The Perfecting Work of Patience – Part 2 Entering God’s Rest

 

The only striving the Bible encourages us to do is to strive to enter God’s rest (Hebrews 4:10-11). We do not use self-effort to arrive at any other phase of our Christian walk.

The reason we have to strive to enter into God’s rest is that it goes against our natural human tendency. Our pride and rebellion spur us on to do things our way, and submitting to God chafes our soul – our mind, will and emotions.

We want to feel accomplished and to believe that we earned the degree or trophy or crown of glory by our hard work and effort. The truth is that we will throw our crowns at Jesus’ feet, because we will finally realize that He, not us, earned and deserves them (Revelation 4:10-11).

In our free will, we can choose to disobey God’s Spirit at any time; but then we reap the consequences of sin, as well as discipline for our disobedience from our Father who loves us a His children (Hebrews 12:4-12).

On the other hand, attempting to discipline our self to walk in good works and obedience to God’s Word is often fruitless and counterproductive. The more we strive toward perfection the more our flesh draws us back into sin and rebellion.

We can only walk in perfection as we rely on the promises and Spirit of God (2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Peter 1:4). Our obedience to God is both inspired and empowered by His Spirit within us (Philippians 2:12-13).

“Let patience have her perfect work” (James 1:4-8) is not telling us to be patient or to get patience. It is simply telling us to submit to God and to allow patience, which is a fruit from the Holy Spirit, to do its perfecting work in us (Galatians 5:22-23).

This takes all the stress out of life for us. We walk in freedom and joy, with God’s peace in our heart regardless of circumstances; knowing without a doubt that God has a seed for a miracle in the midst of every trial.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that our part in our spiritual walk is simply to surrender to the work of Your Holy Spirit in our life. We are but a lump of clay, and You are the Master Potter (Jeremiah 18:1-6; Isaiah 64:8). You are our Alpha and Omega and You give us Your living water as we thirst for You alone (Revelation 21:6).

Teach us that the Christian walk is not about self-effort, but about submission to You first and foremost in all areas of our life. We concede to You in everything we think, say and do; and You direct our path (Proverbs 3:5-6). We walk in Your ways now and serve You for eternity in Your new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21:1).

Thought for the Day:
By trusting in God to save and to perfect us in every way, regardless of the circumstances of our life, we enter His rest and remove all stress from our life.

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Godly Intimacy

Through Salvation, we are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, regenerated by His Spirit, sanctified in our soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions – and transformed to walk in a new way of life (1 Peter 1:19; Titus 3:5; 2 Corinthians 5:17).

God gradually draws us to the ultimate realm of intimacy with Him. He enables us to step out of our humanity and to walk in the divine life of the Spirit of God within us (2 Peter 1:4; Galatians 5:15-25).

God’s Spirit perfects us from one level of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18). He abides in our spirit, once He justifies our spirit, and then He gradually sanctifies our soul (Romans 6:6; 1 Corinthians 6:11).

As we decrease, Christ in us increases (John 3:30). The world has no more power over us, because we are no longer attracted by it (Galatians 6:14).

We do not live to fulfill our passions and goals, but we enjoy our intimacy with God and submit to Christ as He accomplishes His purposes through our life (Galatians 2:20).

We do not even work for God, because we simply allow Christ to live in and through us instead. His truth inspires us and we are compelled by His love (2 Corinthians 5:14, 11:10).

We make Jesus the Lord of our life and follow His Spirit’s direction each moment of our life (1 Peter 3:14-15). In our union with the Lord, we are one with Him in Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17).

We live, move and have our being in the power of Christ in us, so that we glorify Him with our every thought, word and deed (Acts 17:28; Philippians 1:19-21).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You so much for teaching us to walk in love, just as Jesus walked in love and sacrificed His life for us. May we reject the temptations of this life and live as a fragrant offering to You instead (Ephesians 5:2).

Remind us that our whole purpose on this earth is Christ, who is our life, and that to leave this world and to enter the next is truly for our advantage (Philippians 1:21; Colossians 3:3-4). We surrender our goals, aspirations and plans to You, and we ask You to guide us in Your will for our life.

Thought for the Day:
From the foundation of the world, Christ gave Himself on the cross according to the will of God, in order to indwell Believers and rescue us from slavery to sin in this evil age.  – Galatians 1:4

Alone With God

How often do we plan to spend some time alone with God, and some earthly distraction looms before us, demanding our undivided attention? We look wistfully at our little prayer chair or prayer closet or secret place and feel the draw of God’s Spirit on our spirit. However, the world pulls our soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings – away from our Beloved Father.

Whenever God claims our attention, Satan makes sure that our mind wanders and our affections are torn. We cannot even finish the train of thought in our prayers before demonic activity highjacks our attention. God longs to liberate us from the demands of our temporal life and to set us free to soar with Him in the spiritual realm. He wants to remove us from our busyness and give us His rest (Hebrews 4:10).

Martha, Jesus’ friend, was distracted by the duties in her world too. She demanded that Jesus order Mary, her sister, to help her to get dinner ready. Jesus told Martha that Mary already chose the best course for her time. There would be plenty of opportunities for domestic activity when Jesus was not in their presence (Luke 10:42). Our duties are always with us too; so schedule time alone with God.

God wants our undivided, focused attention with our vision and thoughts on nothing other than His face. Then God comforts us, inspires us, directs us and loves on us from the depths of our soul. We must jealously guard this time, setting it aside every day or even several times a day. We also commune with God without ceasing all throughout our day (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Prayer:
Father God, You call some of us to the ministry of intercession, and Your Spirit prompts us to lift up certain ones in prayer. Yet, we also spend alone time with You, because in Your presence is fullness of joy and pleasure forevermore (Psalm 16:11). You mold us by Your grace and replace our carnal flesh with the fruit of Your Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). As we contemplate Your glory, You shape us into the image of Christ, our Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Thought for the Day:
Much is accomplished in the spiritual realm when we make the time to spend in the presence of God.

Inspired, Fulfilled and Motivated

The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, gives us His spirit of wisdom and revelation so we can fully know Him. He enlightens the eyes of our heart, so we may experience our hope in His calling for us. We have many riches in the glorious inheritance He prepared for His Saints. He showers every authentic, Born Again Believer with the incomparable greatness of His mighty power (Ephesians 1:17-19).

Jesus did not leave us as orphans when He returned to His glory in Heaven. Although He is with our Father, He also dwells in us and He promised to return for us in the future (Acts 1:11). Even though the world does not see Jesus anymore, authentic Believers will see Him, because He abides in us (Galatians 2:20). When He ascended to Heaven, Jesus asked our Father God to give us His Spirit as our advocate (John 14:26). His Spirit is our guarantee that we will live with God for eternity (Ephesians 1:14).

God only gives His Spirit to those who love Him. The Spirit keeps and guides us through every day of our life. He helps us and lives in us forever. Those who are not Born Again cannot accept God’s Spirit. They do not believe in His existence, so they cannot know Him intimately like we do. God’s Spirit delivers us from our self, and helps us to love God by conforming us to the image of Christ and helping us to keep God’s commandments (John 14:15-21; Romans 8:29).

God and His Christ loved us while we were still sinners, and Jesus promises that He will show Himself to those who love Him (John 14:21). We do not work for God in our flesh, but we are filled with His Spirit and do only those works, which He pre-ordained for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). God fills us as we follow His Spirit’s direction. Communing with our Father keeps us inspired, motivated and fulfilled, as we walk in the Spirit and live in God’s will each moment of our day (Galatians 5:16-25).

Prayer:
Father God, thank you for not leaving us as orphans in this world (John 14:18), but for giving us Your presence and Your Spirit to love, guide and comfort us always. We rely on You to keep us in submission to Your will, so that we can live a victorious life in Your grace and mercy. Thank You for communing with us in our spirit as we pray. Keep us ever mindful that you are near to those who love You (Psalm 91:14).

Thought for the Day:
Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord. – James 4:10