|Matt.11:28||Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.|
|29||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.|
This remains one of the most precious promises of Our Lord Jesus Christ; that He is both willing and able to relieve us of the painful drudgery of our earthly lives. The word "labour" has to do with all of those exhausting struggles to get money and maintain our lifestyles.
The words "heavy laden" speak of the pressures, fears, and responsibilities that weigh upon us, consume our thought life, and eat at our happiness. How many of us were THRILLED to find these words after we believed in Christ? We KNEW they addressed ALL of our concerns for the future: promising HELP and RELIEF in EVERY situation that we would EVER face.
Alas! For many of us, the trials of life have convinced us that it's JUST NOT THAT SIMPLE! There are, we are convinced, thousands, yea, even MILLIONS of other things we must attend to in order to find rest unto our souls. UNABLE to realize the promise; but UNWILLING to forsake the promise; we comfort ourselves with the conviction that things MUST get better....some day. By postponing the fulfillment of Our Lord's promise, and relegating it to just another REASON FOR HOPE, we resign ourselves to enduring "our share" of the misery and sorrow of mankind. And thus, we share the sad lot of the Godless millions: for they all hope that things will get better some day, too.
Everyone has HOPE: that by SOME MEANS their life will get better. Hope is NECESSARY, for without IT, we find no courage to endure at all. WE WILL; we will ALWAYS hope. Even when a man seeks death to escape the pain of his life, he HOPES that he will find some COMFORT in death.
HOPE and HUMANITY are INSEPARABLE; you do not need to believe in God to have hope. Even the Atheist has hope, though he may call it OPTIMISM. Even when a man has LOST HIS HOPE IN GOD, he STILL hopes that by some other means there will come relief and help. Hope is hope; and men will ALWAYS find or imagine reasons why they should hope. The wickedest man alive has hope. YOU have hope, and I have hope. The ONLY difference between these hopes is WHY we hope. The Bible tells us that there is a FALSE HOPE:
|Proverbs.11:7||When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish; and the hope of unjust men perisheth.|
The fact that one hopes is NO PROOF that he has GOOD REASONS for that hope, or that those hopes will ever be fulfilled. Hope is only extinguished in the wicked man when he DIES and comes to Judgement, and there, the WRATH of the Lord Whom he has snubbed, rejected, and despised destroys all of his illusions forever.
Even the righteous man can have FALSE HOPES for temporal things:
|Proverbs.13:12||Hope deferred (delayed or unfulfilled) maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.|
In every case it behooves us to BE SURE that we hope for the RIGHT THINGS and for the RIGHT REASONS.
YOUR perception of TRUTH is the foundation for ALL your hope. You cling to whatever you believe to be true about God, mankind, and the material world as the GUARANTEE OF THAT HOPE. Our hope is: that either 'something' or Someone will be disposed to favor our hope and fulfill it. If our hope is deferred, then we have to RECONSIDER: is God pleased with what we are hoping for? Does the Bible JUSTIFY and SUPPORT our reasons for continuing to hope? Should we GIVE UP on our hope? Should we HANG IN THERE no matter WHAT happens and INSIST that our hope shall be fulfilled?
The Bible tells us, that for the Child of God, there is one hope that is NEVER deferred:
|Romans.5:1||Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Our Lord Jesus Christ:|
|2||By Whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.|
|3||And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;|
|4||And patience, experience; and experience, hope;|
|5||And hope (the hope of the glory of God) maketh not ashamed (will not disappoint us); because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given to us.|
The first condition for the hope that will be fulfilled is that the SIN QUESTION is settled once and for all in our lives. This means that you have let The GOD of the Bible DECIDE what is bad and evil, AGREED with God about those things, and have believed that God...gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him might not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). You must believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins, and that by doing so, He saved you. The sin question being SETTLED; you have access by faith (continuing to believe the revealed Truth of God) into this grace (God's gift of enablement), wherein you stand (are able to endure, hang on, survive). For it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Phi.2:13)
IF you are INDEED in this grace, your HOPE then becomes a hope of the glory of God: you hope that GOD WILL BE GLORIFIED in your life. This means that you will RENOUNCE your hope in whatever will NOT bring GLORY TO GOD, so that you no longer... live the rest of your time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God (1 Peter 4:2).
|2Cor.5:15||And...He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them and rose again.|
If you, by a True Faith, have entered the grace of God, then YOU KNOW that GOD LOVES YOU, and you ARE ABLE to PRESUME that God is GLORIFIED by your happiness and success. This does not mean that you have an ARROGANT CONFIDENCE about what you hope for, but that you believe that no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11); and we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
|Heb.10:35||Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.|
|36||For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.|
Many start out FULL of CONFIDENCE that God is going to grant their request; but if it doesn't happen SOON ENOUGH, they lose patience with God. Either they GO SOUR on God, and doubt GOD'S GOODNESS; or they reveal that WHAT they ASKED FOR was not REALLY important to them anyway. We may have to do the will of God FIRST; before we receive our request. We may have to CHANGE in some way, so that WHAT we ASKED FOR will not harm us or confirm us in OUR FAULTS. Jesus said:
|Matt.6:33||But seek ye first the kingdom (reign, rulership) of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.|
If YOU truly LOVE God. . . .YOU want God to HAVE HIS WAY in YOUR life. You will NOT be eager to GET anything that would in ANY WAY challenge His PERFECT WILL for YOU; or that would not GLORIFY God. What gives God GLORY, is when OUR lives demonstrate the sufficiency of His provision for us through Christ: and how can we do that, except we walk in victory? And what "victory" is it, that is not accompanied by moral excellence and by doctrinal purity? What kind of "victory" is it, that does not strive for more holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord (Heb.12:14)? and what holiness, that does not hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matt.5:6)? and what righteousness, that does not seek to learn and do the perfect will of God (Rom.12:2)? THIS hope; the hope of the glory of God; is the ONLY hope that ALWAYS finds fulfillment in the life of the Child of God. THIS hope maketh not ashamed; we are not EMBARRASSED and HUMILIATED by any DELAY in the fulfillment of that hope.
|1John.4:14||And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us:|
|15||And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.|
How humiliating it is when you boast to yourself or to others about what you EXPECT God to do for you; only to find yourself reaching for explanations and excuses when it doesn't come to pass! Sometimes the Children of God will continue to DEMAND something from the Lord that is NOT GOOD for them. They remind Him OVER and OVER again of His PROMISE to GIVE THEM whatsoever they ask for (Matt. 7:7), and sometimes He will yield to their persistance and give them their request; but send leanness into their soul (Psalm 106:15). Many a man has prayed, demanded, and rampaged his way into a situation he later learns to regret.
What MISERY it is to know that you ARE a True Child of God; and yet you ALSO know that you ARE NOT experiencing that rest that Jesus promised. Observe that a CONDITION is put upon receiving the promised rest:
|Matt.11:29||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.|
Taking Christs yoke upon you is to join in His labors. We are NOT TOLD to become "immobilized" and DO NOTHING. This is NOT a cessation of activity, but a CHANGE of activity; and though we may be LABORING STRENUOUSLY, we can still FEEL and experience that rest, For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). God supplies the ENERGY and the MOTIVATION for us to do His good pleasure. Inactivity is not rest, but DEATH. Dead things don't DO anything. The APPROVAL OF GOD is the "spice of life", and when we KNOW that we have it, EVERYTHING WE DO IS FUN!
Jesus said: Learn of Me. We can only do the things that God approves of in THE WAY that God approves of. Jesus said: The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life (John 6:63). The FIRST PLACE you should look to learn of Jesus is IN THE BIBLE. Those words that He spoke are FAR MORE than ADVICE; they also contain the POWER to transform your entire outlook on life, and to fill you with DRIVE and COURAGE. YOU CAN TAKE HIS WORD FOR IT.
What are the things that we all hope for? They are HEALTH, SAFETY, COMFORT, PEACE, LOVE from others, and a sense of DIGNITY and SIGNIFICANCE. . . . . .right? ALL of these things are provided for by the Word of God REVEALED and MADE PLAIN in the Christian Bible. Our failure to obtain the THINGS that we need or want is either because we don't care about "the will of God", or we refuse to seek them through Divinely Prescribed means. CASUAL references to promises of peace, joy, Divine HEALING and miraculous PROVISION rarely lead to fulfillment. If you insist that God MUST heal you of your illness BECAUSE you found an isolated "verse" that promises healing, WHILE you REJECT or IGNORE everything else in that same Bible about how to BE and STAY healthy; you are attempting to dictate terms and conditions to God. God is not pleased to confirm your hypocrisy in regard to His Bible, OR your WORLDLY WISDOM about health. If He were to do so, you may begin to think of yourself as authorized to teach your error to the rest of the world: you would likely go around teaching everyone else to do the same things you did! If you are young in The Faith or MISLED by pressure from others that you have no courage to resist, God will "bend His own rules" sometimes, JUST LIKE WE WILL for ignorant children. Our God is a WONDERFUL, KIND, and GENEROUS GOD. Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord (Psalm 107:43).
The reason why so few "church-going" folks have ever experienced that BLESSED REST that Our Lord promised, is BECAUSE they are concerned to keep the approval of their TEACHERS and their "Christian" FRIENDS, who have DENIED or IGNORED the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles in order to keep the respect of the world. And, by doing so they have rejected THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT and replaced Him with a "god who helps those who help themselves". THUS making God Almighty out to be the one who "takes up the slack" or "makes up the shortfall", and Who WILL NOT provide ANYTHING to us that we can obtain by carnal efforts. So, we have a READY MADE EXCUSE for why our needs are not met or our hopes are not realized: WE DIDN'T TRY HARD ENOUGH, or long enough. You can ALWAYS do a little more than you have already done; so there is NO WAY TO KNOW when you have completely done "your" share of the work, and can expect The Lord to do "the rest". Consider how this statement by Our Lord addresses this problem:
|Luke.11:52||Woe unto you lawyers (public Bible scholars)! For ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.|
The key of knowledge is KNOWLEDGE ITSELF; knowledge of the Truth. Instead of teaching what the Bible SAYS, they present to the Church the findings of science, the results of surveys, the advice of doctors, their own failures, and all the "wisdom" of this DOOMED WORLD. They stand up in the pulpits of our churches and spout off the SAME kinds of advice about your health, your family, and your money, as you were ALWAYS able to get from the godless, Christ-denying "intellectuals" that THE WORLD listens to. They leave you COMPLETELY SUBJECT to ALL the "laws of nature", ALL the "findings of science", and all "the laws of economics" in the SAME WAYS that these "laws" appear to control the destinies of the Godless. LISTEN, dear Friend, to the Truth that sets you FREE:
|Col.2:8||Beware, lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition (accumulated wisdom) of men, after the rudiments (elementary principles) of the world, and not after Christ.|
The Bible does not deny that there ARE "laws" of matter, but it DOES DENY that we REALLY KNOW them (Eccl.3:11): AND BESIDES, there IS a God of MIRACLES, and He can SUSPEND or OVERRULE them ANYTIME He wants to. Jesus Christ can STILL multiply the loaves and fishes (John 6:9) for you! There is nothing "unspiritual" about learning the laws of mechanics or developing a skill; but we should NEVER ALLOW the "knowledge" we have about these things to guide our lives or our thoughts in CONTRADICTION to the teachings of the Bible. This is a persistent subject in the Bible. Consider the implications of the following:
|1Tim.6:20||O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane (carnal, natural) babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called;|
|21||Which some professing, have erred concerning the faith. . .|
Is there any wonder why so many of those WONDERFUL Bible promises seem to be so elusive? We strive to achieve our goals in the WORLD'S WAY, and then expect The Lord to come around and "finish" for us what we could not do for ourselves.
There is NO comfort in being subject to all the MILLIONS of little "laws" of matter, of science, of health, of success, and EVERYTHING ELSE in EXACTLY the SAME WAY the Godless imagine themselves to be. This is a SLAVERY and a MISERY: for even those who exert themselves to the UTTERMOST to do ALL these things either COME SHORT in some critical way, or they are brought down to failure or ruin by something they didn't anticipate.
What AGONY! What INSECURITY! Why not just ABANDON all this worldly wisdom? READ YOUR BIBLE, not your book on proper diet. READ YOUR BIBLE, not some book on how to invest your money. READ YOUR BIBLE, not your book on how to have a happy family. GO TO GOD, or to a faithful Christian brother or sister if you're depressed, NOT to the psychiatrist. GO TO GOD about your future, not to a career counselor. Do you claim to be a Christian? PRAY and LIVE as if there REALLY is a REAL God, a POWERFUL God, a LOVING God, A GOD WHO CAN AND WILL RESPOND TO YOUR FAITH!
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