For many Christians, “following on to know the Lord” is both unattractive and painstaking. To continue in the Kingdom of God becomes burdensome to them, to the point of despair. This kind of attitude is in stark contrast to the words of the Apostle John, in his first epistle, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous” (I John 5:3).
The Word of God is teaching us, regardless of our experience, that spiritual progress is not a drudgery, but a delight! God has promised us strength for our days (2), and His joy as the resource of that strength (3). “They shall not gird themselves with anything that causeth sweat” (Ezekiel 44:18b). Sweat is the result of excessive physical and emotional exertion. In the biblical context, it is illustrative of the energy of the mature man trying to accomplish the work of God, and achieve the maximum amount of productivity in their souls, not through sweat but rest. “Let us labour, therefore to enter into that rest” (Hebrews 4:11a).
Our understanding of a faith-rest through Christ’s finished work will assure us “that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Peter 1:8).