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Rest is offensive to our culture. As a matter of fact we even seem to parade our aversion to rest. Our most popular cities are touted as cities that ‘never sleep.’ We celebrate and market areas of ‘night life’. Our popular brands tell us to ‘just do it’ and to be ‘driven’. However, rest requires us to come to the point where we can say ‘it’s good for now’. To a world fighting to prove its value and find its identity in activity and accomplishment, rest simply won’t do. To a culture obsessed with advancement, improvement and ‘one more rep’, the concept of ‘good enough’ is laughable. We ridicule it and shame it and flaunt our ‘additional successes’ and ‘higher yields’ to those that ‘settled’ by not giving 110% all day every day. However, for those that call themselves disciples of Jesus we are called to ‘come to Him so He can give us rest’ (Mt 11:28) and so we can ‘be seated with Him in heavenly places’ (Eph 2:6). Seated. At rest.
So does that mean we aren’t supposed to work or put forth effort at anything? Of course not, there is joy and purpose in meaningful work. We are just not called to find our identity in it nor are we to give all of our energy and emotions to our work. We are called to rest in Him and do our work from that place of contentment and peace in full relationship with Him. So why don’t we do that? Much of it comes down to a trust issue. (Click here to read my post called ‘Are You Strong Enough To Use Restraint’)
The Bible talks much about being diligent and not becoming lazy or apathetic and I certainly am not advocating for lethargy and Netflix binges. However, the Bible talks MUCH more about the importance and value of rest and ceasing from striving. We don’t see a lot of campaigns built around ‘I’m actually doing just fine today’. No brands are making millions saying ‘I really don’t need much more’. But the truth is, there is a place of peace and contentment in the Lord that allows us to be at rest in Him WHILE we pursue our work and our goals.
I heard Pastor Jimmy Evans say once ‘It takes more faith to stop than it does to keep going’ and I believe it. Having to trust God that life will be fine if I don’t check that email that just came in after I left the office or keep up to date with what’s happening on social media requires a sense of rest and contentment in Him that many of us are afraid to embrace. Rest requires trust and our culture doesn’t have much of that to offer either. Marriage covenants haven’t been safe to trust. The womb isn’t even safe to trust anymore. How can we trust anything or anyone? But the Lord is trustworthy. (Click here to read my post called ‘The Strength You Need To Be Content’)
Are You Kidding Me?
When we travel my kids fall asleep in the car. Is it particularly a ‘safe’ place to fall asleep? No. We’re in a big metal machine flying down the interstate on rubber wheels filled up with nothing but air with people doing the same thing all around us! There may be weather challenges and road hazards and all kinds of stuff, but my kids rest because they trust that Dad will navigate those obstacles and get us to our destination safely. They rest, and when we get to our destination they are energized to enjoy the day because they rested in the midst of the journey. It reminds me of the disciples in the boat with Jesus in the midst of the storm. The same waves that terrified them, rocked Jesus to sleep. I can’t think of a better picture of what our life with Him should look like. Full ability to rest, even in the midst of the storm, is to know the master of the waves and wind is with us. (Click Here To Read My Post ‘Is Being Content Just Being Lazy?’)
Let me remind you, the very first thing God showed Adam how to do was to rest. Adam was created on Day 6, God rested from His labor on Day 7 (the Sabbath). The Hebrew calendar day starts at sundown, not sunup. It begins with rest. And how about this, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Aleph, it is silent. No lie. God has been proclaiming to His people through all of creation and all of time, we are to rest in Him first, then do our work. If we do not, we will wear ourselves out tying to accomplish what He has ALREADY COMPLETED FOR YOU. The final words Jesus spoke on the cross were ‘It Is Finished’. Your identity has been sealed. You are approved and chosen.
Rest in that today as you go about your work and as you pursue your dreams. God worked for 6 days in a row and at the end of each day he said it was ‘good’. I’m sure He could have created one more species of tree or two more kinds of insects but at the end of the day He said, ‘that will do’. When you come to the end of each day, rest in His Finished Work and let your work be good enough for now. When you start the next day do it from a place of rest in Him, trusting His leadership. He knows where you need to get and He knows best how to get you there.
From the Bible
‘This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.’ – Isaiah 30:15 NIV
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” – Ephesians 2:6-7 NIV
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