Summary: Labor Day in the United States has traditionally been a day to cease from one’s labors and rest. God offers a lifetime of rest to all who will cease from their fleshly labors and enter His rest. Easier said than done! So, how is this possible?
Labor Day for the Rest of Your Life
Dr. Lewis Gregory
Introduction (personal testimony): Labor Day in the United States has traditionally been a day to cease from one’s labors and rest. God offers a lifetime of rest to all who will cease from their fleshly labors and enter His rest. Easier said than done! So, how is this possible? It is very difficult for most of us to give up on all our “so called good works.” I know it was for me. My thinking went something like this. “I’m trying as hard as I can, doing all that I can, the best that I can. It may not be the greatest (admittedly I was defeated), but I’m giving it all I’ve got. If all my hard work has only gotten me this far, just think what would happen if I gave up. Why, it would be a disaster, and I would become passive."
I. A New Approach to Living-Ceasing from our fleshly efforts in order to enter God’s rest is actually shifting from a works-oriented approach, to a grace-oriented approach to living. Ironically, many people have mistakenly thought that an emphasis on grace will lead to a life of passivity. The concern is that a strong emphasis on grace—which declares that the responsibility for our lives belongs to Christ and that He will take care of everything for us—will cause many to become passive. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
II. Passivity is Not an Option-When you truly realize your union with Christ you are not about to sit back and do nothing. Passivity is the last thing on your mind. Once you have discovered what it means to be a new creation in Christ, you are finally ready to do something of eternal consequence. As you begin to realize your true identity in Christ, it actually liberates you to an even greater level of activity—Divine activity. You are fully equipped for godly living. At last, you’re free to do what God has put in your heart to do.
III. Consider the Apostle Paul- Paul, the chief proponent of this truth, was no slouch. In fact, he was one of the most active Christians on biblical record. Here is what he wrote, “By the grace of God I am what I am . . . I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God” (1 Corinthians 15:10). Did you notice Paul said he labored much more than everyone else? He is not bragging—far from it. It is merely a statement of fact. Yet, in a sense, it is bragging, though not about himself. Who did Paul credit for such fervent activity? He emphatically stated that it was God who made him who he was, and enabled him to do what he did. He described this remarkable phenomenon as the grace of God. Paul declared that his labors were a result of God and God alone. He was bragging all right—on God!
IV. True Grace Results in Divine Activity-The grace of God does not result in passivity. Paul made it very clear that this life of grace, as a new creation, is anything but passive. He told the Colossians, “I also labor, striving according to his working, which works in me mightily” (Colossians 1:29). Paul declared that such a lifestyle is a labor, which involves striving, and results in work being accomplished.