Lately I have received more than a few questions about rest. How can we rest in the Lord? What does that mean? The other question which I have heard often is: can a person really live holy? Why do people call those who seek to live holy “sinless perfectionists”?
I see a lot of Christians living in constant turmoil and doubt, so it is apparent these questions need answering. If this seems unrelated, let me use a natural example to show you just how they tie together. It was during a recent hike up the side of a mountain that this came so clear and it is my sincere hope to shed light on this most important topic: Rest and walking the light of the Lord.
“Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people.
Do you see that rest, trust and righteousness are all related in the light of Scripture? At the bottom of the trailhead this thought came to me; how many have looked up, daunted by the task of climbing further, how many have turned back? How many people do this spiritually? When overwhelmed with the idea that we can live holy, even perfectly before God, how many believers turn back to grasp hold of some philosophical refuge (imputed righteousness, etc.)? Will God merely judge our philosophy on the great day or has he not promised to judge our actions, our works? If they turn back can they still be considered ‘believers’?
To be certain God has called us to be holy and Jesus commanded us to be perfect. We must understand this, if ever we want to have true peace with God. “There is a way which seemeth right…”— the temptation to turn at the beginning of any challenge is very strong. However, anyone who consistently falls to this temptation will never grow and will never overcome the troubles this life will furnish. At the same time, hubris will destroy a person which is why Jesus told us to count the cost!
Two weeks earlier, we had parked the car at the same trailhead it began to rain. Looking back at the intensity of the hike I am now glad we decided to wait, as we would have been a muddy mess trying to climb the final parts of that trail! This is similar to our walk with Christ: in that sometimes we must wait on Him for the timing of when to do things. If we press ahead without Him we may find ourselves muddy with failure. Christian perfection is not sinless perfection. Temptation is not removed, therefore, neither is the capacity to sin. When we enter into any new situation we must be wise, as Peter admonished us, to “pass the time of our sojourning here in fear”. If we sin, the opportunity of salvation is not automatically removed unless we allow our heart to be hardened to reproof. Consider the theme verse of the first epistle of John:
 Rv. 2  I Pt. 1:15-17  Mt. 5:48  Pr.14:12  Lk.14:25-32  I Pt. 1:17
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” -I John 2:1
The thought that stops so many is; can I live a life without sin? The Bible says consistently, yes, you can. Through Christ you can do all things. Still, why is it that many turn back here? Just as many turn around at the foot of the mountain, too many turn to some vain philosophy when posed with this question. The truth is that this reveals the nature of their mind, this is evidence that their mind is still yet carnal. We are told to put on the mind of Christ.
 Rm. 8:4-6  Ph. 2:5-11
“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
This is a serious thing, if we turn back, how can we expect to be saved? Is it not our flesh which fears failure? As I stood in contemplation at the trailhead all the dread ceased upon the first few steps up the trail. Isn’t this just the same in these spiritual battles? Have you ever been in a situation where you had to ‘mortify’ your flesh? When you did this did not your spirit soar? This is why we ought to contemplate the Scripture as it will accomplish both the killing of the flesh and the empowering of the spirit. Remember on the road to Emaus, how the disciples (who were very discouraged by Jesus’ death) were visited by Jesus who they didn’t recognize. As he upbraided them, reminding them of the Scripture, they were encouraged. They said, “Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
 Lk. 24:18-3
“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”-John 6:63
What does it profit a man to gain the world? The flesh and all things pertaining to it will pass away, and what of your soul? We must not be, as a deer caught in headlights, but must put one foot after the other in faith. Standing on His promises, there is guaranteed victory. After letting go of the dread of doubt and amazement the foot of the mountain posed, I become consumed in the pursuit of the peak. When you are on the side of the mountain you can no longer see the peak so well and it becomes needful to focus on just the steps in front of you, this is one of the keys of holiness.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
How do we overcome temptation? One sure way is to prepare ourselves, as servants of God, searching for ways to build the kingdom of God. This we do by following the Scripture which tells us to serve one another in love. This endeavor will lead to a righteous life as anything less will quickly appear unbecoming and detrimental to our cause. We are not usually aware of every part that is in play, but if our heart is pure we will see God and will blend perfectly into the tapestry which is His perfect will. The kingdom comes first, and the rest follows naturally. “Take no thought for tomorrow”—as I’m hiking I am not considering what will come up further down the trail, the obstacles in front of me are enough to occupy my attention. We must cast our cares on Jesus.
There was a point that we came to in the hike where there was a fork in the trail. We were about midway up the mountain, just above the fog-line. Looking off the side, the fog looked just like a frozen lake which apparently led to another mountain off in the distance. There was a small trail which headed in this direction, which seemed somewhat inviting. I began to think of the old saying, ‘the trouble with deception is that it is so deceiving’. It was at this point we remembered our commitment and turned to the upward way. Many are swayed when the tribulations that Jesus promised come. Too many are ‘tossed about by every wind of doctrine’ looking for an easier way. Jesus warned us saying strait is the gate and few find it.
 Jn. 16:33  Ep. 4:13-14  Mt. 7:13-14
“But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”-John 3:21
The next thing that I saw was at another fork in the trail. There was a large group of people gathered which had come from a different direction. They had professional gear and appeared to be a lot more skilled in hiking. Being polite, they offered to allow us to go ahead of us. We declined knowing they were prepared to move much faster than us, we would have only hindered them. So, we took the time to catch our breath, as this was the beginning of the hardest part of the trail: the final ascent. Many people get caught up trying to keep up with others, however, holiness like hiking is not a competition. The first commandment calls us to love God with all of our mind (not someone else’s), we are responsible only for the light we are given. With all our heart—I must cast aside every imagination of being what I am not and be comfortable being the person God made me. With all of our strength—let the weak say, I am strong, I must resist the urge to try to keep up with someone else. We must make our ascent toward the holy hill individually, stopping to take rest when necessary. Each one of us will face judgment alone and if we will allow God preeminence in our lives, we will be presented on that day without spot or blemish.
We were almost to the top, when I spied a log which seemed comfortable for sitting. I thought we could finish; my body was wiped out from the final grade. It was then my brother exhorted me: just a little further. We need each other for fellowship. What an amazing sight we beheld as we walked just a few more yards and the woods opened to a clearing and we could view the valley below. The fog had lifted, and it was truly an amazing view.
If we are to accomplish the task which God has given us, we will need all of these things; to study/encouragement from His Word, commitment to our walk, focus on kingdom building, love for the truth, and love for the brethren/fellowship. Most of all, the battle begins and ends in praise! You have no hope within yourself to bring glory to God. Still, if you humble yourselves in the sight of God, He will exalt you!
A special Thank you to Brother Bruce Wakeman. God bless you for all your service to the kingdom!
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We should ever be about our heavenly Father's business.