Be a Tree: Rest
One of my greatest temptations is to try to fix myself instead of entrust ALL to God. Not sure why it’s still an issue, as I’ve seen over and over again that my efforts avail to frustration, failure, and bondage while God’s work has brought deliverance. Perhaps until now I never really took time to consider just how useless my efforts are and more importantly how contrary they are to God’s instructions to rest in Him, thus a sin.
I suppose to be Mrs. Fix-it tempts me because this philosophy is everywhere in our society and it speaks to our desire to be in control (to be able to have life go according to our will). It paints the illusion that the changes I desire are occurring. This is why the self-help philosophy (as many religions are) is so captivating, you feel you are doing something, taking control, thus moving forward. But, it’s an illusion and instead places huge burdens we can’t really manage. Feeling the sand bags on my shoulders is a sure sign I’m striving when I should be trusting God.
God calls us to rest, wait, and trust. His commandments aren’t burdensome. 1 John 5:3 His yoke is easy and His burden light. Matthew 11:30 When we live His way, we are trusting in Him and not ourselves to perform ALL things for us. Psalm 57:2 God’s way is the only way that makes any real significant transformation for good, true good, in our lives because only He is good.
God calls us to enter into His rest. If we don’t we are being disobedient. Hebrews 4:10-11 Entering into His rest means to cease striving from ours works in all things as He did from His. Could God be that good? Yes.
Most every religion is about your works, about “the law”; what you do in your strength to be who you are suppose to be. They’re about taming your self-desires so that you live a life that is acceptable and good (according to that religion’s definitions of these terms). But what God, the Creator, calls us to isn’t a religion of laws, but to die to our self-will ruling altogether and become a new creation that is a part of His divine nature. As a part of Him, we desire what He does. It isn’t living out some law; it’s living according to His will because it’s who we are as a part of Him.
God is the Creator, not us. He invites us to be a new creation by His design and power. It isn’t taming our old self; it’s all the old things passing away and all things becoming new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 God is the One who works in us. Phil 2:13 We are His workmanship. Ephesians 2:10 It’s a completely different way of thinking that is unlike anything this world offers, because it can’t. The world can’t create something entirely new, but God can and does in us.
God’s gift of eternal life, His life, is real and powerful. The manifestation of His Spirit in us comes little by little, not all at once. This pacing is His design to teach us numerous truths along the way; mercy, love, grace, compassion, humility, perfection of His will, and His sovereignty. Think of all the things we learn by going through this process and it not being immediate. If instant transformation was best, then that is how God would have created it.
Because it isn’t an instant experience, when my impatience starts to intrude, I want to take charge and speed things up. It doesn’t work that way. I’m not the Creator, God is. My part is to rest in His work.
God compares us to trees to teach us about His process of design in making us into who He desires us to be. The tree is in the seed. But the tree is far greater than the seed. We start as a seed. As we are planted in good soil, God’s truth, we start to grow. A tree doesn’t effort its growth; it grows because it’s planted in good soil with proper water and light. We are to let God grow us into the plant He created us to be in all our uniqueness as we abide in Him. We are to let Him be the authority in who we are and what we do. He is God after all.
What is our part then? To abide in the good soil, God’s Truth, and leave the rest up to Him. We are the tree. Have you ever seen a tree strive to grow differently than it does?
When I think about being a part of the divine, I imagine God’s pure and perfect love united to truth flowing through me into the lives of others. Every thought, word and action is governed by His love. My temptation is to try to do this myself or at least speed things up. God gave us a much a better way than our own efforts. He gave us His Spirit and by His life dwelling in us, it changes everything. God makes my love abound, not me. 1 Thessalonians 3:12 When I try, not only am I striving and not resting, trying to tame my rebellious flesh, trying to do God’s job, embracing a “religion” instead of the power of God flowing through me, carrying a burden that I’ll never fulfill, but I’m disobeying God. 1 Thess 4:9
Be planted in good soil, and leave the rest to God. When you do, He will grow you into who you are supposed to be. You will grow in the manner and rate that is best for you. You will abide in rest and peace because you are doing your part and trusting God to do His. It’s truly a much better way to live and the only way to true and abundant life.
God is faithful, perfect in His care. Let go and trust Him. Have no confidence in the flesh or in your ability to “create” yourself. He calls us to this rest and level of trust.
Be A Tree
Workmanship of my Maker
Letting go of being my own creator
A beautiful tree of His design
Fashioned to a new state of mind.
Resting in the soil of truth eternal
Is my daily labor for this small kernel.
Nourished to a majestic tree
Fashioned as no other to be.
His light shines ever brighter
Lifting my soul somewhere higher.
To the heavenly places of His domain
Releasing the strongholds of suffering and pain.
My life I commit to His hands
Destroying the wickedness by His plans.
Breathing in my soul His life divine
A part of His nature, one of a kind.
All my striving is in vain
For I’m not the Creator, but the slain.
Letting go I surrender to His mold
New life awaits as I enter into His fold.
~ Rachel DiPaolo
August 4, 2011
August 15, 2011 at 10:34 pm
Rachel… this is excellent! The growth “process” is God’s, not ours. The Maker knows what he is doing. Our misplaced “achievement” culture defines our worth by our doing and point scoring….gasp! how tiring .
Our true worth is in His plans…
11 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final
A renewed mind, a Spirit-led heart are His gifts for us to be conformed to the image of Christ.
August 16, 2011 at 9:00 pm
Hi Martin, Amen to that Martin. This culture truly is in opposition to the ways of God in so many ways – reinforces the importance of seeking His truth, The Truth.
August 16, 2011 at 6:20 am
Thank you so much, Rachel, for more excellent teaching. 🙂 It reminds me when He told me I didn’t have to worry about this and that, different immediate family members, or about finances. It was so wonderful! And immediately I was like . . .Lord, what am I suppose to do then, if all of these things are Yours to do? 🙂
God bless you and all that you leave to Him!
August 16, 2011 at 8:58 pm
Hi Debbie – it truly is amazing the rest God calls us to. His spirit will lead us to do what we need to each day as He is at work in us … it really is all Him.
August 17, 2011 at 7:10 pm
Rachel, this is a helpful article! A biblical image of believer (see Ps.1). I want to be that fruitful tree! On your first point, God calls us to enter His rest, the word obedient should be disobedient – if we don’t do that.
Thank you very much
August 17, 2011 at 9:04 pm
Hi Doru – Thanks Doru for letting me know about the typo – I appreciate it! I want to be that fruitful tree as well 🙂 Thanks for your comment.
August 18, 2011 at 7:23 am
Praise God that our sanctification is a process, Rachel, but I really think too that this is another problem with the church “system.” In my experience they rarely talk about God’s rest, but even if they do, they don’t demonstrate that they’re truly resting themselves – and it’s not too long before ‘works’ & ‘doing’ & ‘go’ come into the mix anyway.
Again, they can’t take their people to the place where they won’t go themselves. I had to leave the system before I could even begin to get insight into Hebrews 4:9.
August 18, 2011 at 4:40 pm
Hi Roger – much agreed about the church system. I experienced the same thing .. they look so much to themselves to do what is truly God’s work in many areas. It’s exhausting but more so contrary to the Word of God and disobedient. I lived with that mentality for years – but once out of the influence and open to truly learn the truth God showed me a much better way, His. Thanks for your comment 🙂
August 18, 2011 at 4:50 pm
Hi Ray – I just finished you latest post. Its great!
August 18, 2011 at 4:57 pm
Hi Alan, thanks. It’s such an important truth that truly changes our lives.
August 18, 2011 at 8:35 pm
“God calls us to enter into His rest. If we don’t we are being disobedient. Hebrews 4:10-11 Entering into His rest means to cease striving from ours works in all things as He did from His. Could God be that good? Yes.”
Yeah, that’s powerful. Gen. 2:2-3 Man entering and living in God’s rest was always God’s plan. He wants “to do it.” That’s why He made all the trees and plants, animals and stuff to “reproduce after their own kind.” In other words, He built in auto-pilot so we could be intimate with Him. His rest is unlike anything that I can describe. It truly is a delight and a luxury. Isaiah 58:13-14. (Don’t think “sabbath day.” Think of the sabbath day as an Old Testament type or model. Now, in the New Covenant, we live in the sabbath everyday.) Mark 2:27-28
August 23, 2011 at 10:37 am
Hi Eric – I find it completely amazing how God calls us to rest in ALL things … ALL the time – as you said its the sabbath rest we live in now and always through Christ. In the past month, I’ve just started to understand and experience the extent of rest He is calling us to. It’s a rest that requires a real trust in God – otherwise how can we let go? This trust comes from knowing Him by the power of the Holy Spirit. To know with conviction His faithfulness and His unfailing love. It’s a tremendous gift that leads us to live this earthly existance very differently from the world’s wisdom. How perfect His ways are.
August 19, 2011 at 9:06 pm
Important message Rachel–thanks for sharing.
I remember a pastor comparing the importance of waiting/resting for Believers to the harpooner in Mellville’s classic Moby Dick. The harpooner is quiet and resting admist the chaos as his small boat encounts a whale.
Melville states: “To insure the greatest efficiency in the dart, the harpooners of this world must start to their feet out of idleness, and not out of toil.”
August 23, 2011 at 10:42 am
Hi Slamdunk – It’s an interesting dynamic in true eternal rest that penetrates every area of your life… when you are resting in God, then your life is accomplishing more of what is according to God’s purpose than it ever did before in all your effort, because in the rest is a deep trust that follows God wherever He leads and submits to His work through you which is far more powerful. Brings to mind, Eph 3:20 “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,”
August 24, 2011 at 11:12 pm
Resting, trusting, waiting on the Lord. Those are the keys to growth in the Lord–along with abiding in the Truth, His Word, as we wait.
Insightful post. Hard to do because it does go against our tendency to “get into action.”
May the Lord bless you, Rachel, as you dig deeper into the Lord.
August 25, 2011 at 10:23 am
Hi Janis .. Agreed. Uur world’s philosophies are contrary to and battle this command of God to enter His rest in all things. But if we abide in the Truth, in the good soil, … God enables us to do what He calls us to by His power at work in us. Incredible His gifts to us!
August 31, 2012 at 10:41 pm
awsome sister!God bless you.in Jesus name