Resting in Christ

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When we are on this journey, seeking to become godly women/wives/mothers… it can feel very overwhelming and we may drive ourselves insane sometimes trying to be perfect and trying to evaluate ourselves constantly to see if we are “getting an A+ on our godly wife report card.”

The more you get into this journey and the closer you are to Christ, the more you realize – it isn’t about me trying harder. This isn’t about me being perfect. It isn’t about me making myself crazy with impossible expectations. It isn’t about me beating myself up. It is not about checking off a bunch of boxes on a list. It is not about legalism.(I’m going to share a number of gems from Andrew Murray’s book, Absolute Surrender in this post that I hope may clarify what I am saying.)

This journey isn’t about self-effort or self at all.

This is about yielding control to God completely. It is about resting in what Jesus did for me on the cross to make me right with God. It is about resting in what He did when He was raised from the dead and His Spirit flooding my soul to empower me to live the life He wants me to live. It is about Christ breathing life into me.

If you are getting really anxious about not being good enough or about feeling like a failure – just take a deep breath. Turn from anything God calls sin – confess it to Him as sin and receive His forgiveness, mercy, and grace. Come sit down at the feet of Jesus and rest in His love, provision, care, and sovereignty for you. Stop frantically studying for awhile. Stop reading about marriage if that is stressing you out. Stop “worry-praying” constantly trying to get God to do what you think He should do. Stop trying to fix everything to make it all work out “right.” Just be still for awhile. This is not about you trying to live a perfect life. That is impossible! You can’t do this thing in your strength.

Picture yourself trying to push a car across a 3000 mile journey. It would be ridiculous to even try such a thing. Instead of pushing the car, get in and sit down beside Jesus. God’s Spirit provides the fuel so that the car will go in His power, not yours. Picture Jesus driving and you just enjoying the journey with Him. He knows how to get to the destination. He does all of the work. You get to be along for the ride. But it is all His strength that moves you.

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Only He can live this life in and through you. As you cling to Him and focus on loving, praising, and trusting Him – and as you allow Him to have control and you desire Him above everything else – He can change your heart, your mind, and your desires. He does the work, not you.

He can give you the power to live the life that He wants you to live. Focus on doing what a branch does. Abide in Christ. Just receive from the vine. The vine provides all of the sap, strength, and nourishment the branch needs. The branch only clings to the vine – and fruit appears without striving or effort on the part of the branch. Jesus talks about this in John 15, and Murray elaborates on the concept, as well.

Be still before Him. Worship Him. Praise Him. Sing to Him. Drink in His goodness and His Word. Seek to be close to Him. Give Him access to everything in your life and allow Him to lead you baby step by baby step.

No need to freak out. No need to stress. No need to be afraid. Just rest in His strong arms, His wisdom, and His care. Let His love and His truth overtake you and consume your heart, mind, and soul. Focus on receiving all that He has done for you and all that He has already given you if  you are His. If you are not His, I invite you to come to Him today and follow Him for the rest of your life as your Savior and as Lord of your life.

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Empty yourself of all of your old worldly ways of thinking. Empty yourself of your old self. That old self is now dead with Christ and buried. Allow God to cleanse the darkest corners of your soul. When you are totally emptied of self, you are like a clean tea cup. God can pour His Spirit into you when you are fully His. No one pours tea into a teacup that has something else in it already – like ink or vinegar (a helpful illustration from Murray). Once a teacup is totally devoted to its purpose – and nothing else – it is ready to be filled with tea.

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Another illustration by Murray is that “We all know what absolute surrender looks like in daily life. A pen must be totally devoted to the task of writing. And it must be totally yielded to one person’s use. If more than one person tries to hold and use a pen at the same time, it can’t possibly accomplish very much. But if the pen is completely given over to one person, that person can use the pen to write much and accomplish great things.” (paraphrasing)

We are like that pen – we must be totally given over to God and His control. Nothing and no one else must have a hold on us other than God in order for Him to be free to accomplish His good purposes in us and through us. We yield control to Him and allow Him to do the work.

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Jesus is your Good Shepherd. Run to Him. Allow Him to take you up and hold you close against His heart. He knows how to provide the pasture, water, protection, care, and leadership you need. You don’t have to have it all figured out. You can’t figure it all out. All that is necessary to do is to follow Him and draw near to Him.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.… Matthew 11:28-29

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, Hebrews 4:9-11 (Hebrews 4:1-11 is about the Sabbath rest that believers in Christ enter into in Him)

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. Psalm 23:1-3

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:27-30

Verses about Rest

One of the best descriptions of how to do this that I have seen so far is in the book Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray.

SHARE:

How do you rest in Christ? What do you do when you realize you are anxious and stressed about this journey or about life in general to get your eyes back on Jesus and to sit at His feet and just receive His goodness, love, provision, and care for you?

What are some Bible verses and worship songs that help you remember to rest and trust fully in Christ that may be a blessing to others who are struggling?

RELATED:

Victory over Perfectionism – Peacefulwife video

https://www.youtube.com/embed/U5riGWJ8U10?rel=0“>

Something that helps me is to focus on God’s character and who He is:

My Husband Said, “You Worry Too Much!”

Me with our son many years ago

April in 2002 – a few months after our first baby was born

I can’t remember Greg confronting most of my sin earlier in our marriage. But one thing I do remember him saying fairly often was, “You worry too much.”

I knew that was true and I couldn’t argue with his observation. But in my mind at the time, worry meant that I cared about something or someone.

Telling me, “April, don’t worry,” was no help. I didn’t have any other way to think. I had no idea that I was worrying because (in my case) I wasn’t really trusting God and didn’t grasp His sovereignty. I thought I did trust God. I said I trusted Him. I convinced myself I trusted Him. I did acknowledge Him with my mind and words but I did not fully trust Him with my heart.

In my understanding at the time, the only way I could think of to not worry was “to not care.” I certainly couldn’t do that! So I continued on in my worry, fear, and anxiety. Such a miserable way to live! But God, in His great love and mercy, did not leave me in that prison of the enemy! How I thank and praise Him for waking me up in December of 2008!

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April in 2003

We must all guard against worry and fear each day. I know I will always need to! That is why it is so important to take my thoughts captive for Christ and to shoot down ungodly or unscriptural thoughts. Even then, sometimes I have blind spots. I’m thankful for my accountability partners who are willing to lovingly let me know if they see me begin to slip into fear/worry so I can repent and refocus on trusting God – like they did for me just this past month.

If we are not careful we can create a belief system where we give SELF and human will more power than God and His sovereignty. A minister I deeply respect at our church recently said that this kind of theology can create a “spirit of independence” from God in the people who hear it. That is what I had.

I believed that people and situations depended greatly on me and my powers and that God was rather small and wimpy.

It is also possible to give God’s sovereignty too much emphasis over human free-will. This can be taken to the point where we believe that people become robots with no real choices or accountability. When people go to extremes with this idea, they may adopt a fatalistic approach and decide it “doesn’t matter” what we do as people, because God is ultimately deciding outcomes without any input from us  When we focus only on God’s sovereignty and negate the concept that God has given us a choice to obey Him or not is destructive and unbiblical as well.

The reality of what Scripture describes is somewhere in between – and is a bit of a mystery to our finite minds. God is totally sovereign AND we have free will. There is no conflict!

Scripture presents both of these concepts as being true. That is often how God works – in His wisdom – He puts things in a delicate balance. Love and justice. Grace and wrath. Omnipotence and gentleness. Healing and Suffering. Mercy and Holiness. Generosity and discipline. When we lack balance in our understanding too far one way or the other, we end up with a warped view of God and ourselves.

  • We are responsible for our own choices, obedience, and sin. All adults have God-given free will to make their own decisions. I can influence people, but then I must trust God to work in their lives and allow the person to make his/her own decisions.
  • God is sovereign ultimately over all things in ways that I will never fully grasp while I am on this earth.

There is freedom and peace in understanding where our responsibility ends. I will answer to Him alone. Other people will also answer to God ultimately. God will handle people and situations. He took that heavy load of the world off of my shoulders.

Combatting worry:

  • I think of myself laying my burdens down at the feet of God in the throne room of heaven in prayer. Then I don’t carry the spiritual and emotional weight anymore.
  • I love to turn on praise music and sing at the top of my lungs. It is truly impossible to worry and praise God at the same time!

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

Verses about worry

Verses about God’s Sovereignty

Verses about Free Will

Posts about Worry on Peacefulwife

Fear Fuels Our Need to Control

Experiencing God’s Victory over Fear

MORE RESOURCES:

Please check out the things John Piper, David Platt, and Wayne Grudem have to say about God’s sovereignty, His character, His attributes, people’s free will, and election.