Sunday, June 21, 2009

Strive No More

I was just listing to an old Keith Green song When I Hear the Praises Start and it flipped a switch inside me. It reminded me once again that all of my striving is in vain. The best of my efforts can never hold a candle to the power and majesty of the work Christ did on the cross.

My head can’t seem to get around that truth, but that really doesn’t matter. What matters is the Work that Christ did in my stead. Because I could not, He did. He did what He did so that I may find rest and comfort in Him alone, so that my rest and comfort are not contingent upon living comfortably. Because more often than not, living comfortably is elusive at best and at worst it is expensive, vain and empty.

Let me ask you, do you know the difference between comfort and comfortable?

Most of us don’t, until all hell breaks loose and the comfortable explodes into chaos and loss. For those baptized in loss, God’s truth seems rather amazing, almost impossible. That we can, in and through Christ, find comfort even when we are not comfortable with outward circumstances?

Over thirty years ago, my youth pastor Jerry Holte, coached a handful of disciples to memorize scripture. Not so we could attain some kudos from God, but that we may know the freedom that only comes from the promises of God. That we may know genuine comfort, despite the fact that life can sometimes be uncomfortable. Because in life there are often great losses, yet God promises comfort from Heaven.

The passage of scripture that stuck with me was Philippians 4:13. I won’t quote it because maybe you could look it up and read the context for yourself. But the Apostle Paul was teaching the truth about God’s comfort and strength – with or without the comfortable things of life. Paul was teaching us that as we cease our striving for the comfortable, we can find genuine comfort in and through Christ our Lord. That truth is just as real to me today as it was in 1977. I just needed a gentle reminder.

Thanks Keith, thanks Jerry, thanks Holy Spirit, thanks Dad.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)

Is your soul at rest this hour? Are you striving for something that you cannot attain? Are you running life’s race in vain? Do you work hard and find little solace for your soul? Are you religious and fearful that you cannot ever measure up to God’s expectations? Are you emotionally tired? Are you feeling empty?

May I encourage you to go to Jesus? Consider this, being comfortable in life is of little significance if you do not have comfort of soul. If you have never known the Comfort that only comes from God the Father, as He draws near with Love and Grace, cry out today and receive. Tell Him you are tired of striving. Tell Him you need His Comfort more than you need to be comfortable. I promise you, He will deliver. You will find the Comfort that only He can supply.

So go ahead. Stop striving. Stop working to please an unattainable standard or formula and start relating to a Father who will come and slake your hunger and thirst for what only He can supply. Remember, comfort is about relationship. Comfortable is about stuff. Which would you rather have, greater relationship or more stuff?


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