Rest and the Gospel
John Calvin is often quoted as saying, “From birth, our hearts are idol factories.” We hit this planet in pursuit of the created, searching for what can be found only in the Creator. When I ask people how they are doing, they often reply, “busy.” We define ourselves by what we do rather than by what Christ has done. The result is that we are weary and restless. We need more than just a day off. I find myself coming back from a week’s vacation needing a vacation from my vacation. A day (or week) off is not enough to give my soul the deep rest it longs for. Jesus gives us this invitation in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” I find within my soul that I am weary and heavy laden by the endless pursuit of idols. Every idol promises you life—to its fullest—but in the end causes you to sacrifice everything in pursuit of it. The cost is often seen in everyday weariness. What we really need to do is rest in the Savior who has sacrificed everything for us up front and can give us life and life to its fullest every day, as well as for eternity.
The gospel gives us that rest. The pursuit of idols is a relentless and endless pursuit of acceptance whereas the gospel gives us a position of acceptance in Christ Jesus. We already have in Christ Jesus all the acceptance, security, and hope that every idol promises, but can never deliver. The gospel frees us to work from a position of acceptance versus in pursuit of acceptance. The first leads to rest, the latter to restlessness.