“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” –Matthew 11:28
When we do something wrong, we are sometimes obsessed with fixing our problems. When we sin against God we do not react dissimilarly.
However, Jesus does not demand we work to fix our problems. He invites us to rest in him. It’s scandalous and bewildering that the Father commands us who betray his son Jesus to repent, rest, and place our faith in him .
But pridefully we are prone to reject resting. We want righteousness on our own terms. We want to achieve a status of holiness by our definition instead of God’s. And we do this by creating our own standards of righteousness. Here’s a bit of a litmus test:
When you sin, is your knee-jerk reaction to first fix it on your own terms and by your own strength? Like Judas Iscariot, do you seek rest at the gallows – seeking to punish yourself? Maybe you try to find rest in completing your work instead of resting in the finished work of Jesus. Do you demand that others praise you for your work instead of seeking the praise and delight of your Heavenly Father?
The truth is that we will never be able to fix our mistakes enough, put in enough hours, nor garner enough praise from men to ease our guilt.
So one of the unfortunate realities for God’s people is that we forget what resting looks like. We forget who we belong to. We try to tip the scales in our favor with every task. We try to stack our righteousness, not just in corners of church, but also in our daily routines and duties.
We don’t have to try to do all of those things to be right. God sees us as righteous through what his son Jesus has already accomplished for us. This is why we are commanded to rest from our self-righteous endeavors to make ourselves good enough. And our resting is faith in Jesus. And this rest frees us to do our work without seeking righteousness in it. God has removed the scales of righteousness and offers us rest today. Stop working and start trusting.