Strive Not to Strive – Ray E Horton
“Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience” [as did the Israelites] (Hebrews 4:11 ESV).
How do we rest and strive at the same time? That doesn’t make sense in the natural, but the Living Word is spiritual, and it makes very good sense to those with the Holy Spirit once seen or explained.
The natural mind doesn’t like to rest from doing it’s own thing
Doesn’t our natural mind like to be doing and planning and succeeding, even in things for God? The natural mind doesn’t like to rest from doing it’s own thing. We rest when we are tired from working hard, but do we rest from our own good ideas?
So, it takes an effort to overcome our natural tendencies.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).
What does it mean:
- To walk according to the Spirit?
- To allow our spirits to ascend, that part of us that taps into the Holy Spirit,rather than our flesh?
“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s Word, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you” (Romans 8:5-9).
How do we please God if we can’t please Him in the “realm of the flesh”?
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Why can’t we please God without exercising our faith? Because He’s a rewarder, and faith is the means by which we receive anything from God. If I rewarded my child, I wouldn’t be pleased if he or she wouldn’t take that reward.
It is about putting our trust in Jesus, receiving by faith, and not doing things our own way? That is how we rest in Him?
Is, then, the rest of God passive?
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10)
So, if we were “created for good works,” how can that be rest? It depends on the kind of works of which we are speaking. If it is those which He shows us “God prepared beforehand” – that is, from eternity past, then it is His works in and through us, and the “burden is light” (Matthew 11:30) and we can rest in it.
He has a plan for each of our lives. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). Notice that the verse says “For I know…” Since He knows the plans and thoughts He has for us, we can trust Him and don’t always have to know everything for ourselves.
We can stop scrambling to find His perfect plan for us and rest. After all, while we do have the “mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16), we also “now … see [as] in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Cor. 13:12).
He has revealed His eternal plan for us all, in which we each partake as “Ministers of Reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18 ) to bring in the lost. But, for the specific outworking of His plan in our lives, He may reveal the broad expanse, or just a step at a time, for His “Word [to us] is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).
Is resting in God passive? Clearly not, for when we give up our own agenda, He is able to speak to our hearts what He would have us do, showing us the next step for our feet, or illuminate the longer path, as well as empower us to do it with joy. He is then able to:
- Speak to our hearts what He would have us do right now, even show us parts of that plan that we may need to know.
- Empower us to do it with great “life and peace” (Romans 8:6).
What’s the alternative? It is: Doing things our own way! Trying to please God our way! This brings about the burnout that comes from man-initiated works for God that never seem to really bear much lasting fruit.
We have wonderfully been born into the times near the end, so arise out of complacency and worldly living and be glad. Giving Him the glory, be a part of all that He is doing in this age. God is accelerating His work, using His people to advance His Kingdom more than ever, bringing a mighty move of His Spirit and a Great Awakening.
So strive not to strive but rest in His faithfulness, and you will find your place in the Kingdom now, fulfilling your destiny.