Rest in God - First15 - July 22
Rest in God
The Christian life is meant to be marked by simplicity. Jesus summed up our purpose with two statements: love God and love people. But in our humanity we have made complex what God designed to be peaceful, purposeful, and simple. A. W. Tozer remarks in The Pursuit of God, “Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all. If we would find God amid all the religious externals, we must first determine to find Him, and then proceed in the way of simplicity.” May we discover the peace and joy that come from pursuing a simple Christianity this week.
Scripture:“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
One of the simple, core values of restored relationship with our heavenly Father is rest. From the beginning God exemplified its importance. Genesis 2:3 says, “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” And Hebrews 4:9-13 says,
So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
I fear that we as children of God have allowed the busyness and stress of the world to influence us in greater ways than the “living and active” word of our heavenly Father. We are designed for rest. We are designed to have a full day and various times throughout each day set aside to simply enjoy God and the blessed life he has given us. When we value success and busyness over relationship with God and obedience to his commands, our priorities begin to fall out of place. When we choose busyness over rest, we place more value on whatever we are working toward than on our restored relationship with God and the abundant life he died to give us.
We are created to work. Prior to sin entering the story of humanity, Adam and Eve labored for God. Work is not a symptom of the fall but rather an incredible joy and privilege given to us by the hand of our Father. But our society promotes a lie that resting is directly related to laziness or selfishness and working is always good. Too much work takes us outside of the grace and provision of God for our work and forces us to labor in our own strength. God has perfect plans and grace for everything he has laid before you, but it is often in rest that you will be refueled and made ready to receive that grace to accomplish your tasks. It’s in rest that our souls are restored, replenished, and filled. And it’s in rest that we are able to take time to be thankful and celebrate what God has helped us accomplish, rather than always bearing the burden of the never-ending list of tasks before us.
May we be children who choose to live by the word and systems of God rather than the values and structures of the world. May we be children who live with the simple, core value of rest as we follow the model of our heavenly Father.
1. Meditate on God’s desire to bring you rest. Allow Scripture to renew your mind and transform the way you make decisions and live.
“Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.” Exodus 34:21
“So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:9-13
2. Where have you forgone rest for busyness and work? In what ways have you allowed society to influence you more than God’s word?
3. Confess to God any ways in which you have forsaken rest and receive his forgiveness. Ask God to fill you with a fresh vision for his purposes behind rest. Ask him to guide you into a lifestyle of taking a Sabbath. Rest in him right now, and allow him to replenish and rejuvenate you with his presence.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
A large part of being led by the Spirit is following where God’s grace takes you. God has grace and provision for every task he has laid before you. He will help you accomplish everything you need to do in a timely and productive fashion. If you don’t feel grace for whatever task is before you, take time to ask the Spirit what he would have you do. Sometimes he will replenish you on the spot so you can keep working. Other times he’ll have something else for you to do instead. But often he will guide you into a few moments of rest and finding satisfaction in him so that you can work with proper perspective and his strength rather than just your own. May you work and rest in the grace and glory of your heavenly Father today.
Extended Reading: Hebrews 4
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