Jesus’ challenge to those who mean business with Him is this: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Indeed, it is a heavy burden for us to carry the cross.
As Christ's last words on the cross put it: “It is finished.” There is no longer any need to strive with regards to salvation as we are saved by faith. Furthermore, we need not depend on our fleshly effort when we serve God but on the wisdom and strength which the Holy Spirit imparts to us.
However, the paradox is this: Living our lives from a position of rest does not imply we stop working out our faith. If anyone has any doubts on this issue, we should be reminded of Paul’s injunction: “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). Notice the effort and the reason for Paul’s inspiration: "That's why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ's mighty power that works within me" (Colossians 1:29).
- Work out your faith with fear and trembling: Philippians 2:12-13
- Keep striving: Philippians 3:12-14
- Run the race with discipline so we won’t be disqualified: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
- Bear fruits that befit repentance and don’t rest on your spiritual laurels: Luke 3:8
- Narrow and hard is the way to life: Matthew 7: 13-14
- Holiness requires effort; confirm your election: 2 Peter 1: 5-8, 10
We serve God from a position of rest (Isaiah 40:31). This is a panacea against burnout.
However, entering God's rest should not be equated with arriving at a place of complacency:
and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria,
and lounge on your couches.
You dine on choice lambs
and fattened calves.
You strum away on your harps like David
and improvise on musical instruments.
You drink wine by the bowlful
and use the finest lotions,
but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.