Every religion in the world save one hangs the efforts of a person to obtain the ultimate aim of that religion. Every religion, save the Christian religion, is works based. In them, I must earn a deity’s favor by being good (however that religion defines “good”) and trying harder. Some religion’s require rigorous moral rule keeping, others require endless effort to “empty one’s self”, still others simply require the performance of a few set actions. But note again that it is all about what one can do.
Even modern day secularism (which is itself a religion, although it’s adherents try ever so hard to stay blind to that reality) is works driven. In a secular worldview, my efforts become all about bettering “the world” – be it my fellow man, the environment, or whatever. If I’m not contributing in some way to my own salvation then there is guilt. There is always some cause that must be promoted.
But the true God comes and gives a command that totally upends the mindset that one’s standing before God must be earned by our own doing. The forth commandment our God gives us is, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work…”
Let the strangeness of that sink in. God commands that we rest, that we cease from working and doing. Only the Christian can rest in peace, without a constant nagging guilt tugging at them to get back to appeasing their deity.
You see, we are not saved by anything that we can do, Christ has already obtain our salvation for us. “It is finished.” We live in response to what Jesus has done. All our efforts are not to appease him but worship to Him.
So, Christian, take a rest every now and again. Your Lord commands it, and in doing so, be reminded that He has commanded it to you as a gift to point you to the reality that you are not earning your salvation, but that it is given freely to you through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Lord, guard me from sloth and from busyness. Help me to keep the Sabbath in my life as I rest in the peace that comes from knowing that my sins are forgiven because of Jesus’ work. Help me to trust in your provision. Amen.