There are two ways of living: one is the way of resisting God, and the other is the way of surrender to God. Resistance brings tension, restlessness, worry and anxiety. But yielding to God’s guidance in our lives brings freedom, inner peace and joy.
True religion is about surrender to God’s guidance and leadership for our lives. If we are resisting God by trying to enforce our own will for our lives, then we will struggle in life all the more.
However, through the Word of God and daily prayer, our selfish ego is destroyed in sweet surrender. Our worldly self is always in resistance to God’s grace and love, but whenever we yield to God’s grace and loving guidance we receive renewal of life. And this renewal of life that flows from our relationship with God in Christ Jesus is a kind of inner sabbath rest that we enjoy through the good times and the bad.
“So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; for those who enter God’s rest also cease from their labors as God did from his. Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs. Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account. Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – (The Holy Bible, Hebrews 4: 9-16)
This “sabbath rest” comes to us through the Word of God in the Holy Scriptures, in prayer, in spiritual songs and hymns, and in loving Christian fellowship. So, we are to “make every effort” to abide in this inner sabbath peace though the Word of God, because it is only the Word of God that has the power to subdue our worldly souls so that we might enjoy an inner restful peace in our daily lives.
Therefore, God’s promised “sabbath rest” within the struggles of life, and throughout the unique challenges of Christian discipleship, does not depend on our own ability or power. It is entirely a gift of God through the power of the Word of God as often as we seek it and yield to it.
The life of faithful discipleship and inner sabbath rest simply does not depend on our own strength and determination. As Hebrews chapter 4 declares, it depends entirely on Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, who empowers and enables us through the Word of God.
As we enter into the Season of Lent, may we grow in letting go and letting God in our lives. Through the power of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit — as we study the Holy Scriptures, pray daily, listen to and sing spiritual songs and hymns, and share in loving Christian fellowship — may we continually yield to God’s love more and more for our lives and our relationships.
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, 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.” – (The Holy Bible, Matthew 11: 28-30)
Yes, during this Season of Lent, and beyond, may we confess our sins, let go, and trust in Jesus for our lives. May we, by the powerful grace of God through Word and Sacrament, live in a daily relationship with the Lord that blesses us with inner peace and blesses others with the truth and love of Christ our Lord.
Let us pray… Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe in you. I believe you are the heavenly High Priest who died for my sins and rose from the dead. I trust in you and follow you as my Savior and Lord. Guide my life and help me to do your will. In your name I pray. Amen.
Together in Faith, Pastor Tim