Entering His Rest!
It was August of 2009. I can still see myself standing in our kitchen in Gallatin, Tennessee, where I heard the Lord say, “The shaking has begun. If you can walk with Me through this regeneration process, it will end in a place of power for you on the other side.”
Hearing words like regeneration and power, I quickly signed on and fully agreed to this process God spoke about. I had absolutely no idea of the details, nor the cost of such an agreement.
Up to this point, I had served the Lord twenty years. Not one day had passed in twenty years that I had not walked in fellowship with Him. I had matured in my faith and served the local church in many capacities: Sunday School teacher of children, youth, and adults, youth pastor, president of the benevolence committee, choir singer, front-line singer, Wednesday night church director, women’s ministry, nursery worker, etc. From the outside, my husband and I were esteemed as seasoned, stable, faithful Christians and we were.
However, I tell you all of that to say this…You can be a Christian fifty years and never enter into the rest of the Lord I am writing about today. Hebrews chapter 4 explains it best:
9 There remains therefore a rest to the people of God.
10 For he that enters into his rest, must also cease from his own works, as God did from his.
Entering into the rest of God requires that we cease from our own works and labor:
• Striving to be good enough/and godly enough
• Striving for perfection
• Striving to forget our past and present failures/shortcomings
• Striving to serve/please everyone
• Striving for perfect church attendance and fitting into religious molds
As much as we hate to admit it, many Believers who truly love God are still caught up in the bondage of self-works and religious mindsets. Few seem to fully understand the huge difference between religion and relationship with Christ Jesus. Religion shames us into an endless punch list of rules and regulations that are impossible to keep in our own strength. It then keeps a record of our wrongdoings and reloads the reel of memories quite frequently. It forces us to compete and compare our lives against others, producing fatal judgmental attitudes.
Religion screams for us to “DO” instead of “BE”.
In 2 Corinthians 3:9, Paul refers to religion or “the law” as the ministry of condemnation. However, he further describes a relationship with Jesus through his Holy Spirit as LIFE. Oh, how accurate Paul was/is. You see, he had experienced this transition personally. Paul had dedicated his entire life to religion and works until one very special day when he met Jesus. There on that dusty road, he discovered the difference between religion and relationship. This process of ceasing from self-works in order to find true LIFE in the Spirit is known as Regeneration. Paul gave himself to the ministry of regeneration! It was his constant teaching.
Regeneration is the renewal of what “once was” or what “used to be.” In order to fully experience regeneration, the old must die. I know that isn’t something you really want to hear, but it is true.
My personal process of regeneration required the death of a seventeen year season in Tennessee. God relocated me to an entirely new geographical location and held me in isolation for three years. Privately, I suffered the death of two family members, the death of friendships, the death of religious mindsets, the death of judgmental attitudes, the death of several beliefs I had governed my life by, the death of wrongful identity, and the death of man’s applause and pride.
God led me to change my definition of church and true worship. I discovered that some of the best church services are when good friends spend the night with us on Saturdays and we awaken Sunday mornings to a fresh omelette bar prepared by Chef Steve. All while sitting around in our pajamas discussing life, exhorting one another by the Word of God, praying and prophesying. The Spirit fills our home!
Am I against the local church? Absolutely not! I love the local church and still attend in my own community. However, I have now learned that “we – those who are born again” ARE the true church and if I miss a Sunday or two my Father does not consider me a slacker as I was told. No, I can still fellowship with others or worship privately within the four walls of my own home.
True worship is not based on church attendance. Rather, it is revealed through a life that is wholly His!
I no longer fit into this BOX called “religion”. I now live a life of joy and freedom governed by Holy Spirit. Instead of being ruled by a long list of Do’s and Don’ts, I have discovered that the Holy Spirit of Grace enables me to live a life that is fully pleasing to God and not unto a system. My relationship with Christ guides me into a life of purity, passion, and peace. It is here that I have found His rest, the place He longs for everyone. My personal death has made me alive in Christ.
This fresh new place is worth it all!!!!!