Have you ever read what kind of life the apostle Paul had in mind for all who follow Christ? Did he describe a life full of cares and stress that meets the demands of others more than our own needs? Although he said “our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day,” (2 Cor 4:16 ESV), it was certainly not his intention to burden us with that statement. Actually, I began to wonder as I read some writings in the past that implied here an exhausting life for God. To put it plainly, some people thought that running around day and night like a hamster in its wheel in order to preach the gospel, to feed the poor, to help others, to heal the sick, to… (fill in the gap with what you feel is a burden in your life) would be God’s will for us. Do we believe that God really wants to see us exhausted by our doing for Him?
The second part of the Scripture I just mentioned talks about the possibility of renewing our inner, spiritual self day by day. Does that happen automatically if we run around trying to serve God as we or others see fit?
Um, well…….not automatically. Indeed, we ought to do something so that we can be renewed daily. “Oh boy, another thing TO DO for God!!” one might call out desperately. No! Thank God, it is not so much about doing here, it is more about letting go of what is not necessary to be done by us. Instead, our God wants to give us what we really need when we are together with Him, seeking His calming and joyful presence that soothes our worried minds.
“Hmm… And how do we get there?”
The pattern was given in another Scripture by Paul, again, when he said,
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:1-4 ESV)
‘That is interesting,’ I thought today, as I saw that God primarily wants us to pray for others. Not so much doing anything, no, praying so that WE might lead a peaceful and quiet life. Looking a bit closer at that Scripture, it appears to me that prayer for people is the divine pattern to release His power to save them eventually, more than any of our “good” works without God’s leading involved.
Honestly, that was so relieving to realize. Settling back, praying for all people who come to mind and then enjoying God’s presence myself, I FEEL that this is the way to go (Is 30:21). Indeed, this is the way to enter His rest and to remain there, simply by acting on His tender nudges and only doing the “good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them,” (Eph 2:10 ESV) without ever leaving His peaceful and quiet presence once again. Wow!! What a prospect for the future… 🙂
We know that Jesus is THE WAY we should go because He through His Spirit guides us to the Father. If we more and more obey His loving (!) command- ments to do this and to drop that, we will see that His commandments are not burdensome at all because He is the One who pours His love into our hearts when we seek Him. Filled with the power of His love, nothing is impossible for us. We will gladly walk the way God chose for us beforehand. Even in the darkness, He will be the light that shines on our path. Finally, we will hear His voice more distinctly than others and we will rejoice in the knowledge of our wonderful and loving God and Savior who chose a, though difficult, but also glorious way to walk in. With these aforementioned thoughts in mind, I wholeheartedly agree with the quote by Dante Alighieri that says,
Follow your own road, and let the people talk.