Fulfilled in Jesus

Our pilgrimage with our Beloved in Japan -- Yoko & Ramone on the journey with Jesus!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Come Rest

Come Rest

This came as I was praying about some songs the Lord had given me about His Sabbath-rest. It's probably the most 'simple' picture I've done yet. In my spirit (thank You, Lord!) I simply saw an ocean stretching out to the horizon. The water up close was lighter, clearer, almost green, and in the distance it grew darker. It was like I was on some tropical island looking at clear, beautiful clear waters, light green and light blue waters, and beautiful deep blue ocean waters.

What is "Sabbath-rest"? It's not a day. Rather, "Sabbath rest" is the wonderful rest and peace that comes to us in Jesus because of His finished work for us. Jesus called us to lay our burdens down and enter His rest (Matthew 11:28-30), and the Bible says we can experience that rest "today" (Hebrews 4:7). We can rest in Him--right now! We don't have to wait for "the right day of the week" or some special event.

Naturally we think there is something we have to do. Religion teaches us we have to earn His rest (sadly, even Christianity has often done this, too). But no, Jesus Christ has done the work for us. It's time to lay down our burdens and just go out into His waters of rest. We can enter today simply by faith (Hebrews 4:3), not by works or law. His rest is a gift of grace to us. And like entering the ocean, we can't stand on our own two feet, so to speak. We've got to lay down -- lay down our burdens, our efforts, and just let Him carry us out into the deep.

Our works, our efforts, even the old covenant law, we cling to all of these things because they unconsciously feel like a sort of insurance to us. We feel safe by holding onto law & works. "If I do this, then I know I'm safe." We're afraid of simply falling into the arms of the living God. Since we can't see God physically, it's naturally difficult for us to trust Him fully for saving. Doing some bit ourselves, some thing, some good work, some law obedience -- unconsciously these things seem to offer a support, a leg, an insurance. It seems like they'll give us a little relief, some extra assurance. Ironically, they don't. They in fact give us less assurance! Simply because deep inside we know we can never measure up. So we end up comparing ourselves to a standard (like the old covenant law) and measuring ourselves to it. In moments of doubt (which may be frequent) we run into despair, wondering if we measure up or not.

In contrast, Jesus gives us rest. It's a free gift. To trust Him fully for saving feels a bit scary at first. Letting go of our insurance feels a bit like floating out into this ocean! It would be fearful in the natural to even consider just floating away into the ocean. But in the sea of God's love, it is different --there is no safer place.

In fact, clinging to what's behind is far more dangerous, for behind us is a mountain of dead works, filthy rags, unrest, unrighteousness and impending death. Without His saving (His alone, not ours!) we are lost in a sea of death. Far better to be "lost at sea in His love"! (Lord, stamp that on my forehead -- "Lost at sea in His love!")

As I thought of the different colors of water, growing deeper further out, I realized it is because the water is shallower up close and deeper farther off into the ocean. I realize that this picture is a view looking outward from this picture by my spiritual mum Hazel Holland. In a dream (link) the Lord showed her a picture of a mountain of children piled upon one another, dressed in dirty ragged clothes, frantically holding onto each other and the 'mountain' of bodies beneath them (many of which had died), fearful of falling into the blue sea around them (see close-up). They were holding onto their works, good works & dead works, and the old covenant law, terrified of letting go to what seemed like certain death and oblivious to the fact that merely avoiding the sea of God's rest was actually killing them.

This is a picture looking outward into that sea. Can you hear God's voice calling you to let go of your works, your 'insurance', and come rest in Him? It's a picture of Him calling us in deep peace, invitation and longing,
"Come rest in Jesus. Come in, come deep."

2 Comments:

  • At January 08, 2009 1:57 PM, Anonymous Thankful Paul said…

    After all this, there is only one thing to say: Have reverence for God, and obey his commands, because this is all that we were created for. ECCLESIASTES 12:13 TEV

     
  • At January 08, 2009 2:00 PM, Anonymous Ramone said…

    Amen! "And this is His command: to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us." (1 John 3:23)

     

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