Summary: Excerpt from the book, Living Forgiven
To walk the way of forgiveness you must learn to abide in His rest. "Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." (Hebrews 4:11 KJV)
*In order to abide in His rest, you must labor and struggle each day to enter there.
You may be thinking, "I struggle at work, I struggle with being a good spouse and parent, I struggle with being a good neighbor, and now you say I have to struggle to enter His rest?"
*Day in and day out, you must aim to enter into His rest.
When you do step into the rest of His presence, He will pour His peace upon you. All your earthly struggles will seem to slip away. You must find His rest and you have to strive, you have to strain at it. In other words you have to work up a sweat to get into His presence! It can be the hardest thing you will ever do, yet you must take the time to get there because that is where you need to live.
I have a plan set up to read the Bible through in one year. It takes maybe ten minutes to get through a day’s reading-just ten minutes! And yet I find myself saying, "I don’t have ten minutes. I’m late already, so I gotta get on my way- now!"
*It is when you set your mind on Him that you find your rest.
You have to leave everything behind you and say, "I have to be in your presence, Jesus. I can’t go a day without You in my life. I need You, only You. I realize I can’t do anything on my own, in my own strength."
*It takes labor to enter there.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could close your eyes and just say, "Lord," and-poof!-instantly you could enter into His presence? All the cares of the world would disappear and everything would become wonderful! Then you could go back into the world and everything would be great, and you could walk through life in an eternal state of bliss. The reality is that you have to work at it to make it happen.
"Oh, but I just don’t have enough time," you may say. Listen! If it takes you fifteen minutes to read your Bible as a daily devotional and spend time with the Lord in prayer, then bite the bullet! Get up fifteen minutes early. That’s all it takes. It is an act of your will.
Isn’t it strange how we can talk on the phone for hours with our friends catching up on all the latest gossip? Or spend half a day watching soaps on television but have no time for the Word?
*The only way you can begin living as an "overcomer" is to "live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature." (Galatians 5:16)
Living by the Spirit is something you must do consciously each day.
For example, when you take a shower, you turn the knob for either hot or cold. You need to adjust each one in order to get the temperature you want. You can have hot, cold, or a combination of both.
*As a Christian, living by the Spirit depends on what spiritual faucet you turn on each day.
Are you going to be a porcupine today-with your quills set to fire-or are you going to walk in the "fruit of the Spirit?" (Galatians 5:22-23) The fact is, that’s under your control. You have the ability to turn it either on or off. You also have the ability to decide whether or not you are going to work at entering into His rest. Remember, you must strive to enter there. The rest of eternal life is not just salvation, but it is the rest of abundant life that you can find only in His presence.
It has probably been years since you were able to curl up in your parent’s lap, but think back to when you did. That is a memory worth recapturing! Such confidence, such peace. Or, remember when your kids curled up in yours? They would just rest there, totally content, without a care in the world. That is what entering into His rest involves.
*You just need to learn how to live in Him.
That’s where you will find His rest. That’s where you find His abundant life. But-it’s your choice.
"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him." (Colossians 2:6)
Some people live a defeated life; they feel they can never find rest because of what they have done. Listen! Focus upon Jesus, not your failures.
*When you appropriate the truth that you have died in Christ and that you are now dead, you will find your life more abundant. I never met a dead person who had a worry in the world!