Saturday, July 2, 2011

RESTING IN HIM by LaTawnia Kintz

“I will rest in You
 I will rest in You
 Not just when this race is over
 but in these earthly moments too
I will rest in You”*

These are the words in a song that I listen to frequently, especially when I am feeling hectic and stressed out. They remind me of the words spoken by Paul in his second letter to Timothy.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” [2 Timothy 2:7 NKJV]

How do we find rest in Jesus when everything seems out of control? It’s easy for us to say we’ll finally have rest when this race is over, but having that rest now is another thing. Or is it?

Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” [John 16:33 NKJV]

When I find myself actually trusting and believing in all that my Savior has said to me in His Word and in my heart, I am at rest in Him. When I start to doubt Him or focus on my circumstances instead of Him then I am no longer resting in Him or His promises.

I think of my brothers and sisters being persecuted for their faith in Christ Jesus. Are they resting in Him today?

One Vietnam pastor, after spending three months in solitary confinement said, “I would not trade this time for the world. It was the sweetest time I have ever had with Jesus.”

“Daniel,” a Chinese Christian said, “We always say, ‘Follow in the steps of the apostles.’ Where are their steps? In difficulties, in persecution.”

And a dear Christian in Bangladesh says, “They can burn down my house, but they can’t burn Jesus from my heart.”

How do we enter His rest that is exemplified by these dear saints of God? We enter it by ceasing from our own works. Does that mean we stop providing for our family and quit our jobs? No! Does it mean we stop showing the love of Christ to those around us? Or does it mean we try to figure out how to fix our problems in our own strength and wisdom? Again, no!

What it does mean is we stop striving to win the love of God by our works and instead believe that He loved us enough to die for our sins so we could have a right relationship with Him. We can then rest in the promise that no one can snatch us out of His hand. [John 10:28] It means we trust in Him with all our heart, mind and soul and don't lean on our own wisdom. If we will allow Him to be Lord of our whole life (that means in every area) He will direct our paths. [Proverbs 3:5-6]

Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” [Matthew 11: 28-29 NKJV]

Jesus wasn’t telling those who do hard, physical work to stop. He wasn’t talking about the type of work that keeps a roof over the head of our families. Rather, He is referring to our struggle in trying to earn our way into heaven. There are those who tell us the only way to heaven is to do so much penance here. Or repeat certain phrases for a number of times, or perform so many tasks and even “give” so much money.

Those things will not give anyone rest but they will increase the heavy load that we already carry due to our own sinful nature.

Therefore, when we lay those rituals and rites down at the feet of Jesus, along with all of the sins we carry, and we pick up His yoke [cross] and follow Him, we will find rest for our souls.

King David had a clear picture of resting in Jesus when he wrote the 23rd Psalm. He knew the Lord was not just a shepherd but his Great Shepherd. He knew by following the Lord he would be lead to green pastures and still waters and the Lord would restore him. He knew what it was to rest in Him in the presence of his enemies. He knew the Lord would sustain him.

Christian history is filled with brothers and sisters of Christ who laid down their earthly cares and carried the cross of Christ to all who would receive it. Currently dear saints of Jesus are choosing between their personal lives and a life filled with Christ and resting in His promises.

How do they do that? They do it by believing in the promises of the Lord. He tells us that He is preparing a place for us and that He is going to return for us. We can believe that because He has fulfilled every other promise.

So we can have rest in Him as long as we hold onto His promises and trust Him. We can have peace and be of good cheer; because our Savior has overcome the world. Amen.

*Celtic Cry The Heart of A Martyr CD 

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