I received an encouraging e-mail nugget today and wanted to expand the thought a little. This is adapted from an analogy by Hans R. Waldvogel, who is also the nugget of the week.
Let's say a woman was given a new washing machine but doesn't know what to do with it. She is so used to using an old washboard to clean her clothes that the only thing she can think to do with this new machine is to rub the dirty clothes against the insides of the drum to get them clean. Since this obviously doesn't work, she goes back to the old way of doing things and uses the "reliable" method; the old washboard. Finally, someone comes to her aid and gives her instructions on how to use the new washing machine and how easy it is. Instead of rubbing her knuckles bloody, she would simply put the dirty clothes in and add soap and the machine does all the work for her while she sits and relaxes.
Now imagine that someone offers to do your dirty laundry while you take it easy. You agree. But after a few moments you start to feel guilty that they are in there working and you are resting. So you get up and go help. This is exactly how modern Christians think. Even though they've been given this new "machine" they don't know what do with it and even if someone comes to do it for them they don't want it.
Here's what has happened: Instead of accepting the New Covenant that Christ gave, modern Christians are stuck using the Old Covenant methods of getting themselves right, or clean, before God! We are all guilty of this. But we can't continue this any longer. We have but one active participation in our relationship with Christ, only ONE! And that is to rest in His work. Our work is to NOT work. It is hard to do but it's what is required if we want to be alive in Christ!
We cannot mix the old with the new. The new has replaced the old. Get free'd up!