Published on August 12th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff0
God Only Wants Good for You
We’ve all seen and heard stories of the movie star or athlete who works hard and pushes himself to the limit, to earn the world’s respect and a few moments in front of the television cameras. For awhile he basks in the spotlight and enjoys the attention, but eventually the world moves on and forgets about him. A few years later he runs into trouble, whether it’s an identity crisis, a drug or alcohol problem, or scrapes with the law. More often than not, it ends badly.
It’s heart-wrenching to hear about and difficult to watch, but this is the sort of thing that can happen when we succumb to the burden to perform. The individual trapped in a mindset like this most likely believes he or she is on a never-ending treadmill of judgment and condemnation. But when we depend on God’s grace to guide us, that burden is eased. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”(Matthew 11:28).
When we feel as if we must please others to be accepted and deemed worthy, we’re doomed to failure no matter how hard we try. But God wants only the best for us. When we rest in Him and let Him work in our lives, the intense pressure to fit in to the world’s standards melts away. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”(Matthew 11:29, 30).
Resting in God doesn’t mean just leaning back and doing nothing. It means trusting Him enough to let His grace lead us in the direction He wants us to go. When we rest in God, it’s the exact opposite of putting our faith and trust in our own efforts to “make it happen.” When we let go and let God work on our behalf, everything falls together more perfectly than we could ever arrange on our own.
This isn’t just a suggestion, it’s a direct command. “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass” (Psalm 37:7). Note that there’s a certain amount of waiting involved. Waiting to hear from God teaches us to trust Him more.
The world tells us that to succeed, we must rush back and forth, involve ourselves in a flurry of work, and compete with others. It knows nothing of God’s overflowing grace, available to everyone regardless of their strength, agility, performance, or track record. God promises abundant success for those who have the courage to trust Him.
We are God’s handiwork and His beloved children. We can trust in the promises He makes, because He always keeps them. “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5). When we realize that God, not the world, is our source of prosperity and success, what was once a performance for others becomes a ministry.
Before Jesus was born, the children of Israel lived under the Law, which was entirely performance-based. But Jesus came and through His ministry established the law of grace, which makes us righteous because of His works, not ours. As Christians, we are called to live in the world and yet be apart from it. We can set an example by refusing to blindly conform to the world’s standards of performance.