I wrote a post using this same verse last spring, but yesterday morning I had an unusual experience and woke up with the words of this verse being the first thing on my mind. It was a beautiful autumn day here in the Pacific Northwest and, since it was my husband's day off, we decided to drive to the beach. Walking beside the sea is my favorite place to talk to God. While I was walking He downloaded some thoughts into my heart about this verse that I hadn't written about in my previous post so I thought I'd share them here.
In order to return to God and experience the peace and rest that He wants to give us we have to relinquish ourselves to Him. To relinquish means to voluntarily cease to keep or claim; to give up. Since you are reading this post on a Christian website then the odds are that you have at one time asked Jesus Christ to be your Savior and Lord. You relinquished yourself to Him. But you and I both know how easy it is to, thought by thought, word by word, action by action, start running your own show again. Sometimes we have to return to that place of relinquishment. First Corinthians chapter six verse twenty says, "For you were t ; therefore glorify God in your body nd in your spirit, which re God’s." God has redeemed, purchased us, through the blood of His Son. We belong to Him. Going our own way and doing our own thing is not an option in the life of a Christ follower. When we resist Him, His loving direction, correction and leading, then we are, in essence, living in rebellion. A rebellious heart that is being resistant to God cannot be at peace and rest.
To return to God is repentance, which actually means to turn. We turn back to God and relinquish our rights to self rule to Him. Jesus, our Humble King, is our example. He was/is God, yet He was willing to lay aside His rights and become a human being. He humbled Himself to the extreme of death on the cross for sins that He, the Sinless One, never committed, for the sins of you and I. Philippians 2:5-8 says that we are to have the same attitude and humility as Jesus. Like Him, we are called upon to relinquish our rights to self rule and to confidently trust and obey the Father even to the point of death to self. That means we accept His wise leadership over us, even if it means not getting our own way or not doing our own thing. The joy set before Jesus is what gave Him courage to embrace His cross. The joy set before us can give us courage to embrace ours. Our joy is the inner peace and transformation, the inner rest, that comes when we are yielded to God's love and God's ways.
I know what it is to live in inner stubbornness, resistance and rebellion. I also know what it is to repent and to return to relinquishment. I can feel the difference between those times when my heart is stubborn and hard and when it is tender, soft, and pliable to God. When my heart is soft and yielded I am an easy recipient of His love and am able to be a channel of His love to others. Even in difficult circumstances I sense God's peace and rest. When I am being stubbornly resistant and rebellious my heart is hardened to God's love and I'm in no place to love others well because I'm too busy thinking about what I want! I can tell you honestly, doing things God's way really is the best way. It is the way to peace and rest.