Rest for the Weary

By: Gola Tiruneh, Missionary, Dean of Celebration Bible College, Medan, Indonesia
From: February 2009

As a young minister of the Gospel, I had great zeal for the Lord and wanted to do so many things - sometimes at the same time. When I saw how desperately the world needs to hear about Jesus, I did whatever I could to get the message out. I frequently went to the downtown area of my hometown, Ottawa, Canada, to hand out food and tracts to homeless people and to share Jesus with street kids.

On one such occasion, a group of us from youth went out to an ice sculpting festival on the famous Rideau Canal in Ottawa. I felt compelled to preach the Gospel. So I stopped all the people passing by until I gathered a crowd, and then I stood in the middle and screamed at the top of my lungs with tears flowing down my face “God loves Canada, and revival is on the way.” I was so desperate to see my nation come to Jesus. I heard about the promised move of God that is coming. I sang songs about it, read about it, and heard preaching on it. I then concluded that if revival does not come, there would be no hope for Canada.

In search for revival

I waited months, then years, for the anticipated event that would be the solution to all of our problems. But as the months and years went by, I became more and more frustrated because revival never came. We were told if the pattern is right, the glory will fall. So we worked hard to get the pattern right. I read about great men and women of God that God used mightily in the past and tried to imitate them. I also searched the Scriptures for promises of the great “move of God” at the end times. I proclaimed them and memorized them, but revival never came.

As a solution, many demands were put on us by well-intentioned brothers and sisters in the Lord to ever be pressing forward for that elusive breakthrough which will bring all of the things we seek and thus bring satisfaction to our souls. It was as if God was a cruel master who needs to be appeased through various rituals so that He would satisfy us with His blessings. I became so introspective and self-conscience which in turn made me sin-conscience. I fed on condemnation which made me walk upright for just a moment, then I would crash again. Condemnation can be a power motivator to live a holy life for just a time. Then when you crash, it’s even worse than before.

We were then bombarded with 7 steps, 12 keys and 20 secrets to a better life. So in response, I bought the CD albums, read the books, and literally ran across North America from one conference to another revival meeting hungry and thirsty for more. But yet again I failed to see change in my own life, let alone in my city. I become even more restless. “There must be more,” I reasoned, “there has to be more.” Then certain questions started to arise in my mind. Why hasn’t the prophesied move of God materialized? What’s the hold up? What is it going to take? What’s the price I have to pay for revival?

“No sweat allowed”

Now I realize that I was working hard to bring change to my life and my city in my own strength and wisdom. So God had to wait until I was totally frustrated and gave up before he started to reveal Jesus to me. God will stand by and watch as long as man is “sweating away” in his efforts. But when we stop, He starts. Did you know that the priests in the Old Covenant were not allowed to sweat? They were a picture or a shadow of a New Covenant believer who has totally rested from his own works and has totally relied in the finished work of Christ.

Then God jolted me with a revelation of the seated Christ. Do you know that Jesus is resting at the right hand of God as you read this sentence? God made Jesus sit, and there is no prayer or plea that would get Him off His seat. No wonder all my prayers pleading with God to move were never answered. He has finished His work to bring my salvation, healing, deliverance and all blessings while He was on earth. He was crucified, buried, resurrected, exalted, and He has been sitting ever since. Do you see Jesus now? Totally at rest.

The main point

As long as we are chasing seven steps for revival and running across the world to the next new thing happening, we will never understand what it means to rest in Him.

If I need 12 keys for my blessing, that indirectly means Jesus has not finished the work for my blessing - I have to add more works to His.Then I kept on reading towards Ephesians 2:6 and my eyes were opened. I discovered that in Christ I have also entered my rest. I am also seated with Him. So I reasoned, if Jesus is sitting down, I will sit down, too. No one is going to get me off of this seat. God made me sit down. You see, friend, in my frantic search for revival, I had forgotten the main point. “What is the main point?” you may ask. Hebrews 8:1 says: “The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of Majesty in heaven.” Jesus is the main point. He finished the work two thousand years ago. Now He rests. As long as we are chasing seven steps for revival and running across the world to the next new thing happening, we will never understand what it means to rest in Him. If I need 12 keys for my blessing, that indirectly means Jesus has not finished the work for my blessing - I have to add more works to His. Good news, friend, His works are finished. Anything else added to them are dead works.

“Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest…” (Hebrews 4:11). Now I know my response is to comply and cooperate with Him as He does all the work through me. Let Jesus take all the glory and no flesh boast in His sight.