When it comes to living a holy life, God doesn’t want us to be like the rest of the religious people in the world. They are always striving to appear holy by what they say and do, and even in how they dress. God doesn’t want us to follow in their steps, instead He wants us to find a place of rest in Him. Holiness is not meant to be a burden we carry on our shoulders, but an uplifting sense of joy and peace that carries us throughout our whole day. Jesus spoke of this rest, when He said:
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NKJV.
In this verse, Jesus was speaking to those who were constantly being burdened down by the standards of their religious leaders. To these leaders it wasn’t enough to obey God’s Word, they also added a great list of other duties that they felt everyone should also perform to be made acceptable in God’s sight.
What Jesus taught His disciples was in direct contrast to what the religious leaders taught in His day. In fact, He was bringing man into a new relationship with God. No longer do we have to strive to be found acceptable in God’s sight. This is why Jesus also said:
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly [humble] in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30 NKJV.
What did Jesus want His disciples to learn from Him? He wanted them to learn to be gentle and humble in heart, just as He was. He also wanted them to find His place of rest, because His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
The reality is that the Lord Jesus died for us so that we would be forgiven for all of our sins. We stand before God free from sin, because the handwritten list of sins held against us were removed from us, when Christ died on the cross. Through the cross of Christ we have been reconciled to God, and we have been made acceptable in His sight. The Apostle Paul out it this way, when he wrote:
“And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, HAVING FORGIVEN YOU ALL TRESPASSES, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14 NKJV.
Yes, God has removed all of your sins and has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ, and He has made you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight. The Apostle Paul expressed this, when he wrote:
“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” Colossians 1:21-22 NKJV.
This is what God has accomplished for us in Christ! Now He wants us to rest in the knowledge of this fact. He wants us to know that we have already been accepted by God because of what He did for us on the cross, not by what we do through religious duty.
This is why we must always be careful not to try to appear to be holy before others. Our holiness is before God and God alone. When we walk in true holiness before God, then we will automatically appear holy before others. God just wants us to be ourselves before Him, and not try to be super-spiritual. That leads to pride!
What is the secret to resting in the Lord? The answer is that resting in the Lord is an act of faith. You have to learn to practice resting in the Lord by faith. This is why the writer of Hebrews wrote:
“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” Hebrews 4:1-2 NKJV.
It takes faith to enter God’s of rest, where you no longer work to try to be accepted by God. Instead you know you can rest in the assurance that you have already been accepted by God, because you are in Christ. God loves you just the way you are, because you are in Christ.
Finally, once we find that place of rest in Him, and problems come our way, we no longer panic and begin to worry about what we are going to do next. Our immediate reaction is to just lean back and rest in the Lord, and let Him work everything out. The reason we can do this is because we have the deep assurance that God will give us all the wisdom we need to handle every situation that comes our way – that is the wonderful place of rest!
You are holy, dear saint!
This is day twenty-nine of a 31 day series on The Life Of A Saint.
[All Scripture quotations have been taken from the New King James Version, published by Thomas Nelson Inc, copyright 1982]