Christ-followers must start from a place of rest, not an attitude of earning.
Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.Jesus, Matthew 11:28-30
My coworker Barry began a discipleship group by saying, “When we enter a relationship with God, the first thing he does is have us sit down.” “Would you repeat that?” one of the group members asked. Smiles and nervous laughter turned to puzzled looks. I understood what Barry meant. Following Jesus must start from a place of rest! The Apostle Paul provided helpful perspective in his letter to the Ephesians. Paul said,
For he [God] raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:6Our spiritual rebirth gives us a seat next to Jesus. This changes everything. A transformed position of rest leads to power and strength. The old nature has been crucified and is dead. Barry wasn’t promoting cheap grace, laziness, or a life of no responsibility. Rather, he was echoing what the apostle Paul taught: in this body we deal with our weaknesses, but positionally our spirits are at the side of Christ. More than that, “Christ lives in me.”
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Paul, Galatians 2:20Watchman Nee said it this way:
The Christian life from start to finish is based upon the principle of utter dependence on the Lord Jesus. He will give us everything, but we can receive none of it except as we rest in him. Sitting is an attitude of rest. We only learn to advance in the Christian life as we learn first of all to sit down. To sit down is simply to rest our whole weight — our load, ourselves, our future, everything — upon the Lord. We let him bear the responsibility and cease to carry it ourselves. – From Walk, Stand
When we disciple others, this is the bedrock truth in which we ground them. It is the truth that sets us free from the bondage of earning God’s favor while often failing at it. Resting in Christ means confidence of the Lord’s pleasure, serving him because we are saved, not toiling to be saved by our merit. It means resting in Jesus rather than being exhausted in ourselves.