Working from rest (part one)

working_restWe, as the people of God, are called to work from rest. As the writer of Hebrews told us, this rest is where our faith intersects the promises of God (Heb.4:1-10). Simply put, we do this by abiding in Christ.

But when we don’t do this, we’re left with burdensome religion where there is no rest.

I get asked this from time to time, how do we do this “abiding thing” with our busy everyday lives?  To answer that question, I will share how I personally do it. But before I do that I need to convince you that we should do this.

One more thing. This post got exceedingly long so I’ve decided to split it into two parts. I will share some foundational insights here, then how I do the “abiding thing” while I’m busy with my everyday life in part two.

Abiding in Christ is the Christian life

First, understand that abiding in Christ is the only way you’ll find the Christian life. Everything else you might’ve thought was Christianity is something else–inconsistent and powerless religion that never delivers on its promises. Oh, people may be doing a lot in Jesus’ name. Nevertheless, much is no more than wood, hay and stubble.

Of course, you could argue the point with Jesus, but He seems to think that apart from abiding in Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).

And what part of nothing don’t we get?

Apparently, for most of my life as a Christian I didn’t get it. I made abiding in Him optional. You see, it’s one of many verses in the Bible we agree with but don’t actually believe. Rather, we don’t value because we have no mental grid for it.

So I did the only other thing I could do. I acted like a Christian and made abiding in Christ optional. I’ve since quit trying to act like a Christian.

It’s not a place you’re trying to get to, but a life you’re living from

Secondly, to abide means to stay where you’ve already been placed. And we’ve already been placed in Christ in God (Eph.2:6; Col.3:3; Phil.3:20). We’re already complete in Him (Col.2:10 AMP). We’re already included in the eternal “Divine Dance” between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (John 17:21-24).

Abiding is simply staying in this space by faith.

What do I mean by “staying?” Staying is a state of being–it’s bringing your thoughts into sync with the new heavenly reality of your life in Christ. It’s not a place you’re trying to get to, but a life you’re living from. And there’s a huge difference between the two.

The former is self-effort Christianity, the latter is His-effort Christianity.

The former is based in performance–feeling obligated to “pay God back” (called “dead works”- Heb. 4:9-10; 6:1). It’s relating to God by serving Him, tying to please Him or be accepted by Him. The latter is based in rest–living from a place of total acceptance and perfect love.

The former’s perspective is from earth to heaven–a natural view based on what one can see; the latter’s perspective is from heaven to earth–with spiritual vision based on what one does not see (1 Cor.2:10-16; 2 Cor.5:7).

The finished work of Christ means that our work is finished (Heb.4:10). For faith finds its anchor in what God has already done, not what He will do. I wrote about that here.

Abiding in His love is obeying

Third, abiding in God’s love is Jesus’ definition of obeying. I talked about this here. I want you to notice a pattern in the following statements of Jesus (bold-text added for emphasis)…

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you;
abide in My love.
If you keep My commandments,
you will abide in My love,
just as I have kept My Father’s commandments
and abide in His love.” John 15:9-10 NKJV

So, here’s the quiz. How do we obey Jesus the same way He obeyed the Father? You got it, abide in His love!

And Jesus calls that obedience.

Rest does not mean doing nothing

Finally, to rest in God doesn’t mean we lay around doing nothing. This is why it’s called working from rest. It’s an active place of faith and grace. But it’s the end of performance-based work.

And as Mike Bickle has said, lovers get more done than workers.

It’s about being aware, as much as possible, that you’re filled with all the fullness that fills God (Eph.3:19 AMP) and staying in this Divine connection. In fact, you may accomplish many things but it truly is rest because you’re being transported by His “exceedingly” great power that works in you (Eph.3:20).

And you have joy because there’s always fullness of joy in His presence (John 15:11). That’s usually how you can tell if you’re in a state of rest (as opposed to anxiety, burnout, worry, fear, frustration, etc.)

Challenges to working from rest

I have found two major challenges to overcome if we’re going to work from rest.

The first challenge is that we live in a world that is based on performance. Your work or school all expect performance. You are judged in this world by how you perform. So, everything about living this Christian life is counter-intuitive to the expectation you’ve been living under your whole life.

The second challenge we face is that we tend to compartmentalize our lives so much that we’ve overwhelmed ourselves with busyness (juggling this idea of having quiet time, prayer, Bible study, church activities, work, family, etc.)

But the Christian life (that gives life) is only possible when abiding in Christ is fully integrated into everything we do. For Christ is your life. I will talk about how to do that next time.


About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 42 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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20 Responses to Working from rest (part one)

  1. Justin says:

    Awesome and truthful post! I look forward to reading part two. Before I went into treatment for alcoholism God gave me a dream saying that the key to my freedom is in John chapters 15-17. 🙂

  2. Justin says:

    Reblogged this on iwanttobelieveingod and commented:
    Abide in Christ and find true rest!

  3. Ayanda says:

    Hi Mel,

    This is the first time I actually get a glimps of what this meant.

    As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you;
    abide in My love.
    If you keep My commandments,
    you will abide in My love,
    just as I have kept My Father’s commandments
    and abide in His love.” John 15:9-10 NKJV

    In all honesty I thought there were other commandments that were hidden somewhere in the bible that Jesus left. I thought the verse was talking about commandments we have to keep so that we can then abide in Christ.

    Just to be clear, when Jesus said “(IF emphasis on the if) you keep my commandments you will abide in my love” He meant ( when you abide in my love you will be keeping my commandments?”) Sorry feeling a bit cross eyed because that changes everything.

    PS. Thanks for getting back to me.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Yes, all obedience is found in abiding in God’s love. Pretty amazing, isn’t it! And the “if” is a promise–a “when” like you said. For everything must start from receiving God’s love. Otherwise, it’s dead works–using trying to love and obey God in our own strength. True Christianity is loving God with His love. Blessings.

      • gahihgi says:

        Hey Mel,

        Yeah it doesn’t really make sense the other way around. That’s kind of like saying to your child or someone if you do everything I tell you then I’ll let you live in my house, I’ll feed you, buy your clothes, etc. So until then you’ll remain outside. Many of us seem to think that’s what Jesus is saying. But if we’re already in the “house” then “doing everything” should come much easier.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Yes, that’s exactly it. Jesus already did everything required of us to be in house. Otherwise, it’s just a new version of works-based religion. We obey because we are loved, then we live His life, which is abiding. It can’t be the other way around.

  4. The juggling act is a trap I keep falling into, even though I know it’s not the way it is supposed to be

    • Mel Wild says:

      Yes, it’s just learning to see things a new way–integrating your life in Christ into every thing you do. And that change of perspective will help with the juggling too. 🙂

  5. “It’s not a place you’re trying to get to, but a life you’re living from.” Absolutely! This post is so filled with peace and comfort and GRACE! Oh, if we would only accept – keep our hearts and minds open and welcome His love, our hearts would be able to experience the fullness of all else He has to offer. Terrific post, Mel.

  6. Tim says:

    Great post Mel. I look for to Part 2.

  7. Cindy Powell says:

    “You see, it’s one of many verses in the Bible we agree with but don’t actually believe. Rather, we don’t value because we have no mental grid for it.” You are speaking my language. No other place to live from. So glad we are living in a time when so many folks finally seem more open to finding that grid for rest. Being weighed down for long enough will do that to you 🙂 Looking forward to the next installment.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Amen, I’m glad we’re living in this time too. It truly is a new awakening to who we are and Whose we are. Finding out “what would Jesus do” actually is. 🙂 Intimate relationship with God that produces real freedom and authority is replacing the cold stainless steel legal relationship with God that has produced drudgery and powerless religion.
      Your comments always appreciated. Blessings.

  8. Pingback: Working from rest (part two) | In My Father's House

  9. Pingback: What Are You Feeding? | unhiddenlight

  10. tcummuta says:

    Reblogged this on Loving God and commented:
    Great read

  11. Joan says:

    Will there be a part two coming up?

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