Disclosure of the hidden secret of life; essay by André Delage firstname.lastname@example.org
Rest! Unthinkable, you retort! This is for you, who are weary and burdened, especially my American Christian brothers and sisters who are going through the worse recession since the nineteen thirties. This is for all of you who are searching to reduce stress and anxieties caused by your present economic misfortune.
Have you lost your job (or about to)? Your home (or about to). Have you maxed out on your credit cards with high interest rates? Have you moved to an unfamiliar location? Is the family mood deteriorating? Are there fingers pointing? Moreover, when you find yourself alone in your room, on your knees, do you cry out to God in despair? Are you searching for answers, but thus far, find none? Does guilt invades your mind? Do you doubt your salvation? Are you searching desperately in your soul by asking "What have I done wrong before my God?" Why can't I receive the blessing that He promises? Subsequently, you lay down on your bed but you cannot sleep. Your mind keeps going on and on. Eventually, you fall asleep only to wake up next morning all stressed, tire, and restless. If that describes you, please, let me help you, as I wanted help when I was in despair even to the point of hopelessness. I have been there, and now I am at "rest" and continuously learning to stay that way.
Yes, even as a Christian I had gloomy thoughts. Presently, I am unemployed. I invested in establishing a vineyard, which yielded very little. We are deep in debt, and my wife works from home base for a company that has file bankruptcy protection. Her job is far from being secure. We moved to her hometown, far away from our children and grandchildren. Our vineyard is for sale hoping that it would be enough to pay out our debt. As you can see, life is not very rosy.
A huge part of my life I lived out in fear and in anxiety. I kept reading Ps 37 repeatedly; "Rest in The Lord". I wanted to believe; I believed; yet, I kept on worrying. I could not find "rest" in my heart, my mind and my soul, and especially my stomach. In Matt 6, Jesus instructs us not to worry. Nonetheless, I kept on worrying. "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" (Matt 8:26). Six times in the New Testament Jesus, mention "little faith". That only added guilt. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest"(Matt 11:28). I have listened to countless sermons, bible studies, read countless commentaries, and none have satisfied my need for "rest". I concluded that I was helpless. One day, I came across in Ray Stedman's archives the disclosure of the hidden secret of life. This is what I want to share with you.
Could the following statement from Ray Stedman describe your character and perspective toward life? Ray Stedman in "The Seventh Sabbath" commented; "Are you adequate? Do you find yourself able to cope with the situations in life into which you are thrust day after day, moment by moment? Are you confident? Are you capable? Are you panic-proof? Are you filled with fruitfulness, fragrance, and abundance? God's rest is designed to produce that. God said it would. He makes it available for that purpose and it is the only thing that will do it; there is no substitute.
I'm afraid most of us fit the self-description of someone who said he was a mouse studying to be a rat. By our best efforts we can rise to a high level of mediocrity -- inadequate, unable. Why? Simply because we are depending on our effort. We are either extroverts, confident that we can do things and therefore frequently falling flat on our face; or we are introverts, so afraid to try anything that we don't even dare show our face. It is all because we are looking to ourselves as our resource; our background, our training, our gifts, our talents, our education, etc. It either results in feeling that we have what it takes and can be confident, able, and powerful; or, as we look at ourselves we say, we don't have what it takes and therefore we can't take it and we won't even try. So, we become either over-confident and under-equipped, or under-confident and overworked, trying constantly to make up by activity what we lack in results.
If this describes you today, then this is for you. This is for all of you who are weary and burdened. This is for all of you who are not at "rest".
Ray Stedman continues; God knew that this would be our problem. He understands us. Nothing is hidden from him; he knows exactly the way we operate. Therefore he has designed an adequate provision for our weakness, teaching us how to operate on an entirely different basis, to no longer look to oneself but to look to the one who dwells within; to expect him to do something through you, using your mind, your will, your emotions, your feelings, but it is he who does the work. But unless you begin to count on his working, you will never experience it.
Right here comes the seventh factor, the one serious problem which remains. Christians say again and again, Why is this so difficult to do? Why do I have so much trouble? Why is it that Hebrews 4:11 goes on to say, "Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, that no one fall by the same sort of disobedience." Why must we work at this?"
I am not Jewish, however I lived as a Jew for over ten years, obeying The Sabbath Rest, all the festival holidays. I did not find "rest". I lived, as a Christian free from the Law, still did not find "rest". However, I did find the "Law under Christ" (1 Corinthians 9:21), in which after close examination, I did obtain "rest". This "rest" was part of Gods plan since the seventh day rest after the creation. It was prearranged for Adam benefit and for all following generations.
Robert W. Smith from a book titled, "Dying To Live" wrote, "….we must now seek to understand the mainline principle God has given us as the major, positive operating feature of life: how to rest while working. This one principle is the key to an effective and fulfilled life and is applicable for both preventive and corrective maintenance. It is another way of describing our walk of faith."
Wow, "to rest while working" and "applicable for both prevention and corrective maintenance". Can you believe this? It means that it is not too late. It is not too late for those who believe that they have reached the end of their rope. With Jesus, it is never too late.
Can you associate what the Law under Christ has to do with "Rest"? What does it have to do with keeping the Sabbath?
Robert W. Smith continued on saying, "I have several lengthy books in my library concerning the sabbath which completely miss the point, and there are sabbatarian sects that do likewise. Many have argued for lifetimes about which day to keep, thereby obscuring the real issue and missing the point of God's truth. The sabbath was a key issue with the Jews in our Lord's day, but neither then nor now does there seem to be much light generated as to its real significance. It seems that we tend either to overwork the subject in a legalistic nit-picking way or else to slide right by without trying to discover the real import of the sabbath."
Do you know what kind of "Rest" that God intended you to experience? Quoting from Ray Stedman, "Humans were made to operate out of rest, not out of tension, not out of anxiety, out of pressure, not in a rat race where we are always hounded and harassed and driven and hassled. These are exactly the opposite of what God intended when he made man. We were to operate in activity which proceeds out of rest." "It is given to us, among many other places in Scripture, in Hebrews Chapter 4, where the apostle reminds us that sabbath means "rest," and that this is a reference to the secret of life."
Does this means that, there is more than receiving everlasting life for those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God, more than guarantied salvation? Does it mean that "rest" is available now while we are waiting for Jesus return and, therefore we are able to live in the same condition that Adam benefited from before his disobedience?
We have been redeemed - free from captivity by payment of Jesus death. We have a new start at life, to a different life. Unfortunately, some of us (like myself) are still at the starting line, and others (like myself) are moving through life distracted by the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of the riches that choke the word, and become unfruitful (Matt 13:22).
Are we not encouraged to run with endurance the race that is set before us (Heb 12:1)? Jesus did not only restore our fellowship with God the Father but He also restored the "intended rest" Not only do we not work for our salvation but Jesus invites us to "rest" by allowing Him to do all the works in us. For what purpose? It is so that we may produce an abundance of good fruits (Matt 13:13, Jn 15:6, 16, Gal 5:22). It's that simple.
Ray Stedman continued on explaining, "What is that rest? Again Hebrews 4 tells us. In Verse 10 it says, "He who has entered into rest has ceased from his own labors, as God did from his..." (Hebrews 4:10 KJV). That is, on the seventh day of creation, God ceased from all work. He who enters into rest has stopped his own work and is resting on the work of another. So if you learn the principle of operating out of dependence upon God at work in you, and if you don't try to do it all yourself -- don't feel as if everything depends upon you, don't stew and fret and aren't anxious and troubled because you have got to get it done -- but instead learn to rest on what God is ready to do in you and through you and around you, and expect him to do it, then you are observing the sabbath as God intended it to be observed.
"Rest is available", but you must learn to rest. Here is an analogy: You receive a bicycle (new life) as a gift; you have to learn to ride it. You receive a DVD player as a gift; there also, you have to learn to operate it. However, how many of you (like me) still do not know how to set the time on the DVD player? Do you leave it blank or blinking? At on time, it was so annoying for me, that I put a piece of black electric tape on the display.
Jesus instructs us to learn from Him…. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29
Ray Stedman explains; "Rest is at the heart of everything that God does. All these feasts are a form of the sabbath and consist of one sabbath or of several. All this is to indicate that this is the greatest secret of humanity. The indispensable but largely unlearned secret of our humanity is to learn how to operate out of rest".
He continued on; "Some seem able to learn it, and from time to time we see someone virtually come alive and their Christian life is simply transformed by learning to operate on this principle. They lose their egotism, as extroverts; or they lose their introverted feeling of self-consciousness. They begin to do things and to enjoy them, experiencing the blessing and excitement of Christian living. Others say, "I see all this, and I want to do it too. I know what is said about how to rest, but I try it and it doesn't work. Why? Why do we fail?" I was of this latter group. I never could understand as a Christian why I was so miserable and insecure.
When did humanity lose that condition of "rest"? It was lost when Adam disobeyed. His mind became distorted when he chose to be self-directed. He is the originator of the spirit of the age, which I prefer to call the spirit of Adam better known as the spirit of "self-directed". It was then that Adam entered a state of restlessness.
Ray Stedman in "Was Adam for real" part of "Understanding Man", describe it this way;
That is the curse that fell upon man when he ate of the fruit in the garden of Eden. In a psychedelic way his mind was twisted and he thought of himself as God, and related all things to himself. But when man does this he introduces an eccentric element into life, into creation. The problem with our unbalanced world today is that we have an earth filled with several billion eccentrics! That is why everything is always going off in wrong directions.
The way Adam viewed life after his disobedience would be completely different. Look at the drastic changes that occured in his personality and perception toward life.
"Cursed is the ground for your sake" (Gen 3:17). Take note, the ground was created good and perfect, it did not changed immediately, but Adam perspective did. Now, he has to work for his food. He looked at the ground with malcontent; he is the one who actually curse the ground. What about us, do we not hate our jobs? Do we look at our job with resentment? No matter how hard we try to be nice at our job "since we are Christian", it is a continuous battle in our mind to put our best foot forward. It is so awkward to produce good fruits. Yet, Paul was content in any condition he found himself (Phil 4:11), Because he learned to "rest".
"In toil you shall eat of it" In Adam's mind, nothing will be easy for him anymore. Life is now full of obstacles. Adam easily get discourage and frustrate. Do we not get discouraged easily at what we do? Are we not complaining about everything and anything?
" Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you" In Adam's mind everything is against him. When things go wrong, he blames anybody and everything. Do we not feel the same way, and sometime it seem that everything and everybody is against us. Especially as Christian it seem that the whole world is against us. We blame the condition of the world for making our lives miserable. Are we not supposed to be a light in this world? (Matt 5:15)
" In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread". In Adam's mind, all the long days of his remaining life, his main concern will be to provide food for his well-being. He does not have the freedom to enjoy life anymore as when God did all the work for him. Is this you today; restless, worrying continuously about what you are going to eat tomorrow? Are you worrying about paying your bills? Does it feel that there are insufficient hours in a day to do all the things that needs to be done? Are you not living in constant disappointment that your needs are not being meet?
I addition, Adam lived in a state of regret. Remorse was high. Imagine, he was the top CEO reduces to work for a living. He was bitter for "missing out" on an opportunity, regret of what it could have been if…." Resentment was high and he passes it on to his family. This strong sentiment was pass on from generation to generation. There is a strong desire to return to the original condition of having someone else to provide for our need and to take care of us, as God did toward Adam. Do you have some regret of missing out in an opportunity in your pass? Does it not make you feel like a loser? Now you know where those feeling originated.
Ray Stedman in the Expository Studies in Romans, Chapter "Living Day by Day", describes the spirit of the age, as I prefer to define as "The spirit of Adam";
v It is for the advancement of self, such as "What do I get out of this? What's in for me?'
v The goal of all life is personal happiness. "The reason I work and live is to have my needs met, my desires fulfilled." ''I'm thinking of leaving this church and going to another one, because this one doesn't meet my needs.
v The spirit of the age includes also the methods of the world: rivalry and competition, getting ahead of the other guy, grabbing what's mine before someone else gets it, hanging onto everything I've got no matter what it costs in terms of hurt or pain to someone else.
What a miserable restless dysfunctional life. Are we not (or at one time) all like Adam? For some of us, are we not looking forward for a vacation or better, for our retirement, so that we could live off our pension cheque, free from working, to be at "rest"? Still, many never find "rest". From the poor to the rich, we desire "rest". We desire someone to take care of us, to make us happy.
Husbands look toward their wife to make them happy; wives look toward their husband to make them happy. We are never satisfied as if we are "missing out" on something. That something has been misrepresented by "the empty love tank" in each one of us. Now you know why sermons about God's love hardly made any impact on most of us. Love is not enough; we need someone to make us happy. Love we have, but "rest" we do not. "Rest" is what we are looking for. Only God can provide. We depend on God to make us happy, to give us "rest". Psychologists call this being dysfunctional, co-dependant. The unbelievers call that leaning on crutches.
Do you understand why we love it so much when someone those something nice for us and ask nothing in return. The joy is great, and we are uplifted. We feel special. That is what God offer. He invites us to let Jesus do the work. That is His joy. There is nothing wrong with that. It is much easier to give when Jesus provide the "rest".
Nevertheless, for some of us, are so wrap up with the spirit of Adam, that the first thing that may come into the mind when someone gives something is "what does he/she wants in return". Some even feel embarrass to say thank you or even appreciate the gift.
Now, let us look at Adam living condition before his disobedience so that we may have a greater understanding of the "Intended Rest" that God have in mind for us. God in a perfect ecological environment created Adam so that he could function in a state of "rest". "Rest" was institute on the seventh day and was outgoing; not as a one day weekly observant but perpetual.
Ray Stedman gives details, "The most outstandingly noteworthy thing that this passage (Genesis 2:1-3 RSV) indicates, which differs completely from the other days of creation is the absence of any reference to an evening or a morning. The record of all the other days of creation closed with the words, "and there was evening and there was morning, (a first, second, etc.,) day." But there is no reference to evening or morning in this passage. This helps to confirm what we have already seen in these "days" of creation: that these "days" do not primarily emphasize time, but development. The evening and morning were indicative of a developing process, beginning in a rather incomplete state and moving toward light. But on this seventh day there is no evening and morning. In fact, twice in this brief passage we find the word, "finished," occurring. "Thus the heavens the earth were finished" (Genesis 2:1a RSV) and "God finished his work" (Genesis 2:2b RSV). Obviously there is no need for development, no place for it. The work of God is complete on the seventh day, and therefore no evening or morning is mentioned….
The text says, "So ... God rested from all his work which he had done in creation," (Genesis 2:3 RSV). This is the last account of any creative activity. Man was made and then God rested, and there has been no creation since. Man is the last effort of God in creation, on the physical level. Therefore this sabbath, this rest upon which God entered, is still continuing today.
Let us understand the environmental condition that God places Adam. The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it (Gen 2:15). Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food (:8-9). God prepared the setting, the ecological environment. Adam did not have to prepare the land, "there was no man to work the ground, (:5)
Now, look at the works that Adam performed in that state of "rest". Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field (:19). God brought them to Adam. Adam did not have to look for them, go on a safari, climb mountains, and chase after them. No, the Lord brought them to him. Adam job was to give name with no specific criteria from the Lord, "He brought them to the man to see what he would name them". I do not call this hard work, especially when there is no mention of a dead line. God was performing the works, and Adam was resting on God works. Free from stress and anxiety. All his need was taking care off.
Would you like to be in that state of "rest"? Subconsciously, we all aspire to "rest". Would it not be worthwhile to learn from Jesus? Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Learn at letting Jesus perform the works for you.
It took 65 years for Enoch to learn to walk (at "rest") with God. After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years, and begot sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were 365 years (Gen 5:22-23). I just turn 56, and I'm just started to learn to "rest" in Jesus. As the saying goes, "Better late and forever". It is impossible to walk with God without being at "rest". Some learn quickly to "rest" in God, as was the example of Daniel, and his three friends. They were teenagers when taken captive and taken away to Babylon to become part of a three years training to learn the language and the literature of the Chaldeans (Dan 1:8-16). It was not the special dietary food, which made them smarter and brighter to govern successfully. It was "resting" on God to do the works (Dan 1:17). Daniel governed in a state of "rest".
"Rest" is available now as it was with Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Daniel, and many more. "Rest" always was available; furthermore, because we have been separate from the fellowship with God for such a long period, we needed a helper to teach us to attain that "rest". How do you acquire "rest"? It is simple. This might be a surprise, but that too is Jesus' work. You need to be attentive to the following.
Once you have accepted Jesus as your personal saviour and redeemer, it is His responsibility to bring you to a green pasture (rest). Jesus is our good Shepherd. He looks for a good pasture for His sheep. He found good pasture with plenty of grass (1 Chronicles 4:39). "The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want (Ps23: 1)". "I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (Jn 10:11)". Not only did He lay down His physical life for us, He also gives all His time and attention to teach and provide us "rest".
By grace you are saved and have guarantied everlasting life, but you are not at rest. Jesus will be looking for you. Actually, He is at work right now in your life to bring you into His "rest". "I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen" (at "rest"). If you are not at rest now, you are not of His pen. " I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one Shepherd Jn 10:16)". His sheep are members of His church. Some are already of His pen, they are the ones at "rest". He is going after those members (other sheep) who are not at "rest". The "other sheep" are not "the unsaved" as some has been taught. All His sheep are inside and outside of His pen. They are part of the same body (the good ground, and among thorns, the farm property, Matt 13:7,8). In Luke 15:4-7, shows how much more Jesus rejoice after one of His stray sheep is found and return to rest with the other sheep.
Some Christians are in a peaceful and restful setting and others are not. That is the reason why some members of your congregation seems to function stress free in their life and others do not. It is not necessarily sins that keep us from receiving His "rest" daily, but a matter of not learning the principle of coming at "rest" in the Lord. Sins confessed, are sins forgiven. That is the first fundamental part of learning to "rest". "Rest" is, learned. That is moreover Jesus responsibility to teach you. Are you a good student? Do you pay attention to Jesus life lesson? Are you conscious of Jesus presence and at work in you? Eventually, He will get your attention. Invite Jesus to live in your heart daily, and be conscious of His presence.
Ray Stedman explains it very clearly what is Jesus intention. "It is his job to give the orders, it is his job to make you know what he wants you to do. He may make some dramatic changes, or he may not. He may leave you right where you are, doing what you are doing now, or he may tell you to stop it all, at great cost perhaps, outwardly, and leave it and go some place else to do something else. But one thing is certain, one thing he surely will do, no matter if he sends you some place else or leaves you right where you are -- one thing he will certainly do: He will remove you from the spotlight, out of the center of things, he will enroll you in school. And do you know what the curriculum will be? "Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart," (Matthew 11:29b KJV). He will begin to teach you humility -- how not to be the center of attention, how to be content with letting someone else get all the credit. He will enroll you in the school that cancels out ego satisfaction. That is the principle by which the world lives, in its delusion. It is the thing that is destroying human life; the desire to be a god, your own god; to run your life to suit yourself. This can never be for those who are called to be Jesus Christ's -- "you are not your own, you are bought with a price" (1 Corinthians 6:19b-20a).
The reason why you cannot enter into the joy and glory and excitement of the rest which God has provided in ceasing from your own activities and resting upon his, is because, in some way or another, you are protecting some area of the ego, the self-life, saying, "This is mine; keep your hands off." As long as you do that you cannot have rest".
"Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone; but if it die, it brings forth much fruit." (John 12:24 KJV)
"Rest is the secret of human fruitfulness. As you consent to this, a wonderful thing will begin to happen. You will find rest. Jesus said you would. "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest." (Matthew 11:29 KJV). Rest, with all it implies in terms of fruitfulness and dominion; reigning, ruling, producing that which is worthwhile and satisfying in life. That is the secret of life. This is why Jesus said, "If any man will save his life, he shall lose it. But if he shall lose his life for my sake, he shall find it," (Matthew 16:25, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24). He will find rest, he will fulfill the sabbath for that is what the sabbath is. It is God's divine provision for us".
Do you understand why some of you are having such a miserable Christian life (just like me)? Are you not resisting? Are you not stubborn, and not wanting to learn? For some, salvation suffices, and keep on complaining about everything and nothing. The evidence is all here; I thank Jesus for opening my mind. I was a miserable and bitter Christian bearing no good fruit. I married three times, making life miserable to my wife. I thank the Lord for bringing into my life this present wife who had the commitment to make a difference in my life. She told me straight at my face, that for a Christian, I was a miserable grumpy old man. (That is a slap on the face) I let the cares of this world get to me (among thorns).
Remember the story of the Prodigal Son. Jack Kelley from gracetrufaith.com explain its meaning; Whenever a "prodigal son" takes off on his or her own, God works quietly to undermine the feelings of self-sufficiency, and the attraction of independence, nudging the wayward child back onto the path. This is the way a shepherd keeps the flock, and our Shepherd has pledged never to lose any of us.
I conclude with Robert Smith assertion, "Our Lord invites all who are tired of going it alone under a heavy load to join up with him. Do you see now what the sabbath is all about? "So then, there remains a sabbath rest [Greek, sabbatismos, the only occurrence in the New Testament] for the people of God" (Heb. 4:9). We find our rest by faith in our living Lord! He finds his rest in the obedient and loving response of our hearts as we keep on trusting him! Life is intended to be our enjoying him and his enjoying us!"
Recessions come and go. Jesus "rest" is permanent and sure. You do not have to wait for His return to benefit from His "intended rest". The "Law under Christ" as Paul expressed "I am under Christ's law", (1 Corinthians 9:21) gave me not only freedom, but also "rest".
Invite Jesus to live in you. Increase awareness, of Him working in you. Learning to "rest" is like learning to ride a bicycle, you fall off, but you get right back on. Looking for excitement, you take more risk, greater stunts, and then, when you fall, in pain you laugh.
Do not become discourage. Look, how long it toke Enoch, it toke him 65 years. Jesus is committed to see you succeed. Learning to "rest" is like a visit to the dentist. He instructs you to relax while he does the work. Mine you; some of you required a lot of denture work (wicked) while others need just a cleaning. Nevertheless, Jesus wants you to relax while He does the works. Jesus wants you to be fruitful. He wants you to sing and laugh at clouds that are so dark up above, just sing, sing in the rain…. You know the song therefore sing. ♫What a♪ glorious♪ feeling♪, I'm♪ happy ♪again♪. Thank you Lord. Amen. This is how we make a different in this world.
Reach for these books, and expository in which I quoted within this essay. They are available free. This is where they are available:
The Seventh Day http://www.raystedman.org/genesis/0310.html
God's Calendar http://www.raystedman.org/leviticus/0520.html
Understanding man http://www.raystedman.org/genesis/genesis1.html#chapt01
Robert W. Smith:
Entering God's Rest http://www.raystedman.org/leadership/smith/dyingtolive/ch13.html
Union and Fellowship http://gracethrufaith.com/selah/falling-away-a-study-of-hebrews-6/#more-6445 Part of a study on the Book of Hebrews
But the glory of the gospel is that when men are redeemed through faith in Jesus Christ they resume a balanced life, and everything relates once again to God. God now becomes the center of things. Though we may struggle to learn this, eventually all the thrust and purpose of the gospel are here, to put God back into the center of his world and relate everything in our life and in the lives of others to him and not to us. It does not make any difference how things affect us. The important thing is, what do they do to God?
Permissions: It is FREE to be use in any shapes or forms for the purpose to reach all Christians worldwide who are weary and burdened without discrimination. All right reserve to Jesus our Lord and King.