Challenging is a word that does not describe one of the biggest ideas of the New Testament. This idea is counter-intuitive. It is an oxymoron. A mystery to most North American people!
Jesus calls it resting!
Yes, it’s called resting, and this is a major key to spiritual growth and development. I am speaking of spiritual rest in the arms of Jesus, allowing him to carry out the workings of the New Covenant. We, North Americans, are entrenched in the flesh approach to success.
The flesh loves to do something, to accomplish, to achieve, to hold up its arms and shout, “I did it!” The flesh wars with the spirit, and the flesh resents Jesus getting all the glory. The flesh demands glory, even if it is to just say, “I played a role.”
In Matt. 11:28-30 we read, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
But, that’s un-American! We are a bunch of over-achievers! We are the world’s leaders in many areas. We don’t like the rest! We like a challenge, we like adversity, we like to get the glory of victory! Do I hear an Amen?
We are capable of achieving many things, but, there is one thing we can not do. We can not carry out the New Covenant successfully. The New Covenant is a work of God, not mankind. In Jeremiah 31, God makes it clear he will make the New Covenant a success for people who will yield to his son and rest in his son’s arms. God, himself, will create a new mind and a new heart inside those who can and will rest in Jesus.
For those who “strive” to live in the Tree of Life, the result can disappoint because you find yourself right back in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. How many hundreds of times have I tried to engineer my life my way in the past sixty years? So far, I have failed every single time. It is only when I “lose my life to Christ” and just give up and let him take over, that I find success. So what’s my role under the New Covenant? There must be something I have to do?
Yes, there is, learn how to rest!
Remember in Matt. 11, Jesus tells us our role is to “come to me, and I will give you rest.” Coming to Jesus is laying down your life, and giving him full control. His yoke for us is easy - because he is the one carrying out the New Covenant. His burden for us is light - he wants to give us rest and find purpose in his love and grace.
Resting in the spirit is anything but a cliche; it is a bold act of faith, and one big idea many still do not understand!
Kim Wenzel is a local Open Doors USA ministry representative who speaks in churches and groups about the big ideas found in the New Testament. For more information, persons interested may contact Wenzel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 918-919-1490. He pastors Faith Church of Grove on East Highway 10.