Rest and Expectation

by Rick

Today we continue our series entitled, “Expecting the Word to Work!”  This is part 21.

 

We have been looking at the Parable of the Sower.  For over a week now we have been looking at the thorny ground in the passage.  Let’s get back to it again today.  Jesus said:

 

Others are like the seed planted among the thorny weeds.  They hear the teaching, but their lives become full of other things: the worries of this life, the love of money, and everything else they want.  This keeps the teaching from growing, and it does not produce a crop in their lives.”  (Mark 4:18,19)

 

For about a week now we have been focused in on the line, “the worries of this life,” or as other translations read, “the cares of this world.”  In our last message I also highlighted Mark 4:26-29, where we learned that the Word sown in our hearts will work, night and day, whether we are up or sleeping.  The Word is always working to produce a harvest, whether we understand how it is working or not, just as long as we don’t actively work against it.  When we worry, doubt God, or take on the cares of this world, we are actively working against the Word.  Our cares become weeds that grow alongside the seed of the Word and these weeds run the risk of choking out the Word.  This is why entering into God’s rest is so important. Let’s flow in this vein again today.

 

So what does this mean to you today?  A few things.

 

  1.  The writer of Hebrews told us that we must “labor to enter into God’s rest” (Heb 4:11).  He was teaching us that we should work hard on NOT working.  This does not mean that we do nothing while we are waiting on God.  Faith without works is dead (James 2:17). The point is to NOT take on the pressure to perform or produce God’s will.  This is not easy, because this world is programmed to put the emphasis on human ability and effort. In this world the “go-getters” will tell you that if you want something, YOU have to go out there and get it.  You have to go make it happen.  Under this scenario the spotlight is on YOU.  But when you live a life of faith, the spotlight is on God.  Living by faith, you must learn to NOT do something just because you can.  You must get to the point where you are resting in God and only doing what He leads you to do.  

 

  1.  Resting in God is not about inactivity.  Resting in God is not about doing nothing.  Resting in God does not mean you are not working.  Resting in God means you are working while you are resting.  You are working while you are trusting. You are not working FOR grace, you are working BY grace.  Living this way — doing only as you are led of the Holy Spirit — you can actually work harder and get more done, because it will NOT be you doing the work.  As Jesus explained, it will be the Father, living in you, He will give you the words and He will perform the work (see John 14:10, 12). This is how Paul was able to say that he worked harder than the other Apostles, but it was not actually him doing the work, it was the grace of God through him (1 Cor 15:10).  This is how we are supposed to live.

 

  1.  The highest form of faith is REST (see Heb 4:10).  Truly living by faith means you have accepted God’s Word, you are resting in what He promised, and you are ONLY doing what He leads you to do.  When you are this is point the Word can work in your life unhindered. The Word is free to produce a harvest, because you have not produced any weeds (the cares of this world, the love of money, or selfish desires) that are are competing with the Word.

 

  1.  Jesus said, “Do not allow your heart to be troubled” (John 14:1).  Just like you can ALLOW your heart to be troubled, you can ALLOW your heart to rest.  Faith is a choice, just like fear is a choice. You can choose to worry or you can choose to rest.  God will allow whatever you allow, so make sure you choose wisely (see John 14:27).

 

  1.  The Holy Spirit will lead you to live with an expectation of God’s manifestation.  Expectation is what puts your faith in-gear.  Without expectation your faith is in-neutral.  While it is true that the farmer does not need to know how the seed and the soil are going to produce a harvest, and while it is true that the seed and the soil are working even while he is sleeping, it is also true that the farmer lives with an expectation that the seed and the soil are going to produce.  Don’t ever allow your expectation for manifestation to wean or waver. Live everyday with an outstretched neck, in expectation that God will do what He said He will do in your life.

 

Closing Confession:  

Father, this is a season of expectation for me.  My expectation is tied to Your Word. I fully expect Your Word to work in my life.  I am so focused on You and Your Word that I resist worry, fear, doubt and unbelief. I reject the cares of this world, the love of money and the lust for selfish desires.  I trust in You, I take You at Your Word, and I enter into Your rest. I rest from my own works. I rest from my own ability. I no longer rely on human effort to bring things to pass.  I work, but I work by Your grace, enabled by Your power, and enjoying You favor every step of the way. Living this way I allow Your Word to work in my life and it produces a harvest IN me, WITH me and FOR me!  I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

 

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and prosper!

 

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