“Not that I have already attained this–that is, I have not already been perfected–but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, 14 with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore let those of us who are “perfect” embrace this point of view. If you think otherwise, God will reveal to you the error of your ways. 16 Nevertheless, let us live up to the standard that we have already attained.”
“He says, “Stop your striving and recognize that I am God! I will be exalted over the nations! I will be exalted over the earth!”
Hebrews 4:1, 11
“Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 11 Thus we must make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by following the same pattern of disobedience.”
Here it is a Monday again. I missed blogging last week while recording in Nashville and although Mondays have a reputation for being daunting – back to work – here’s a promising blog of what striving is supposed to look like in the life of the believer. So, happy Mundane Monday – with God’s grace our lives are anything but mundane and the ordinary becomes extraordinary in His hands!
Is God duplicitous when he says to strive in one passage, but then in another says we need to cease striving? Paradoxical at first blush, the more we look into His perfect word we see that in His faithfulness he already attained perfection for us.
Positionally, we are right with the God of the universe, though presently we see how very far we fall short of His glory. How is that? Just as Abraham was reckoned as righteous before a Holy God, so it is with us who have believed in God and believed that He has the authority to declare righteous who He has ordained to be in His perfect plan. My heart cannot contain the joy of knowing that God considers me righteous. How can it be? Because His Holy Son, Jesus Christ took our place!
While this bliss of being forgiven is incomparable to any other gift on this earth, on one hand it means we are called to rest in His righteousness and on the other, it is a call to cooperate with the sanctification process of pressing in to know God more.
So many times we see today people professing to be Christians and yet their mouths utter profanities or remain in sin and they lay hold of the expensive grace granted by Jesus’ precious blood and believe they are covered. Paul’s words echo loudly within my being – “may it never be”! God forgives our sins – and we receive this undeserved forgiveness, not so we can trample on His lavish grace. No, it is so we can yield to His will and say no to our flesh.
Where does striving cease? It is in trying to attain our own righteousness. We can never make it on our own and we can never make ourselves more righteous than what God has achieved for us. No amount of additional demands made by man can make us clean. After receiving a covering for our sin, to strive to try to earn it is folly. But the striving we are to do is to die to self and to seek fervently after God.
Life is hard. It can be easy to get lazy in our pursuit of God when seemingly the sky is falling, or opposite of that, when all is well in our worlds, we can get very comfortable and forget how great our need is of God. His salvation is priceless and precious and although it was already attained for us, as ambassadors for Christ our work is never done.
This work in Christ is done only by His grace and He again accomplishes the work of sanctification and character in us as we are faithful to live for Him and not ourselves. This is truly rest for our souls. Resting and trusting in Him to complete the work He began in us. Amen!
Lord, thank You for calling me to know You. I was an enemy and You chose me, anyway. I falter and stumble, and you pick me up, clean me up and use me again. I am dumbfounded by Your mercy and grace. Be glorified, LORD! Please help all who are reading this to truly understand this rest You have called us to and to never allow comfort to be our goal, but knowing You more and making You known!