The Sabbath Rest

In his book Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard states that the current Gospel has become a "gospel of sin management...Transformation of life and character is no part of the redemptive message." Many Christians hunger to live victoriously, but they are unaware of the possibility of a transformed character.

Yet the unrest in our spirits tells us there should be a way to live so that all our desire is to please God. The joy of living so deeply in Christ that our lives are characterized by a sabbath rest is a wistful longing even for many Christians. Fortunately, a life of rest in our spirits is the life God has planned for us.

In yesterday's devotional, I mentioned Sharon's moment of full surrender when she experienced that profound sabbath rest in her spirit. A couple years later I asked her to describe the difference in her life since that day.

She said, "In earlier days, when life was unraveling at the seams, and I had nothing to hang on to except God Himself, it became a matter of sheer choice to trust Him. I then would have, at best, an intermittent rest. Now it's an abiding rest. The rest is a gift from God. It is nothing I do other than keeping my faith focused on God."

The new heart God promises has a single motive! No longer is "sin within" causing an inner civil war. God changes our hearts so that we can say with Jesus, "I delight to do your will, O Lord; your law is within my heart" or, as Sharon said, "The desire to obey Him is as natural as breathing."

I praise You, Father, that transformation of life and character is a glorious part of the redemptive message!

"I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them" (Jeremiah 32:39).