We, 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).
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.