The past few days I have been past out in bed with a cold. Being sick is never fun but it is always a reminder of our need to rest. Our bodies were not created to go non-stop, 24/7! I'm the type of person who doesn't know my limits. I will keep cleaning the house until I am literally exhausted and then the next morning, the stress from the day before has settled in my feet and back to where I am almost useless.
Being a perfectionist, I am more prone to want to please everyone so I have had to learn over the years how to say no. I love to make the most of every day and while this is a good philosophy, it can also spur me to put more activities on my plate than there are hours in the day.
As Christians, piling on too many "things" can become dangerous. When we become task oriented, we are focused on "doing". The perfectionist in me has to stop and ask, "Are you doing this activity out of your love for God or to please man?" Ephesians 2:8-10 says, "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works so that no one may boast. For we are God's handiwork, created in the image of Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do." We are not justified through our actions but through our faith. Notice in verse ten that we were created in the image of Christ for good works. So while we are not justified through our actions, the love of Christ compels us to do good works.
When Christ came to earth, he fulfilled the law by being our perfect and blameless sacrifice. God understood that we could never keep the law. Because Jesus offered himself as the perfect, sinless sacrifice, I now have access to God the Father through Jesus. God now views me through Jesus. My sins have been cast away and I am covered by the blood of the lamb.
I have to be careful to always check the motives behind my good works. It is offensive to God when I try to appease Him by offering up my works. When we try to offer God our good works, it tramples upon the work that was accomplished through Jesus Christ. Salvation is a free gift and when we try to rest in our works, we will never find joy in our relationship with God. It's only when I'm resting in Him that I find peace.
For more encouragement on this topic visit buckrun.org. You will find a sermon series by Dr. Hershel York called "Keep Moving Forward" which focuses on the book of Hebrews and what it means to rest in Christ.
Much Love and Rest,