Monday, February 8, 2010

Rest for Your Soul

I was recently having a conversation with a friend wherein we were talking about those moments in life when our shortcomings become glaringly obvious. Not a particularly comfortable place to find yourself and yet a moment containing a treasure. The comment was made that, "Boy, I have a lot of work to do!" It lingered in my mind and didn't ring entirely true so I had to give it some thought.

The idea of "having a lot of work to do" echos a bit of a philosophy of self-help, of I-can-do-it-if-I-try-hard-enough. However, I wonder if growing in God is like losing that after-Christmas weight? Can it be done if we follow Ten Steps to Becoming a More Mature Christian? Can we, by the strength of our own efforts and striving, overcome sin? Jesus said, "Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?" (Matthew 6:27) This verse is in the context of concern about natural needs, but perhaps it can be applied to our spiritual growth too. Can we, by our own efforts, add an inch to our spiritual stature?

What should our response be when we come face to face with the reality that we have some spiritual growing up to do? We definitely have choices to make. We can blame things on others or humble ourselves in repentance. We can choose to pick up our Bibles rather drown our discomfort in a novel, television show or shopping spree. We can make a commitment to spend more quiet time alone with Him. There are definitely choices we can make that will contribute to our growth. All these steps lead to the same place: an intimate relationship with our Savior. Therein lies our hope! In relationship with Him, light shines into the dark places of our hearts and reveals the root of things. We become acquainted with the sound of His still, small voice (I Kings 19:12) that can stop us from saying or doing things that we shouldn't. It is His Spirit in us that gives us "the desire and the power to do what pleases him." (Philippians 2:13)

Not long ago I was feeling overwhelmed by awareness of spiritual need in my life and knew that others were aware of it too. Shame and accusation were alternately whispering and shouting at me. I was definitely feeling discouraged when I came across a verse in Isaiah 46: "I will be your God throughout your lifetime--until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you." (verse 4) He made me. He cares for me. He will carry me and save me. He will complete the good work that He started in me. (Philippians 1:6) In that moment I found peace. Turns out that I didn't "have a lot of work to do" so much as I just needed to get close to my Papa who has invested everything into completing the work He began in me.

Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you.
Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy to bear,

and the burden I give you is light."
Matthew 11:28-30


  1. I think your point was exactly what your friend meant. ;) It takes "work" (commitment, desire, determination to overcome distractions) to seek God -- who will then complete His work within each of us. It also takes "work" (dedication to becoming more Christ-like and to actually go through the processes of repentance, forgiveness and turning away from sin) to make the commitment to allow God to heal us.

    I agree, God will complete the good work he has started in me. I just need to seek it and obey.


  2. Michelle, I just love reading your Blogs... I have often thought of this as well, as Paul said..."For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want". So yes we struggle, because in the struggle we have to choose. That is the "work" -- to choose.

    God knows this- he knows the desire of our hearts. He knows everything about us - our every thought our every secret thing.. He will be the God for all of our life time--through all of it -the times when we feel close to him and even when we don't- that does not sound like a God that is going anywhere..." I will never leave you or forsake you". I take that to mean NO MATTER WHAT.

    But he also said as you pointed out--He has gentle heart...and I believe he is gentle with OUR hearts - and the fact dear sister, that you have this deep desire to please him.. well I believe that makes God smile ..

    because he loves you oh how he loves you.....