Hand It Over
You are at peace. Why? Because you have believed God and His Word and in doing that, you have put the control of the situation into His wonderful hands.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again, dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing okay? Well, I trust everything’s all right at your house today. And I want to go on with you as we wind up our discussion of the last few words in Romans chapter 15. Sometime ago as you recall, we started with Romans 12 in a verse by verse study of the practical application of the gospel as found in these closing chapters of the book of Romans. We were talking the last time we got together about Paul’s desire to have some spiritual refreshment.
Now remember, he said, “Strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.” What do I need to pray through about? Strive is our word “agonize.” That’s the Greek verb from which we got our word “agonize,” so you can actually read it, “Agonize together with me in your prayers to God for me.” When do you need really to strive, to agonize, to wrestle, as we say, in prayer? Well, first of all, when you pray specifically for a person and his or her needs, then you pray regarding the opposition of unbelievers.
There again you have to break through by faith and the power of God through the wall of opposition. And then another area where you need to pray through, to strive and to wrestle and to win in prayer is non-acceptance on the part of believers. Argument and talk and discussion doesn’t do it, but prayer does. Someone sent me a book about prayer two or three or four years ago whenever it was, in which there’s a story of a husband and wife who were having some difficulties in their relationship. And so they went to a psychiatrist, a man who was not really a believer and who gave them good counsel from his point of view which they tried to follow.
What he told them was, “Sit down and talk over all of your likes and dislikes and the faults you see in each other and all that. Just get it out in the open. Get it out off of your chest, so to speak.” Well, now I’m not putting down the psychiatrist. These are dedicated people who have been highly trained and who do their very best. And I respect them. But in this case, it turned out that this kind of advice didn’t really work because the more they talked to each other about each other’s faults, the farther apart they were.
And finally, it came to the place where after having spent some days in talking over each other’s faults, they decided maybe they ought to get a divorce. Well, someone suggested that maybe instead of doing it that way, they might well come to God together in prayer which they did. They began then to pray for each other and strangely and wonderfully, and yet not strangely, God the Holy Spirit began to work in their lives and drew all of them together and before long, those areas that they had seen as terrible problems seemed to be so insignificant after all.
Praying will make a difference in your relationship with other people. There is no doubt in my mind about that. If you dare to pray about a relationship you have, God will dare to step in to that relationship and modify it for His glory. Would you remember that, beloved? Praying about a relationship gives God a chance to step in and modify that relationship for His glory. Now, we talked about the fact that lack of joy in the will of God is a thing where you and I need to pray through, not to pray for the joy but to pray up to the point where we have said yes to the will of God.
Joy is a byproduct of being rightly related to God and to His will. And so, there again, he said, “That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God.” Say yes to God, dear friend, on whatever it is that you’ve been arguing with him about, will you? You know what it is, just dare to say yes to Him and say, “Lord, not my will but Thine be done.” I can guarantee you that the joy of the Lord will follow as a byproduct of that surrender of your will to His. Then, the last time we got together, we mentioned this need of spiritual refreshment.
It is a fact that God allows us to get dry and thirsty and fruitless and discouraged, in order that He might refresh us. He allows us to get hungry so that He can feed us. Had the children of Israel not gotten hungry in the wilderness, they never would have known that God could feed them with the manna. Had they not gotten thirsty, they never would have known that God could provide water from the rock. Had they not needed direction, they never would have known that God could direct them with the pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud.
Had they not faced enemies too big for them, they never would have known that God could win the battle. God allows us to get into these situations so that He can prove to us His greatness, His mercy, and His love. The prophet says, “Therefore will the Lord wait that He may be gracious unto you.” God waits until you and I are ready to appreciate His grace. And so there is the need of praying about this matter of spiritual rest and refreshment. There’s rest in the presence of God. “My presence shall go with thee and I will give thee rest,” God said to Moses.
There’s rest in seeking God. “Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.” There’s a rest that God offers and we stubbornly refuse to take it oftentimes. And there’s rest that’s found, I think this is the last thing we said to each other, rest is found in putting on the yoke and pulling together with the Lord Jesus. He said, “Take my yoke upon you.” And a yoke is something that is worn by two oxen pulling the plow. And the Lord Jesus is saying in effect, “Look, I want to pull together with you and if you’ll do that, if you’ll take my yoke on you,” He says, “My burden is easy and my yoke is easy rather and my burden in light.”
There’ll never be any abrasions on the skin of your soul, so to speak, by bearing the yoke with the Lord Jesus Christ. And I think the sweetest figure of speech that you and I can have in this connection is to realize that we are working together, we are pulling together with the Lord Jesus Christ. He is alongside of us on the other side of the yoke. Does that touch your heart today? Have you stopped to realize that in the duties of everyday, the Lord Jesus Christ is pulling with you if you’re His? “Take my yoke upon you,” said He. A yoke of oxen is two. He is pulling with you.
And so whether if you’re cleaning the house or adding a column of figures or calling on a client or trying a case in a court room or operating upon a patient in an operating room, or teaching a class in public or private school, or diapering the baby, or disciplining junior, or preaching a sermon, or whatever you may be doing, whether it be mundane and routine or whether it be officially religious as in the case of some of us preachers, whatever you may be doing, if you belong to Jesus, if you have taken His yoke upon you, He says, “You’ll get rest.”
Now, the yoke is something you take on voluntarily. The rest of God is something you accept by faith. “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God,” the writer to the Hebrews says. “The rest, they sought it not by faith, that’s why they didn’t enter into rest,” he said, “enter into his rest.” “Let us therefore fear,” he said, “lest,” this is Hebrews 4, “lest, a promise being left to us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For we which have believed,” see that’s the exercise of faith – verse 3, “We which have believed do enter into God’s rest.” There remaineth therefore a rest for the people of God. And he that is entered into that rest has ceased from his own works.”
Okay, it’s by faith. You trust God and His Word and your soul is then at rest. It’s that simple. I may be speaking this very moment to someone who has a turmoil in your own heart and you say if you could speak with me, you’d say, “Brother Cook, I’ve tried so hard to be at peace about this matter. I’ve tried so hard to rest in the Lord.” Well, as long as you’re trying, you’re not resting, isn’t that true? You have to let go of it to God. You have to let go of it to God. My friend, Mr. Hill tells the story of his daughter who was so terribly ill and he and his wife were so concerned and yet nothing that they could say or do would make any difference.
As he writes in one of his books, he said, “We finally just let go of her and committed her to the Lord. And then she began to get better.” To let go of yourself to God, to let go of the situation, and let God control it, to let go of something that involves your will and let God’s will come into focus instead. This is what we mean by entering into God’s rest. We do it by faith. “We which have believed,” says the writer to the Hebrews, “have entered into rest.” Hebrews 4 verse 3, “We which have believed do enter into rest, as he said.”
Now, how do you apply that? Take any given situation that causes turmoil and upset and unrest in your soul. Bring it to God on the basis of His word. Find what His word has to say about it and as you then pray on the basis of God’s promise, you exercise your faith not in what you hope God will do for you, you exercise your faith in what He says in His word. “He calleth the things that are not as though they were,” the Bible says. God’s Word has a creative value so that when you find a promise and you pray on the basis of that promise, God then begins to work in the situation and, blessedly, also begins to work in your own attitude so that you are indeed at rest about the matter.
Circumstances may not change immediately. Oftentimes they don’t. But you are at peace because, why? Because you have believed God and His word and in doing that, you have put the control of the situation into His wonderful hands. The rest of God. And so Paul says, “Strive with me about rest of soul.” He said, “I want to have a little rest when I come to you.” Take the thing that you’ve been struggling with and give it up to God in prayer and find the rest that He gives you as a result.
Dear Father, today, help us to rest in Thee, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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