says in opposition to lie #2:
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says [so] every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in [God’s] sight, for [the purpose of] the law is to acknowledge sin.
AND, if you go back 9 verses to see what the author of Romans prefaced these verses with, and cross-reference the Old Testament scriptures that imitate what I have printed for you below, the reasoning the author got to above lines itself up so perfectly.
“ There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.”
In essence, the scriptures above tell us very plainly that any of our deeds done, even to the letter of the law, will not make us better and will not bring peace into our lives. Not one person will be “declared innocent/righteous” because they keep the law or even try to do everything right. In all actuality, the pursuing of perfection in our lives only leads us into a state of burn-out.
The purpose of the law is to do the exact opposite of what lie #2 states and it is a very sneaky deception. The intent of the law is to point out our sinfulness, our depravity, and ultimately - our need for a Savior. It is for this reason that later on in Romans, in chapter 4 verse16 it states that grace is given as a result of faith instead of following the law to perfection – because being lawful is impossible for any of us to do. If you want to look into more of what Jesus had to say about this subject, just look through the gospels and see His very critical words directed towards the scribes and Pharisees.
What I really want to prove here using scripture, while dispelling the lie that earned righteousness equals rest, is that no action of our own can justify us and bring peace to our souls. It is only by faith according to grace in which we can find ourselves justified. That is, when we realize it is not by our works, but only by the work done by Jesus on the cross, that rest from our striving can be found.
I think Romans 5: 1-2 does a really good job of making this final transition between the relationship between faith and true rest. Look at this: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
This word “peace” could also be translated from the Greek into rest – “rest with God” in context. And therefore this scripture teaches us that true rest is the product of God’s grace which comes through our faith. And because faith is basically trusting in God – then rest really comes when we can trust in God to make everything work out and stop trying with our own limited power to do what only God can do.
Personally I find it amazing that whenever I feel my faith has reached a level I consider quite adequate, God always seems to allow a circumstance into my life that shows me otherwise.
As I told you yesterday, I am going to continue using the story about our house sale as we go through the truths we are uncovering this week. So, here is how I saw God combat lie #2 as we followed His lead in moving us.
During the 11 months our house was on the market, which I talked about yesterday, there were many days when the weary job of cleaning again and again for house showings really got to me. The times when it was especially difficult was when we would find out that after cleaning for 4 hours the people who had scheduled did not even step foot in our door. They often would just get to the driveway, and the noise of the traffic from a nearby highway would be enough to deter them from even seeing the inside of our home. It was on those nights that I often found myself in tears, kneeling by my bed and begging God to give me more faith and trust in Him. I needed to trust more and more that His promises would be fulfilled and it would be worth the price He was asking me to pay as I lived obediently in the dark of not knowing what the future held.
Wherever you find yourself today, remember that faith and trust in God is the beginning of rest. And if you catch yourself striving to get something done and you have no peace in where things are going, take a break and pray. Seek God and be open to His leading about what you are trying to do out of your own ambition verses what you have left in His hands so that His power can work through you.