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