Do you know that scripture where God tells Paul that His grace is sufficient for him (2 Corinthians 12:9)? I finally understand it! His GRACE includes it all, the ultimate bundle package- His rest, His provision, His love. And it is simply impossible to comprehend the depth and far-reaching nature of His grace. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what you’ve done, how much money you have or don’t have; His grace is enough for you and is all you will ever need. I can’t tell you how liberating this revelation has been for me, and I pray and believe it will do the same for you. Part of the liberation process is, of course, understanding it. I talked about His love in the last couple posts (see this one… and this one too). So, let’s talk about the characteristics of His rest.
- It is promised (Hebrews 4:1-3a, 6): We can do absolutely nothing to deserve it. We have access to it solely as a result of our relationship with God.
- It is complete (Hebrews 4:3-4): We can rest from our own way of doing things and our works that are incorrectly intended to earn us righteousness and worthiness, because everything that we will ever need physically and spiritually, including our need for a Savior, has already been accounted for, prepared, and completed before we were even created.
- It can be forfeited (Hebrews 4:5): Although the rest is available, the appropriation or participation in the rest is conditioned upon our belief. It’s like a beautifully wrapped gift that you asked for. Even though the gift is in your possession, it is of no benefit to you if you just hold on to it and not open it up, even if you know what’s inside.
- It is renewable (Hebrews 4:7-8): Today! Every day is another opportunity to reside in His full and complete rest. To help me with this truth, I have adopted a motto that I use when I am tempted to return to doing things my own way. When the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea and faced a vast and terrible desert ahead of them, they began to complain about food. God provided manna for them to eat and said He would do so daily. They were not to collect for the next day because He would provide for each day (Exodus 16:16-20). So, whenever a situation comes up that tempts me to step out of grace and rest and into self works and the world system, I say, “Today, I am feasting on the manna for today. Manna for tomorrow will be there because He promised.”
- It is self-sufficient (Hebrews 4:9-10): God’s full and completed work requires no assistance from you or me! Sometimes we can get caught up in what we think we should do; we try to make things happen, or we go another way because it seems easier or more comfortable. Well, we are living in the time of the peculiar! The Word of God says that we are a peculiar (special) people! But don’t be afraid of being peculiar because that same scripture calls you a chosen and royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9, Titus 2:14)!
Do you remember that cup I mentioned a few posts ago with the quotes on it? Well, I used that cup again the other day and saw another quote that caught my attention: “People cannot discover new lands until they have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” I don’t know where I got that cup from, but it’s pretty deep, huh? The revelation of Grace and the Rest that God provides by His Grace is really hard for some to accept. For so long many have equated their relationship with God to their relationship with church- how often they went, how many ministries they were on, how many titles they carried, etc. Now, that God is highlighting our personal intimacy with Him as the source of all blessings, many are having a hard time adjusting. I encourage you to have courage and lose sight of the shore you are so familiar with. Launch out into the deep where you are guaranteed to reap so much blessings, your nets will surely break (Luke 5:4-7). Tomorrow, I will give us some practical tips on living the lifestyle of Rest.