REST: THE CORE OF CHRISTIAN STRENGTH
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Being at rest is the core of strength, in Christ as in everything else. Rest is balance; for the Marshal Arts, for physical posture, for mental stability, for spiritual strength--rest is essential. Is it any wonder that God invites his chosen to enter his rest (He. 4:9-11)?
When an army is able to draw out its enemy from a strong position, or defense, into a weakened formation, then it has gained an advantage, and may surround and destroy them. So it is with us. Satan always seeks to imbalance us, to draw us out from a place of rest and strength in Christ, so that he can gain an advantage.
When we are drawn out, that is when we experience emotions like anger, fear, doubt, lust, depression, etc. We find ourselves drawn out and drawn into sin. We don’t actually need Satan for this to happen--we are natural sinners, and there are abundant natural circumstances which may disturb our rest.
Relationships provide many of them. To keep our presence of mind when people say or do things which irritate or antagonize us, that is one of the hardest things to do. To restrain the quick tongue--that can be nearly impossible at times.
If I have The Presence within me, then I may practice the presence of mind and heart more easily. Rejoicing in Christ my Savior always--that (as we all know) is the key. But, that takes faith; a faith that goes on and develops from the point of salvation.
Deep down in my being, to feel that all is well--to unshakably know that nothing can disturb the harmony I have with Christ and the Father; to know that I need nothing more than what He gives (He who cannot be touched by the world’s calamities), whether physical, emotional, or spiritual; that is rest.
So that, when I make mistakes (or when others charge me with them); when something is taken away; when I fail to reach a goal (through no lapse of my own); when people misunderstand me or my motives, or they underrate me (according to my estimation)--none of that matters more than my place in Christ; none of it can shake my rest. That would be a profound rest! It would be a testimony; one that would speak loudly of Christ’s sufficiency and grace.
He who walked this way before, if I come to him in faith, can give me his rest. Just as He said (in Mt. 11:28-30), “Come unto me...and I will give you rest.”
It may be to the members of our own families that this testimony would mean the most. For, it is they who have had the most opportunity to witness our weaknesses. It is they whom we have so frequently offended, and who have often been the occasion for our failure to rest. It is many times “the small foxes which spoil the grapes.” So, the smallest things at home can cause turmoil all out of proportion.
I should start at home in putting to work this principle of rest. Think; “It is well with my soul” when arising and when retiring at night. Say to the Lord: “There is nothing that will happen today, Lord, that you and I together cannot handle.” Then, walk in Him.
We tend to think that rest will take care of itself; that it will just happen because we are Christians. No, it must be practiced. The Presence must be practiced--that is, sought after, continuously. Lord, let me do this today. Amen.
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Resting in the Father's love and presence is often a challenge. This is a very good piece. Have you read Practicing His Presence?
Very challenging stuff. I see the need to be at rest, but don't always manage to work out the preactical steps I need to take to get there.