I was saved in 2002 when I believed for the first time that Jesus died to forgive my sins. I experienced the great joy of salvation. At that time, I did not promise to do anything for God but I had simply heard the Gospel about Christ’s love for me.
But after being introduced to the Christian religion, I was told that I had to read my Bible and pray everyday. I was told that I had to commit my life for Christ, then re-dedicate my life, do more for God, pray more, fast, repent, confess sins, read the Bible more, go to more meetings, do more, etc..
I thought I had to please God all the time. I made commitments to God. But when I failed I made re-dedications, only to fail a few days/weeks later. It became all about my performance.
I was praying 1-2 hours a day and still felt distant from Him, thinking He was not satisfied. I would spend most of my prayer time confessing my sins and asking God to make me more like Jesus.
I would read the 4 Gospels and try to “follow” Christ by obeying the Sermon on the Mount and the many commandments. It was very hard but I tried as best as I could. However, I always fell short being stuck in a constant cycle of confession and repentance. I would confess even the smallest sins in my thoughts and attitudes that were not Christ-like.
I would witness to strangers and hand out gospel tracts. I would attend Church religiously every Sunday and even in the midweek meetings, Church conventions, prayer meetings, fasting meetings, crusades, revival meetings, etc. I would listen to Christian sermons every day, in my car, even at work during breaks, etc.
I was trying to carry the cross everyday and I finally got burnt down.
Finally after years of struggle, the Lord Jesus showed me that He already carried the cross for me. He was not asking me to do all those things.
My mistake was that I was trying to attain His approval by all my works.
I learnt that God is not a taskmaster/boss demanding my labor.
But He is our Daddy who is at REST.
God is at rest because we believe in Christ. We are called to rest with Him in Christ’s finished work and not strive in our efforts.
Hebrews 4 “10 For he who has entered into his rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from his.”
He is not asking us to do all of those Christian gymnastics.
It is because Jesus already did everything possible for us.
He alone perfectly obeyed the 613 commandments of the Law on our behalf, so that we are righteous by grace through faith in Him and not by works.
He alone died for our sins – His death on the cross took away our sins.
Our apologies and re-dedications cannot attain forgiveness.
Our sins are forgiven only because Jesus died once to forgive our past, present, future sins.
He rose from the dead to declare us righteous – not our good works but His resurrection!
Hebrews 10 ” 9 then he has said, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He takes away the first, that he may establish the second, 10 by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 Every priest indeed stands day by day serving and offering often the same sacrifices which can never take away sins, 12 but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting until his enemies are made the footstool of his feet. 14 For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. 15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them: ‘After those days,’ says the Lord, ‘I will put my laws on their heart, I will also write them on their mind;’” then he says, 17 “I will remember their sins and their iniquities no more.” 18 Now where forgiveness of these is, there is no more offering for sin.“
The Law demanded all the works but man could not do it.
This is why God made a New Covenant where Jesus Christ did everything.
He made us PERFECT forever by one sacrifice. He will never judge us anymore!
Therefore we can REST with God in His Rest.
Dear believer, God is not your Boss, but He is your Daddy.
God is at Rest with us if we believe in Christ – that is all there is!
There will be times when we won’t feel like reading the Bible or praying, etc. But God still loves us the same everyday because we are in Christ based on His finished work!
His love for us is because we believe in Jesus and not what we do for Him.
Christianity is not about we have to do for God but what Jesus has done for us.
We are called to relax in Christ’s finished work.
The Christian life is not a set of rules and regulations. It is about relationship with our Father knowing His love and letting His love guide us instead of our own efforts.
God is not counting the number of times we read the Bible, pray, go to Church, etc.
He counted the death and resurrection of Christ as the sole qualification for loving you!
Therefore we don’t try to live by rules or commitments to God but live based on His commitment to us in Christ!
Follow your heart – be led by the Spirit in you – not by regimented demands and commitments.
There are times when we will be led to do the things of God. And it will feel great!
But there are times we will not have interest in the Bible or going to Church – we will feel “blah” – it’s OK – we are just human beings. Don’t beat yourselves up. Don’t question your salvation.
That is the time to remember that Jesus made you perfect by His death and resurrection and not your works! It’s the time to rest in His unconditional love.
Dear believer, God is not mad at you! We are God’s children and not His employees.
He loves you, not because of our works but only because of what Jesus did for us!