“That the sharing of your faith
may become effective
by the acknowledgment of every good thing
which is in you in Christ Jesus.” (Philemon 1:6)
We, as the children of God, are called to work from rest. As the writer of Hebrews told us, this rest is where our faith intersects the promises of God. Simply put, we do this by abiding in Christ.
Hebrews 4:1-10 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 to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said:“So I swore in My wrath,‘They shall not enter My rest,” although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.”
Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said:“Today, if you will hear His voice,Do not harden your hearts.”
For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.
But when we don’t do this, we’re left with burdensome religion where there is no rest.
I get asked this from time to time, how do we do this “abiding thing” with our busy everyday lives? To answer that question, I will share how I personally do it. But before I do that I need to convince you that we should do this.
One more thing. This post got exceedingly long so I’ve decided to split it into two parts. I will share some foundational insights here, then how I do the “abiding thing” while I’m busy with my everyday life in part two.
Abiding in Christ is the Christian life
First, understand that abiding in Christ is the only way you’ll find the Christian life. Everything else you might’ve thought was Christianity is something else–inconsistent and powerless religion that never delivers on its promises. Oh, people may be doing a lot in Jesus’ name. Nevertheless, much is no more than wood, hay and stubble.
Of course, you could argue the point with Jesus, but He seems to think that apart from abiding in Him we can do nothing (John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.).
And what part of nothing don’t we get?
Apparently, for most of my life as a Christian I didn’t get it. I made abiding in Him optional. You see, it’s one of many verses in the Bible we agree with but don’t actually believe. Rather, we don’t value it because we have no mental grid for it
So I did the only other thing I could do. I acted like a Christian and made abiding in Christ optional. I’ve since quit trying to act like a Christian.
It’s not a place you’re trying to get to, but a life you’re living from
Secondly, to abide means to stay where you’ve already been placed. And we’ve already been placed in Christ in God.
Eph.2:6; and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, Col.3:3; For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Phil.3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
We’re already complete in Him
Col.2:10 And you are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life [in Christ you too are filled with the Godhead—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and reach full spiritual stature]. And He is the Head of all rule and authority [of every angelic principality and power]. AMP
We’re already included in the eternal Divine Dance between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
John 17:21-24 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. 24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
Abiding is simply staying in this space by faith.
What do I mean by “staying?” Staying is a state of being–it’s bringing your thoughts into sync with the new heavenly reality of your life in Christ. It’s not a place you’re trying to get to, but a life you’re living from. And there’s a huge difference between the two.
The former (place you’re trying to get to) is self-effort Christianity, the latter (a life you’re living from) is His-effort Christianity.
The former is based in performance–feeling obligated to “pay God back” (called “dead works”).
Heb. 4:9-10; There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Heb 6:1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.
It’s relating to God by serving Him, tying to please Him or be accepted by Him. The latter is based in rest–living from a place of total acceptance and perfect love.
The former’s perspective is from earth to heaven–a natural view based on what one can see; the latter’s perspective is from heaven to earth–with spiritual vision based on what one does not see.
1 Cor.2:10-16; But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy[a] Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?”[b] But we have the mind of Christ. 2 Cor.5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
The finished work of Christ means that our work is finished
Heb.4:10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.
For faith finds its anchor in what God has already done, not what He will do.
Abiding in His Love is obeying
Third, abiding in God’s love is Jesus’ definition of obeying. I want you to notice a pattern in the following statements of Jesus (bold-text added for emphasis)…
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you;
abide in My love.
If you keep My commandments,
you will abide in My love,
just as I have kept My Father’s commandments
and abide in His love.” John 15:9-10 NKJV
So, here’s the quiz. How do we obey Jesus the same way He obeyed the Father? You got it, abide in His love!
And Jesus calls that obedience.
Rest does not mean doing nothing
Finally, to rest in God doesn’t mean we lay around doing nothing. This is why it’s called working from rest. It’s an active place of faith and grace. But it’s the end of performance-based work.
(See “What is Grace?” for further explanation of grace and performance. Click on “grace” under the “Topics” section on the Home page, right hand column.)
And as Mike Bickle has said, lovers get more done than workers.
It’s about being aware, as much as possible, that you’re filled with all the fullness that fills God (Eph.3:19 [That you may really come] to know [practically, [a]through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses [b]mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] [c]unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and [d]become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! AMP) and staying in this Divine connection. In fact, you may accomplish many things but it truly is rest because you’re being transported by His “exceedingly” great power that works in you. (Eph.3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us).
And you have joy because there’s always fullness of joy in His presence (John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.). That’s usually how you can tell if you’re in a state of rest (as opposed to anxiety, burnout, worry, fear, depression, frustration, etc.)
Challenges to working from rest
I have found two major challenges to overcome if we’re going to work from rest.
The first challenge is that we live in a world that is based on performance. Your work or school all expect performance. You are judged in this world by how you perform. So, everything about living this Christian life is counter-intuitive to the expectation you’ve been living under your whole life.
The second challenge we face is that we tend to compartmentalize our lives so much that we’ve overwhelmed ourselves with busyness (juggling this idea of having quiet time, prayer, Bible study, ministries, work, family, etc.)
But the Christian life (that gives life) is only possible when abiding in Christ is fully integrated into everything we do. For Christ is your life. I will talk about how to do that next time.
by Mel Wild