Humans have a tendency to look for short-cuts. We prefer to find the quick way, the most efficient and effective way. The long way round doesn’t suit us past the first time; a pioneer might thrive on doing the hard yards, but even a pioneer doesn’t want to do the hard way the second time through if a short cut can be found- Speaking from experience!
The difficulty we face on The Narrow Way is God is not too interested in short cuts. He wants our attention, and relationships aren’t about doing things the short way around.
On the Narrow Way, the most powerful place to live from is complete stillness; peace and rest.
It is the hardest place to learn to live in, the most difficult to maintain, and the highest level of Jesus’ power and authority we can live from here on earth.
It was the place Jesus himself lived from.
A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. Mark 4:37-38a (NIV) [also Matthew 8:23-27]
If you can sleep through a storm in the stern of a flat-bottomed boat while you’re being drenched by waves, you’re either completely at peace within yourself or nearly dead from exhaustion. I personally don’t think the exhaustion theory holds water (see what I did there!) If we are questioning Jesus’ ability to choose where and when He slept, then we are questioning His authority as God.
Rest isn’t a place of inactivity. It isn’t a place of abdicating responsibility, or losing all control.
It is instead the ultimate place of measured activity, self-control and understanding where the responsibility lies for any task at any time. We cannot do this, unless we are living from the continual Presence of the Mind of Christ, the continual direction of Holy Spirit, in continual communion with Father God.
Living from this place of rest brings with it a heavier weight of responsibility. We cannot live in this kind of relationship with God and not be held responsible for our side of that relationship.
It one of those things we cannot back away from. A state of being in relationship with God which changes the nature of the way we live in and interact with the world.
But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way. Luke 4:30 (NIV)
Mark 11 Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey with a crowd of people (who were super excited), looked around the Temple and went away for a day. The next day He came back and overturned the tables and called them all thieves and robbers. If He had done it the previous day, there could have been an uprising. Jerusalem was full of people for the Passover feast, but He waited for the excitement to die down before displaying His anger.
When we embark on the journey into rest, ironically, it takes a commitment to warfare to obtain it. We must fight our natural tendencies to maintain control, to worry, to think of other things instead of being single-minded, to allow temptations to pull us away, to do things that are out of the ‘good ideas department’ rather than checking what’s on God’s agenda in the moment.
In the beginning, it takes significant amounts of concentration, guarding your thoughts, minding your habits, turning your focus back to Him, learning His voice and carrying His Presence.
Then, it gets easier, quicker, Jesus and Holy Spirits’ Presence become more familiar, Fathers’ voice more familiar, we recognise when we have lost focus a little more quickly. It gets down to minutes, seconds, then milliseconds.
Drench your world in Praise and Worship, day and night, carry worship in your head, in your heart and on your tongue.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)
We don’t just need to fight against the enemy, but to fight against our natural inclination to do things the easy way.
Find and learn your identity verses- the verses where God tells you who you are, and your worship verses- the verses which tell of your Love for God.
These keep the reminder of our love alive and invite Jesus to pour Himself out on us and on the things we are doing together through the day.
The place of Rest is a place of deep communion with All Of God which defies the power of this world.
It is also place which completes this world, because it brings the created (us) into direct communication and relationship with the God Of All Things- the way it was supposed to be- the way He made things to be, way back before time began.
It fulfills our mandate. It completes creation. It completes the reason for the Cross and Resurrection.
We are not only redeemed and saved, but fulfilling the reason for our salvation, the completion of our redemption- Relationship.
Everything that is available in Heaven is available to us on earth; because of the sacrifice of Jesus; if we are in Relationship with Him. (Matthew 6:10 NIV)
Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest Hebrews 4:11 (NIV)
God Bless You Very Much