Do you want to “win the race” Paul spoke of? Then you may need to slow down and let Jesus catch up with you. Somewhere along the way I started saying this to myself and have been handing it out like candy to others ever since. My guess is that most of us view lagging way behind the Lord as the epitome of unfaithfulness. What’s wrong with those stragglers? Don’t they know Jesus has things for them to do? Shouldn’t we all be about our Father’s business?
Yes, we should. But there is always a ditch on the other side of the road. This one is loaded with “too-faithful” Christians who are stressed up, over burdened or burned out. We are the ones who keep turning the Father’s business into busy-ness! Know anyone like that? What’s a poor, beleaguered, overly-busy body to do? Slow down and let Jesus catch up!
Win the Race by Enter His Rest
Where lax and lazy Christians go astray through failing to obey what Jesus is asking of them, overly busy Christians go astray by failing to trust what He is allowing. The “grand formula” for our new life in Christ is trust AND obey. It can be equally well expressed as trust THEN obey. Don’t outrun your ability to trust God with what He is allowing, just because you want to get on with what you believe He is asking.
He is asking all of us to learn how to trust Him. That is the core message: Repent (turn from all your wrong ways) and believe the good news (you have a God you can trust—look what He’s done for you). Jesus calls it “abiding” in the Him. The writer of Hebrews calls it “entering His rest.” The Psalmist calls it “being still” (settle down, calm down) and “knowing” that you have a God you can trust. What it leads us into is the glorious liberty of God’s children.
Have You Been Faithful but Frantic?
My favorite text for getting the pace right is Isaiah 30:15: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” I was shown this by the Lord years ago when all my faithful but frantic activity caused me to crash and burn. I saw then that the true spiritual life always and only flows on the basis of trust and peace. I have had to relearn this lesson a thousand times: Return and rest your cares on Him. Then, let the Spirit lift and lead you out into activity, showing you the next right thing to do with the grace He supplies. Do this and life once again becomes a river of peace.
Are we doing it? The Holy Spirit will blow the whistle and lift the peace, whenever He sees that we are striving and stressing rather than returning and resting.
For more on living from a peace-filled core see “How Do I Live the New Life?” at our website for living in the Spirit, forerunners4him.org.