Awhile back I went chair shopping. I was fed up with sitting in my office chair in my bedroom for hours reading books. I wanted something I could read in, sit in, kick back in, nap in … I wanted a man-throne. So really I went throne shopping at the Lazy Boy store…
The elderly furniture salesman began showing me around and directing me to different types of chairs. I sat in probably twenty or thirty different chairs. Some were really fancy looking but the moment I sat in them they weren’t comfortable at all. Others didn’t lean back far enough. Others didn’t quite have enough lower back support.
Then there was this one blue recliner at the back of the store on clearance. I sat on it and immediately I knew this was the one. I kicked back on it, put my feat on the extension, cranked it all the way back, and I was in just the right position to where every muscle in my back was relaxed and fully rested on the weight of the chair. Not one fiber or molecule in my body was strained. I asked the salesman to come back in a half hour … and took an amazing nap.
The perfect chair is the one that you can fully rest on.
The perfect chair is the one that completely relaxes all the muscles of your body.
The perfect chair is one that fully bears your weight, whose contours, and recline ergonomically relieve every last ounce of strain.
The message of Jesus (some call it “the Gospel”), is a lot like the perfect chair to rest in. Contrary to what most people think, being a follower of Jesus doesn’t begin with a big list of things to do (i.e. more ‘strain’ on a person’s life). It begins with an invitation to sit down in this ‘perfect chair’ and forever enjoy what God has done for you in Christ.
“because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” Eph. 2:4-6
It begins with resting. It is out of that supreme rest … that perfect nap in the sunlight of all the great things that were accomplished at the cross of Christ… out of which flows the Christ-life. It is when a person is fully rested that they begin to effortlessly live like Jesus lived.
So many people it seems, simply go through the motions of what they know they are supposed to do in order to be a ‘good Christian,’ but it is not done out of a place of rest : it is done out of strain and striving. I’m not saying that there are not things that we need to ‘make every effort’ to do, I’m simply talking about the foundation and the starting point is the recliner of God’s grace, forgiveness, mercy and love, and choosing to sit down and rest in it. One pastor said it this way:
“One of the reasons we experience so much failure in the Christian life is that we think more about obligations than we do about declarations. We focus on the imperatives, but we pass over the indicatives. We fail in our doing because we fail to grasp what Christ has already done. This leaves us powerless–running on our own steam. Only when you realize that the gospel has nothing to do with your obedience but with Christ’s obedience for you, will you start to obey. The only Christians who end up getting better are the ones who realize that even if they don’t get better that God will love them anyway.” –Tullian Tchividjian, “Jesus + Nothing = Everything”