But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.

Romans 4: 5

Some days are just hard working ones. These are the times when life demands so much effort that the soul often feels exhausted from it all. On days like this every ounce of creativity and even the longing to achieve personal goals are wrung out so completely that collapse into a stupor is the highest point of the day. When this is a description of our work life, it is a difficult reality to live in. However, it is a tragedy when this is the best that we can say about our spiritual life.

Paul knew from first hand experience that hard work and diligence weren’t enough when it comes to honoring God and to living a life that is itself an expression of worship. The Lord wants us to stop sweating and straining in our efforts to please Him. God tells us that we are never going to earn His favor by the intensity of our efforts. Also, work in itself is not a satisfactory way to attempt to win the world for Christ. Instead of our efforts, God wants us to trust Him and to allow His hands the opportunity to work in our lives. Then, He will perform the same work in others by using us as willing operatives.

There is an interestingly unworldly nature to all of this, for when I stop putting out all of the effort, my strength is increased. When I stop owning the outcome, my joy is multiplied. Christ wants us to be willing vessels that will carry living water to a dry and needy world. He provides us with the oil of salvation to spread lovingly on the wounds of sin so that healing can begin. So as we allow Christ to work through us, we too will enjoy the deep rest that only the righteous can achieve.