I’ve been reflecting on the things I’ve learnt in the last 6 months, thinking of the things that have really impacted my life, changed the way I think, the way I act, because those are the true indicators of if we believe something.
Something I have come to believe, is that rest in many senses can be worship. It sounds a little too good to be true like those embarrassingly misleading ads that tell us we can eat whatever we want and lose weight, that one isn’t true if you’re wondering. But it is true that rest in the context of a life given over to live for the kingdom of God to come on earth can be worship.
I was asked a few months ago if I could know one thing about someone as soon as I met them, anything at all, what it would be. My answer was that, I would choose to know how aware they were of the love of God over them. This is because I’ve come to think that on a basic level we are either working, living, speaking, relating out of a place of knowing we are fully loved as the bible promises us, or we are living out of a place that strives, competes and is jealous to be loved.
The two people described above are entirely different to be around. One is relaxed, freely gives and freely recieves all that they have, they are aware that they have recieved the ‘pearl of great price’ and therefore nothing else is of worth to them, they give encouragement, affirmation, gifts, time freely, they give life to the people around them. The other person embodies the opposite, they offer doubled edged measured encouragements, they are exclusivist about how they spend time and resources on the people around them, and they can rob the joy and enthusiasm of the people around them, I, unfortunately, have often operated in the latter.
As we spend time focussing on Jesus, realizing his worth, through meditating on scripture, praying for increased revelation of this person Jesus, we realize that he is fully sufficient for us, he has fully accepted us and even more embraced us in love whilst we were still in the stench of our own self-righteousness, our own competitiveness, that prefers ourselves over others. We are fully loved by the creator of the universe, we can quit striving for the affirmation of others, and of God and enjoy a father child affirming relationship, a bride and bridegroom intimacy, and a Leader and King who has conquered, and will reign over his creation.
It is from this place that we are relieved of our striving, even as we are relieved from our very lives. Lives that we lived for ourselves and to please others. As we come alive in our salvation, in our baptism in water and spirit, and in his healing prescence we can sigh, the weight of our responsibilities can be an easy yoke as we realize that God is fully committed to bringing himself glory through our lives more than we think we are committed to that task. As we focus on him, the perfector of our faith, we are released in joyful servanthood, where we can begin to run a race, not for our own crown but for the day when he wil return and we will lay our crowns before him in our awe over his beauty and grace.
God is beautiful when we see him for who he is, and it gives us permission to be freed from the idolatry of our own personal strivings, in order that we can realize God is really in control and is calling us to live from a revelation of being fully known yet fully loved, so that we are working From love not For love.
This realisation can really set us free,
– free from thinking we have to fix it all
– free from thinking we have to make it happen
– free from thinking WE have to bring someone we know to salvation
– free from striving to make enough money to survive
– free from striving to feel OK through what we DO instead who we have been made to BE.
Now that I’ve said it, BE instead of DO, is a good frame of reference for what I feel like I have learnt. As we live and worship the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, we have reached our full potential as humans, we have fulfilled the first and foremost commandment, everything we do after that is from Grace and to him. We achieve our greatest success when we worship him, it is what we were made for, and when we engage in it with all that we are, we are realising our highest calling, higher even that the vocations of being, lovers of our spouse, parents to our children, workers for the Kingdom. All those things are able to be done fuller and more healthily when we have ordered our allegiances behind Jesus.
Try resting today, and do it for the Glory of God.
Acknowledgments: Lindy Conant for worshipping in spirit an truth in the UofN prayer room in Kona as I wrote this on my iPod, Andy Byrd for highlighting the distinction between working for and from love back in October 09
Liam and Rachel are working as missionaries/development strategists/followers of Jesus amongst the Xhosa people in Masiphuemele, South Africa. Click here to help us by praying with us, follow us on our blog or you can sign up to receive our email updates. You can communicate our story to your local Church or housegroup and we would also hugely appreciate anyone prayerfully considering financially supporting the work we do in South Africa on a regular basis, you can find more about that here.