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Topic: Rest (06/14/04)
TITLE: Resting in Jesus
By Dixie Collinson
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Sadly, there are Christians who never enjoy this rest that our savior promised. Each day is suffered in turmoil, pain, and guilt. Even sadder, it is well within their reach to enjoy that complete rest on a daily basis. But they just can’t do it. Why?
Because the choices we make determine the kind of rest we can enjoy in our relationship with God. There are those who will never make that all-consuming decision to commit totally to God and to His will. It is a constant battle of wills. “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other.”-Galatians 5:17. The flesh is on attack full speed ahead at all times. And because there are those who never make a conscious decision to live their life in total surrender to God, the battle wanes on, hotter and heavier as the days go by. They are tossed and turned by every feeling or emotion that affronts them.
The apostle Paul described his battle with the flesh. “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”- Romans 7:23-24. Paul was completely sold out to Jesus. If he had problems with self discipline, what remains in store for those who are only half hearted about their relationship to their savior and who will not fully surrender themselves to him?
Until we actively put the ‘old man’ to death, we will have no peace within ourselves. There will be no rest. We will constantly be waging war within ourselves. Should I or shouldn’t I? Can I or can’t I? The struggle will never end. We will always be trying to find ways to justify our sin and calm that torrential downfall of guilt and pain that consumes us within. It will destroy us from the inside out and lead us through a barren forest of misery.
Jesus said that if we love him, I will keep his commandments-John 14:15.Do we love Him? The great commandment tells us to love the Lord my God with our entire heart, soul, mind and strength. We are to have no other Gods. But personally, I know I do. I worship and am enslaved to my own feelings and wants. Maybe the God I acknowledge to be the supreme creator of all that exists and who has supreme sovereignty in this universe really isn’t my God at all.
I suppose it all just comes down to not really loving God. It tears me up when I start thinking like this. I lose my breath and feel heaviness in my chest that crushes me deep inside. But just because I acknowledge that God exists, that Jesus is his Son and the Bible is His word doesn’t make me a true follower. Even the demons believe these things.
If I am to ever rest in Christ, I must make up my mind to make Him the Lord of my life in every area. I can’t keep one little secret place under my own control and give him everything else. He either has full control or none at all. Just as a chain is only has strong as the weakest link, my faith in God is only as strong as those little (or big) things that I refuse to surrender to Him. The old familiar invitation song goes, “I surrender all,” not “I surrender some.”
I must make a conscious choice to be obedient to Him, regardless of the consequences. It may cost me money, friends, or popularity. But I must choose to allow God to renew my mind through his word and change me into the person he wants me to be. I must determine in my heart here and now to embrace those familiar words: “Choose this day who you will serve…But as for me and my house, we (I) will serve the Lord.”-Joshua 24:15. Then, and only then, can I enjoy true rest in Jesus.