January 25, 2015
Race & Rest
Today, as we continue the series This & That, we hit week four with an interesting paradox of Racing & Resting. It’s a real-life paradox that we all deal with daily. Racing like crazed dogs in the effort to succeed and the desperate need to discover and experience rest.
So how do we run the race and find the rest needed to succeed? Well, I’m glad you asked: First – Let’s Run with Purpose – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.
27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
This passage give us 6 ways to race – and win…
#1 START – We’ll never here “well done” until we “Well Do”!
#2 – GROW – Philippians 3:14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. – He’s saying here that “I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”
#3 – TRAIN If we want to win, we must prepare. Life is full of unexpected events and we must be ready at a moments notice. If you want to excel as an athlete you must go into training. The same is true of following Jesus. We need spiritual workouts – Time in prayer, time in the Word, time in worship and especially TIME in GROUPS!
“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” — Benjamin Franklin
#4 – FOCUS – We do this to receive a crown that will last forever – 2 Corinthians 5:10 says: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
#5 – PURPOSE – Paul tells the Corinthian’s that they’re to run this race with divine aims and purposes. If we forget the outcome of our task, we will become bogged down in what we are doing. The goal isn’t to do church right – it’s to get Jesus right!
#6 – Perseverance – Paul uses the word “discipline” – I discipline my body – “discipline” – Without discipline, we are sure to fail. Discipline our minds – 2 Timothy 2:15; Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. The second is to Discipline our tongues – James 1:26; If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
You can’t finish the race without knowing how to rest!
Matthew 11:29 tells us what kind of rest we all need —-
In Matthew 11:29 we read Jesus saying; Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
We all need soul rest far more than we need physical rest. We need release from worry, release from tension, release from stress, from guilt, from fear, from bitterness, from anxiety. This is soul rest.
Why – of all the things that Jesus can teach me when it comes to needing soul rest do I need gentleness and humility? Because the two greatest causes of overload in our life are aggression and arrogance. That’s what causes us to get overloaded.
Our ego is responsible for a lot more stress in your life than we want to give it credit for. We go out and think, “I can handle this!” and we take on another responsibility. Ego and arrogance is why we try to control everything because we think we know better than everybody else. We think we know better than God.
As a result, we try to do it all. we try to have it all and we try to be it all while we try to please everybody. This is the opposite of what Jesus wants to teach us.
In verse 29 All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Jesus says, “I want you to take My yoke upon you.” Why does He use that symbol?
A yoke is a symbol of partnership
The yoke is also a symbol of control. When I’m yoked with Jesus we move together in the same direction and at the same pace. He sets the direction and He sets the pace.
In Matthew 16:24, the Message paraphrase, Jesus says, “Anyone that intends to come to Me has to let Me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat. I am.”
A Yoke is also a picture of Jesus’ teaching of the law – Light, easy, simple, attainable. Jesus’ could say that we should take on His yoke as light – as easy, because He did all the heavy lifting!
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 The Message
God makes this guaranteed promise –
“He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; He offers strength to the weak . . . those who wait on the Lord will find new strength.” Isaiah 40:29 & 31
Let’s Run the Race and Let’s Rest on Jesus. That’s a certain winner…Let’s Do This!