Do You Need to Try Harder or Rest?

By | March 29, 2016

worn outAlmost everyone wants their life to be the best it can be. If you don’t know God through His Son Jesus, this can be a never ending series of attempts to fill your life up with things that never satisfy. If you do have a relationship with God through Jesus, there’s something we do that keeps us from finding fulfillment through Jesus – we try harder.

Before we have a relationship with God through Jesus, we are spiritually dead. We need the resurrected life of Jesus to bring us into that relationship with God. Once we have that relationship with God restored through receiving Jesus as our life, we sometimes go back into “self mode”. “Self mode” says I’ve got to try harder to do the right things in order for God to love me.

NEWS FLASH: God loves you right now as much as He will ever love you (which is fully and unconditionally)! Nothing you can do will ever cause Him to love you more. You are fully loved and accepted in Him!

Does God want us to know Him more intimately and grow spiritually? Yes. But His love is unchanging for you… no matter what you do or don’t do. We’ve got to get past this idea that God really doesn’t love us unless we’re doing all the right things. He takes us right where we are.

Instead of trying harder, in our own strength, to please Him, we need to rest in what He has done for us and let Him change us!

Jesus began letting us know this in Matthew 11:28 – “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” He is not here to burden us to try harder. He lives in us so that we can rest in Him and let Him work through us.

It is God working through us, not us trying harder that is the way to live the Christian life. In Philippians 2:13 Paul writes, for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” God is the one working in us. We must let Him work in us as we quit our self works and rest in Him.

Jesus puts it another way in John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” When we try to please God in our own flesh, we fail. This verse says that apart from Jesus, we can do NOTHING.

Fulfillment in Jesus can’t be found while we are trying to please God out of our own flesh. Do you want contentment in your life? Rest in Him. Rest in what He is doing in your life. Resting in Jesus does not mean inactivity. It means following Him instead of going in our own strength.

Are you resting in Him? Do you listen for His voice? Or, do you try to take your Christian life in your own hands and try really hard? The choice is up to you. What do you think about it? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Photo by Petra Bensted