“I understand,” I told someone recently. They had just tearfully shared their heart with me – a weary, burdened, unmotivated heart.
“I’ve felt dead in my faith. I’ve doubted God. I’ve longed for a relationship with Him. I’ve wanted to love the Bible, only to feel nothing after reading the words. I’ve desired deep, fervent prayer, but didn’t know what to say. Yeah… I truly understand.”
I have a passion for Jesus – for making His name known – because there was a time not long ago when I felt little in my relationship with Christ.
I wanted to be bold.
I wanted to pray big prayers.
I wanted to love the Bible.
I wanted to know Jesus intimately.
Only I felt stuck, dead, uninspired. I didn’t know why having a relationship with God felt so hard.
I walked around life feeling a bit hypocritical and a whole lot judgmental. I believed, but there were moments when God was nothing but an afterthought.
My Bible sat on my nightstand, unread and misunderstood.
My prayer life was nonexistent.
My understanding of God was small, weak.
And then I became incredibly lonely.
My husband and I – newly married and excited about life – moved 1800 miles from everyone we knew. We rented a little apartment in the middle of a little suburb outside of big Denver, and I quickly felt invisible.
People were around, yes. But I felt lonely. Unknown.
For the first time in my life, I didn’t just want a relationship with Jesus. I desperately needed a relationship with Jesus.
I opened my Bible not because I felt I should, but because I needed the life-giving, grace-filled words.
I prayed not because that’s what Christians do, but because I needed to talk to God, to be in His presence – to know someone was listening.
I fell in love with the early morning hours of reading the Word because it became a lifeline in the midst of feeling unknown by everyone around me.
Don’t get me wrong. My husband is a gem – seriously amazing and super good at loving sinful ole me.
But my husband couldn’t help me with the hole only God could fill.
My desire for a relationship with God was quickly fueled by desperation rather than obligation. And for the first time in my life, I understood what God meant when He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
The “hard work” of being a Christian was quickly replaced with deep, grace-filled rest.
I don’t have to read my Bible to be enough. I get to read my Bible because it is my greatest source of hope.
I don’t have to pray. I get to approach the throne with confidence, trusting that God hears.
I don’t have to attend church. I get to attend church because that’s where sweet community and growth of faith oftentimes happens.
I don’t have to do anything to be a good Christian, and that is the great news about the rest offered by the Lord.
“Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest.” [Hebrews 4:11]
When we respond with diligent faith, the sweet rest of grace follows. It’s not the put-up-your-feet-and-watch-TV kind of rest. Rather, it’s the understanding that we never have to work to self-justify again.The rest offered by God means we never have to self-justify again. #grace #restinChrist Click To Tweet
We never have to try to earn God’s love.
We never have to read the Bible for approval.
We never have to pray because that’s what good Christians do.
We never have to be “good enough”…
Because Jesus was good enough for us.
The rest provided by the Lord is this: the sweet, unconditional grace of God given to us when we diligently place our faith in Him.
“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” [Hebrews 4:9-10]
I understand the unfulfilled desire to have big, bold faith. I understand the pain that comes from loneliness.
And I also understand the freedom that comes from accepting rest from our God & Father – the rest of grace, acceptance, and unconditional love.
There is no striving to be good enough. There is accepting Jesus’ good enough for yourself.
And that, my friend, is the key to ending the “hard work” of being a Christian and entering into a life of big, bold faith.
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