An End to Endless Striving
Key Verse to Read and Treasure
Bestill and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” the LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah. (Psalm 46:10-11, ESV)
Just as important as the things we gain when we abide in Jesus are the things, or ways we are liberated and released from. The things that fall away like heavy chains which are unlocked and we are set free. One of these that leave us is endless striving and panic that have left us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually exhausted for far too long.
The definition of striving is “to make great efforts to achieve or obtain something. To struggle or fight vigorously. To try very hard to do something or to make something happen, especially for a long time or against difficulty. To devote serious effort or energy.”
There is a good striving such as when we strive for excellence in some area. Maybe in our studies or on our job in a certain field. I witnessed my husband doing this as he studied for his doctorate in theology over several years, and our children do this as they have pressed to reach another level in their careers. Recently our son-in-law studied fervently for a test that would license him to write and process loans for homebuyers. God blesses our strivings for good things and those things that are in line with his will for us.
But there is another kind of striving God wants us to shed and resist which we will be freed from as we abide in Jesus, and that is the endless striving where at the end we have no rest or peace; nothing good is accomplished. Maybe we are striving after things that are not humanly possible like perfection or to be sinless. Striving to prove righteousness apart from Jesus which is impossible to achieve and enjoy. This is the striving that keeps us feeling defeated and weary.
There is no striving against God or with others that God will bless. We can strive for peace with God or to grow in our relationship with Jesus and be blessed but we cannot strive for war and injustice against others and experience rest. In the Bible we see many examples where countries strive against one another for more land or to exalt power over. If we are striving against the Holy Spirit because we do not want to submit to him that will keep us from receiving the “rest” God wants to bring us.
God told the Israelites to cease striving and know that he was/is God. He knew when they ceased their striving their wars would end, they would enjoy peace with one another and with God and their lives would be richer, fuller, blessed. God cannot bless our strife with its working against the rest he wants to lead us to.
The writer of Hebrews said there is a “Sabbath rest” God is leading us to enjoy. Rest in eternity will put an end to all our earthly striving but resting in the Lord right now will lead us to the abundant life Jesus promises (John 10:10)
Being “still” in the Lord, accepting God as Sovereign, Almighty, all-powerful, and submitting to his will separates us from a life of endless striving and leads us straight into the pasturelands of peace. Abiding in the true vine keeps us from striving after other Gods or seeking abundant life outside of Jesus.
The blessing of those who abide in Jesus and how they experience the blessing of God over their lives is enough to witness to the lost the God they serve is great and accomplishes great things in the lives of those who has ceased their endless striving.
Lord God, you have so much in store for those who have ceased their endless striving. I release my striving and pray for your blessing of rest and abundance. Amen
What are you striving after that keeps you from receiving the peace and rest of the Lord?
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