Rest in the Lord

I’m not sure I know how to rest in the Lord.

On Sunday, my friend encouraged me to rest in Christ. He pointed out that I’ve been wearing myself down trying to determine the right thing to do, striving to make sure my actions fall in line with the Lord’s directions for my life. And while actions aren’t bad, he reminded me that I can quickly lose sight of the truth that Christ’s hold on me matters far more than my hold on Christ. To say it differently, the security of my faith rests on Christ’s finished work, not the pending completion of my unfinished tasks.

I don’t do well with this truth, though. I feel like I need to always be moving, always be working, always be pursuing some objective. Even when I rest, I wonder if I’m doing it right, if I’m resting the correct way. I’ve looked for ways to evaluate my ability to be passive, making even times of rest somewhat exhausting.

I’ll confess that this is a difficult problem to fix. The moment I recognize I’m off somewhere, I almost immediately try to discern what I need to do to fix it. But how do you fix the problem of always trying to fix the problem?

I’m not sure I have a good answer to that question. I tend to second-guess myself constantly, drowning in the what ifs and the maybes, making this situation somewhat tricky. But I think Psalm 23 may provide a way forward.

Some friends and I just began a study of Psalm 23. No matter how much time I spend in that chapter, I’m continually struck by the profound simplicity of the words. “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1). Throughout the Psalm, David expresses faith in the sufficiency of the Lord, recognizing all the ways that God cares for him. As we discussed the first verse the other night, we noted our great need and admitted the ways we fail to provide for ourselves. Apart from a shepherd, we would all be lost. But with a good shepherd, we have all we need. We rely on the Lord for provision, protection, and purpose, and he gives these lovingly.

I’m not good at resting in the Lord, but I serve a God who loves me and cares for me even when I struggle to trust him. So I pray for grace and mercy, I confess my weakness, and I look to Christ and his strength. And I hope in him, knowing that he will sustain me.


Photo by Caspian Dahlström on Unsplash

Words, Deeds, and True Obedience

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We live in a culture of busy Christians. I read stories of the stresses of pastoral ministry driving pastors away from the church and into sinful lifestyles. I hear the struggles of my fellow seminarians as they attempt to juggle the demands of school and ministry and work, often walking the edge of burnout as they long for rest. I understand the weight of many responsibilities, often feeling both burdened by the load yet unable to slow down. We whose lives are marked by busyness would do well to remind ourselves of Jesus’s words on the subject of obedience.

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Faith’s Effect

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Success is measured not in thought alone,
Nor victory in mind’s imagining.
Accomplishment is not emotion shown.
Fulfillment ne’er forsakes the offering.
But faith is evidenced by faithful deeds,
By empty pockets and by calloused hands.
It proves itself in prayer, in meeting needs,
In bringing light and love to darkened lands.
It stands against this present apathy
And challenges the heart of selfishness.
If Christ was crushed for sin instead of me,
Then let me never speak but to confess.
True faith compels me to apply the Word
And testify to Christ till all have heard.

Barnes & Noble and Bad Theology

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For as long as I can remember, books have fascinated me. I love finding a good novel and then spending hours in a quiet, undisturbed place to finish the work. I love noticing how different authors employ words to tell a tale. When I need to get away for a while and recharge, I usually head to Barnes and Noble. Give me a few minutes in a bookstore, and you’ll soon have a list of titles I’d like to read. I love books. I also apparently love hypocrisy. Continue reading