“So what do you need to do to feel good about you? To feel good about life?”
There were many answers that were offered to these questions. Some of them sounded very biblical and right.
“I need to live in my place of purpose.”
“I need to recognize who God has called me to be and rest in that.”
“I need to press on to a place where I am more effective and accomplishing more.”
Do any of these answers take us to a place of peace? A place of truly resting in Christ? If not, how do I get there?
So many people struggle with a sense of worth. Their value is based on “someday” or maybe “someone” responding well to them. To be able to be at peace, to be able to truly rest, it can’t be about tomorrow. It has to be a “now” reality.
The problem with most of these answers is “someday.” Even “in Christ,” we tend not to rest in “today.” There is always something else out there that has to be achieved before there can be peace.
We all fall short of the glory of God much more often than we would want to admit—unless we are in the ranks of the self-haters. For the self-haters, falling short becomes a badge of value. Some even take pride in being the worst, the ugliest, or just “trophies of grace.”
Knowing that we fall short of who we were created to be, how do we rest? Most people try to rest by saying “someday.” “I will get better.” “I will grow.” On the one hand, we should have the desire to grow or get better. That is a good thing. Even so, the longing for growth can become a level of agitation that blocks the very presence of God that would cause us to grow.
True rest has to start with “today.” It begins with “I am.” Someday often steals from today what could have been. God sees your “I am.” He is at peace with your “I am.” He is able to deal with you right here, right now, even as you are.
He is able to deal with your “I am” because He is a redeemer. Everything that is good is based on the character of God. When we truly know God as the redeemer, we can rest in our “I am”—even if it does include some significant flaws.
When we know that hanging out with God and obeying Him brings the needed change, we focus far less on making ourselves better. When we believe in our own ability to make needed changes, we lose our ability to focus on God. Focus may be the most significant word in heart change.
If it is the redeeming nature of God that is our place of rest, we don’t have to worry about losing our will to grow. He is our redeemer. Not just legally. Too often, we separate God the legal redeemer from God the actual redeemer. “Jesus died for me on the cross. He paid for my sin. I am free.” Meanwhile, the person is trapped in unbelievable bondage to sin, but is making little or no effort to get out of that sin because his sins have been paid for “legally.” He is “going to heaven.”
This is not the will of God. God is not just a legal redeemer. He had to pay the price legally, or we could not approach the throne of grace boldly (Heb. 4:16). But our God is a redeemer. Every good and perfect gift comes out of a transfer from His character to ours. And it is not an automatic download. Presence is immediate, but character change requires an ongoing response on our part. It requires that we say “Yes” to God over a period of time. As we obey Him, the Redeemer becomes a part of us and we turn around and become reconcilers/redeemers for others.
If you truly know a redeeming God, there is rest. There is peace. My hope is in Him, not in my efforts to get better. I can truly rest in my “I am” even though it has significant flaws. Stop living in someday and get in touch with the redeemer. When you do, today can truly be a wonderful day.