Philippians 3:3-4 (NLT) …we rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort, though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could…
One of the secrets of Christianity that we have to learn is the daily habit of “resting” in God’s grace. God doesn’t want religion, He wants a relationship and there is a big difference between the two:
- Religion is what you do for God – which comes through your work and effort
- Relationship is what God has done for you – which comes through His grace
Paul says that we “rely upon what Christ Jesus has done for us,” not putting any confidence in our own human effort.
But there is a trap that prevents us from resting daily in God’s grace. It’s called LEGALISM.
Legalism is trying to establish our own righteousness through right conduct and religious rules but it invariably leads to private disappointment and public pride. Whereas grace is seeking God’s gift of righteousness.
How do I know if I am legalistic?
You will see and judge Christians based on different classes of righteousness like the different classes of seats on a plane. Christians who are really struggling to be good, you will call ‘economy class’ and those who never seem to put a foot wrong, you will deem ‘first class’!
The trap with legalism is we think we are becoming more Christ-like, but the opposite actually occurs – we become judgmental, picky and unhappy in life. In Philippians 3:9 Paul says I no longer rely upon my own goodness, instead, I trust Christ to save me. This is what “rest” is – it's a salvation that is not based on what you have to do, but what Jesus has already done.
How do I live out of this rest on a daily basis?
It does not come through your will power in trying to be good, joyful and positive. It comes by establishing spiritual disciplines in your life that result in a Spirit-led life, rather than being led by your natural, fleshy self.
When you establish spiritual disciplines like daily prayer, daily receiving God’s Word and fellowshipping with like-minded believers – these will give life to your spirit by allowing the Spirit of Grace (Holy Spirit) to empower you every day.
I have discovered all I really have to do each day, is set my alarm for my morning time with God. Then I discipline myself by getting out of bed. I then spend time in prayer. This awakens me physically and spiritually. It then leads into a time of reading God’s Word. And then my day is set. It’s amazing. I just allow the life and power that comes from these daily disciplines to go to work in my life. It’s called resting in God’s grace.
Why don’t you follow my example? Just set your alarm, then get out of bed when it goes off! It’s really not that difficult, it just takes a little discipline at the beginning of each new day.