As I read the Word of God, I become increasingly aware of the many deficiencies in my walk with Christ, so many things to be changed in me. My type A personality, combined with a sincere desire to be conformed to the image of Christ, sets me immediately to work devising a plan, mapping out a strategy to accomplish this lofty goal. As if it was in my ability to actually do such a thing. So I labor and strain……..and fail. And falling to the depths of despair over my inadequacy as a child of God, I determine that I need to try harder, be more disciplined and more committed. It is a vicious cycle. And a needless one.
Certainly there is a place for discipline and commitment in the life of a believer. Even self examination is called for by the Scriptures. But isn’t it possible that there is a place of rest in Christ that we can live from, where the heart is so enraptured, so utterly delighted with Him, above and to the exclusion of all else (even ourselves) that the strivings and labors of our own soul are no longer necessary?
The work that Jesus has required is that we believe. The life that He has commanded is one of rest, and love and abiding. Oh what sweet and pleasant words these are to the weary soul. They are the language of delight and they are words that draw us to the Savior. This stands in stark contrast to the infamous “should”, which is the language of obligation, perpetually driving us to ever more frenzied levels of self improvement.
The work of the Spirit of God in the life of a believer is exactly that – the work of the Spirit of God. And whereas our own labors will drive us to despair, His workings will lead us ever so sweetly into the green pastures of an obedient and Christ-like life.