“The promise of glory is the promise, almost incredible and only possible by the work of Christ, that some of us, that any of us who really chooses, shall actually survive that examination [of standing before God], shall find approval, shall please God. To please God . . . to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness . . . to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son — it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is.” – C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory.
A childhood friend of mine would tirelessly seek distraction. Food, entertainment and even his friends were used to keep at bay a constant and urgent need to be… elsewhere. One day he confided that his parents had divorced before he was born and he did not know his father. All those years, he was consumed by a desperate search for anything that would drown out the deafening silence of neglect.
This desperate search is actually quite common among believers and often disguises itself as busyness.
Many believers find themselves resembling either the older brother in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son, or Martha who tried to be the perfect host. Both do good works and miss Jesus.
This kind of striving is incredibly damaging. Instead of obeying God out of love, work is done in an effort to earn the approval and acceptance of our Father. When this doesn’t work, resentment begins to sink its roots in our hearts. Accusation follows, then anger.
The lost see believers who point to Jesus as the way of salvation, but speak without love. The worst damage is dealt at home, where families live in a cycle of striving and indulgence, the kind of escape my childhood friend ran after.
Our culture has conditioned believers to live out of their own strength. The perception seems to be that if you are not completely spent, then you aren’t doing it right; that exhaustion itself is a fruit of righteous living.
Then why does the psalmist remind us that the Good Shepherd “makes me lie down in green pastures” (Psalm 23)? Why does he write about trees planted by streams of living water? We are meant to have a peace that surpasses understanding!
Pause and think prayerfully about this. How frustrating, even infuriating is it when somebody cuts you off in traffic? What’s your response when the wifi fails and your favorite show is interrupted? What happens when someone or something gets in your way?
We rage at this when we are starved for intimacy with God. Until we go to Him for approval of who we are, based solely on the grounds of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we will never find rest.
God did not create us for the purpose of performing works that earn His acceptance and approval. Jesus’ work on the cross has made us acceptable to Him. He delights in you! Accepting this truth is the only way to find peace with God.
Jesus’ blood is precious. It is enough to make you a delight to your Heavenly Father. You don’t need to keep running. You can rest in Him.