Every time I turn the TV on it seems there is another commercial for some sort of pill that can take away anxiety, relieve depression, bring some sense of happiness, help you sleep and the list goes on and on. It has even gotten to the point that the first prescribed pills are now minor dosages compared to the newly prescribed ones and even that there is now add on pills that can extend out the desired feeling if the original prescription does not give one the desired outcome. This is the ways of the world in which rest and peace is always fleeting so new methods have to be developed in order to bring some sense of relief to many finding themselves on the hamster wheel of this vicious cycle.
I should know, before I became a Christian, I was diagnosed with as having manic bipolar disorder so true rest was not part of my life. Sure alcohol and other things would medicate it for a short time but it never brought real peace. There was little joy in life and for a while many around me were worried that I was going down the road to suicide. I remember thinking that if this is all there is to life then there becomes a tipping point when the pain and stress of life make it not worth living. My worldview was that of an atheist or jaded agnostic thinking that there is no real purpose to living thus if eating, drinking and partying were not giving me the desired happiness then why continue. Although many would give me advice and list of things I should be happy for it was always ridiculous when filtered through my atheistic worldview in light of my pain and the pain and suffering of billions in the world. Although death and especially suicide were extremely frightening to me it seemed a viable alternative.
Ultimately, I was rescued out of it by the only One who promises rest (Mat 11:28-30), Jesus Christ. Yet that started me on a different path where I knew God, and the purpose and plan for which he brought me to earth, but the true rest I had hoped to find was still not real in my life. It was definitely not like before, where I was having these enormous ups and downs, but it was always a sense of “I need to do more”. I was now on the religious treadmill instead of the worlds and there are many things these have in common. I could never be good enough, read my Bible enough, pray enough, be at church enough…religion (a set of rules) was being used to control my life instead of the Life of Jesus.
I remember the day when I was speaking to a brother over seas and told him of the problems I was having, what he said changed my life, he said:
“The way it works for me is that the more I believe in the reality of what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross the more substantial the Spirit becomes in my thoughts and desires.
The main aspects
of what occurred on the cross that increases my faith is all condemnation has been removed from me and placed on the cross. In the reality of this accomplishment I no longer look at my past.
As for apprehensions for an uncertain future, since I am now born-again, an adopted son of God the provisions that myself and my family needs is no longer for me to be concerned about. Simply receive what is offered or follow holy desires and God provides our needs on the paths that He leads us on.
That allows me to not look at the past or at the future. I am able to live in the present moment. In the present moment without fear of an uncertain future or guilt and shame because of a life of depravity is where we can abide in the Spirit”
I had known Christ as my forgiver even as my Savior, the one bearing my sins, my guilt on the cross yet I did not know Him as my life. My trust of Him was limited in what I understood of Him, in fact I was living a life of Christ plus my own goodness. No wonder I didn’t know rest, how could He give me (as a gift) the rest and peace of Him if I thought I could still obtain it by my works of righteousness. In fact the simplicity of living the Christian life was
swallowed up by thoughts of…if I could just get more knowledge about Him then I would have peace etc. Isn’t that works? Although I believed that justification was by grace alone, I then believed (as the judaizers did) that I needed to do something to attain from God. Isn’t that the ways of the world in a nutshell? Plain and simply that is not the ways of God.
God grants us peace, rest and all the fruits of the Spirit not by how hard we work or how much we learn but simply by abiding in Him (John 15:4-5). In fact the more we try and do on our own and work from our own power the more dead works (Rom 8:8) we are manifesting, the more religion we propagate (Col 2:23), the more we look just like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time.
The answer is simple; Trust Christ moment by moment, just like my friend stated, and you recognize more and more of His finished work in you (Col 1:27). The fact is you already have all the Spiritual blessings (Eph 1:3) now just believe Him and live (obedience) in the faith of Christ. Stop striving to do more and be more but allow Christ to live in you (Gal 2:20) and through you and you will find all that you could have ever wanted and more (Eph 3:20-21).