2022-01-23

Oxymoron in the Bible Gives the Secret of Victory - Hebrew 4:11

Hebrew 4:11 "labor to rest" seems like an oxymoron. But it is the great secret for our victorious and joyful living. It is about finding rest in Jesus' finished work so that we can labor from rest, without stress, without complaints, with acceleration, productivity, and satisfaction; working to give glory to God.

Let's look at Hebrew 4:11 

Heb 4:11 (KJV)  Let us labor, therefore, to enter into that rest, lest any man falls after the same example of unbelief.

(GNB)  Let us, then, do our best to receive that rest, so that no one of us will fail as they did because of their lack of faith.

Many translations use disobedience instead of unbelief, such as:

(ESV)  Let us, therefore, strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.

(NIV) Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.

The Solution to Not Falling:

The purpose of "Labor & Rest" is to make sure we don't repeat the failure of the Israelites in Moses' time. They fell because of disobedience with the disobedience coming from their unbelief or lack of faith. So the various translations do not contradict but give us more insights.

The secret is then related to when and how to "labor' and "rest". If we do it right, we will not fall like they did. 

"Labor" and "Rest" to Victory:

Ps Joseph Prince in his sermon (see  https://www.miltongoh.net/miltons-blog/put-aleph-tav-in-the-center-pastor-joseph-prince-sermon-notes) gives us an explanation:

  • "We must labor to rest in God. 

  • Someone who is controlled by emotions is easily manipulated.

  • Rest in the Lord. When you rest in Him, you will not be lazy or inactive, but you will be like the burning bush that burns up for the Lord, yet never burning out."

So it is about resting first - resting by believing in the finished work of Christ and receiving His grace empowerment and then to labor in God's glorying work and testimony.  But resting is not inactivity. Resting in the Lord is about reading, meditating His Words. It is about praying, listening, and fellowship with Him. It is about receiving instructions and wisdom from Him. It is quite busy. This is the labor to enter into His rest. If we don't find time and effort with Him, we cannot experience His presence.

After we get the rest and grace from Him, we can act out. Doing things according to His leading and with His help, we will be doing the right things rightly and with joy and satisfaction. If we just do what we think is good, we could be just chasing after winds and will feel tired and even grumpy. 

Lao Zi helps us to Understand Labor & Rest Better:

Lao Zi's DaoDeJing Chapter 63:

为无为,事无事,味无味.

Do as if Not-Doing, Work as if Not-working. Taste as if No-taste

(For a full and more detailed explanation see (http://mind-value.blogspot.com/2012/06/5-principles-for-success-in-life.html)

Meditating one step further, Lao Zi is telling Do the Non-violating against Dao/God's Laws and you will not feel the struggle and pains. Following the Dao/God's Way is always meaningful and satisfying. Like sailing with the wind supports. Going against the wind's direction will be a big struggle.  Do as if Not-Doing is like Doing from Rest. Resting on the wind's strength to carry you and it will be effortless for you.

Working as if not working is about working without the ulterior motive of gaining credits and honor or praises from people. Work not for the rewards but for the purpose and meaning of work and you will find the work worthy and fulfilling. 

Taste as if no-taste is to take our ego, our biases, our prejudices, and our desires for certain taste away, then we can really discover the original and natural taste. We will enjoy our food more.

So, let's us put Christ as our center, rest in Him by finding time and fellowship with Him, and receive from Him the directions and grace for our work with Him and for Him and also for our joy and satisfaction. Laboring from His rest will give us acceleration, productivity, and satisfaction and also bring glory to God. Remember God is glorified through our work and our testimony.

May God blesses you with a Victorious 2022 of rest(in Him) and productivity.

23 Jan 2022

2021-04-03

Yin-Yang and Easter - The Secret for a Victorious Life

Yin-yang is a key Chinese concept in helping us to think better. Let's apply it to Easter.

Yin is hidden, dark, dead...
Yang is opened, bright, life,...
Yin is Good Friday, the death of Jesus on the cross, carrying the sins of the world.
Yang is Easter Sunday, the resurrection of Jesus, overcoming death, the victory for us all.
The problem with some churches is the overemphasis on death, the sins sacrifice, ... Emphasis on sin does not bring victory over sins. Stressing on the resurrection, the power over sins help.
Oth, just stressing on the resurrection, the grace, without an understanding of its purpose over sins, may result in grace as a license for sin.
What is needed is therefore the understanding of both, the yin and yang, the sin that needs the resurrection grace. The Grace that brings us freedom and victory over sins and death.
The order is important too. The sin and death and then the victory over sins and death. It reveals first the love of God - while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The resurrection reveals the power of God, defeating sins and death, and more, that we all may become the children of God. We dead first to self and then made alive to live for and with God.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Remember that we are now children of God, the victors, that we can live out the resurrection power, freed from the bondage of sins, able to love and do good to others, reflecting the image of our Heavenly Father.
Have a victorious Easter and a God-blessed life.

Lim Liat (c) 3 Apr 21