Tag Archives: Wrestling

Resting and wrestling



John Piper writes: “There is a restful side to the Christian life. “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest,” Jesus said in Matthew 11:28. “Be anxious for nothing . . . let your requests be made known to God . . . and the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). There is rest and peace in the Christian soul.


But there is also wrestling. Jesus said in Luke 13:24, “Strive <wrestle/struggle> to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” At the end of his life, Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.” Keeping the faith is a fight to be fought and a race to be run.”


We’ve written quite a bit about the resting side of the Christian life. Unless you are facing mighty challenges yourself, who wants to pursue the kind of suffering that comes from a wrestling life? But the two are interrelated. We wrestle with our response to life challenges with the goal of finding rest. And, as we’ve commented before, we find rest in these trials because Christ-in-us has already won the battle and assured our victory, IF (and this is a very strong IF):


IF you are willing to believe God at His Word, even when it flies in the face of your present circumstances.


IF you believe that God is sovereign and He has a provident plan for your life.


IF you believe that you are an alien and foreigner in this land we call earth; that your real home is heaven.


IF you believe that you are a spiritual being with a temporary earthly shell, not merely a physical being with some small spiritual component.


IF you believe that God’s loving discipline is even better for us than the parental discipline of our childhood.


We wrestle with each of these tenets when we face difficulties and temptations. God knows that our wrestling makes us tired and can lead us to lose heart. He knows our wrestling can lead to a dangerous sense of despair. And so he reminds us:
“Consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” (Hebrews 12:3-4)


If you are wrestling with pain, suffering, sorrow, unpleasant work or home life, there is good news. There comes from wrestling a sense of rest IF we believe what God has in store for us as His children.


“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” ( v 7,11)


Maybe you need to wrestle harder. If so, rest in the confidence that Jesus-in-you has already secured the victory. Believe it.