The question of “How do we enter into the rest of God” is a tricky one. At least it is by the way that it is worded.
What I mean by that is that when someone reads it they may assume that there’s some part of God that we are missing.
So, let me be clear and define what is meant by “the rest of God” or better yet “rest in God”.
The rest that I am talking about does not mean to take a nap. No, it’s a far better rest than that.
Finding and staying in the rest of God takes some work on the behalf of us as followers of God.
The kind of rest that God wants us to enter into has to do with trusting in God to do what he said that he would do.
The true definition of the Rest of God
So in a nutshell finding the rest of God in its full essence is to learn how to totally obey God and trust God with everything and in every area of our life.
The word of God says it like this as well. And it is to cease from our own works.
If I were to put it in simpler terms… I guess I would have to agree with my pastor.
He defined “Resting in God” like this…
Rest is the peace of God (not circumstances) in our lives experienced physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
So you see true rest will produce healthy rhythms in all areas of our lives physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
The Rest That Remains For The People Of God.
In the word of God, we find a passage of scripture that reads this way…
“There remaineth therefore a rest for the people of God”. If you don’t know where to find it take a look in Hebrews 4:9.
For some reason, the Holy Spirit brings this verse to mind every time the subject of rest comes up. Hmmmm.
Nevertheless, I love it when He does that…
What do you think God means when he says that there remains a rest for the people of God?
I’m glad you’re curious. So, let me first tell you what I have learned about the word rest in this passage of scripture.
The word rest here means “a keeping of Sabbath”.
The Thayer Definition also goes on to say that it is the blessed rest from toils and troubles looked for in the age to come by the true worshippers of God and true Christians.
Wow! That’s a mouth full. And honestly, I believe that this is something that God desires us to experience in this life as well.
Can we truly enter into the rest of God?
Well, the short answer to the question of can we truly enter into the rest of God is yes.
Yet, I do believe that for us to do so we will have to give up some things first.
Give up what things you say?
Hold on and keep reading and you will find out. That’s if you really wish to know.
But first, let me at least give you a glimpse of where I’m taking you with this.
You see the past few weeks before publishing this article my pastor has been teaching us a series of lessons titled “The Art of Rest”.
So, what I wish to share with you through the remaining paragraphs of this article… is to share with you what the Holy Spirit allowed me to glean from his teaching.
The Art of Rest From Our Enemies
The thought came to me that sometimes people will consider us to be their enemies and we don’t even know it.
But I am also reminded that God’s word state that when our ways please him he will make our enemies be at peace with us.
There are many places in the bible where God promises us to protect us from our enemies.
There are many places in the bible that tells us that we are to be victorious over the enemy as well.
But what about the times when the enemy seems to continue to be victorious over us? What do we do then and how do we find rest?
I’m so glad that you asked… Here’s a short answer.
Sometimes rest is not the removal of opposing forces, but it’s having a way to deal with or respond to those opposing forces in a godly manner.
The art of rest will protect our hearts from the discouragement of life’s unpleasant circumstances.
Sometimes out of the hardest test, trial, tribulations, and places in our lives come the sweetest pleasures or things.
The art of rest Requires Spiritual Discipline.
When it comes to spiritual discipline we must first and foremost learn to trust in and rely on the promises of God.
But, take from me and from someone who knows that it easier said than to be done.
Yet, it can be done. And it has to be done in this manner as a good friend of mine would say… We trust and obey God and leave the consequences to him.
Moment by moment and the event by event are we to be led by the Holy Spirit of God.
Have you ever heard the saying that faith comes by hearing? It’s true.
What you attend to the most is what you will put your trust into the most.
That’s why the word of God admonishes us to guard our heart with all diligence.
We guard hearts by what we allow into and out of it.
When we learn to attend to the things of God more… we will then clean out the trash that has been collected over the years and replace it with the fruit of the spirit. The good things of God.
The good things of God are the promises of God that will allow us to turn our worries into worship.
Resting instead of Stressing
The art of resting instead of stressing can be fleeting to us all at times because we all develop coping mechanisms to deal with our stress.
We all look for something to find comfort in… And it’s usually not God first. It should be though.
Stress can manifest itself in many ways both inwardly and outwardly.
Outwardly stress can cause us to lash out at others for no foreseen reason. And inwardly it can cause us to withdraw from the people who we love and who love us.
Stress in everyday terms is a feeling that people have when they are overwhelmed or overloaded and struggling.
Have you ever felt this way? Or you might be felling or experiencing this overwhelming sensation now?
Our demands can be either real or perceived…( we place them on ourselves).
*Uncertainty of the future…not knowing what’s next.
*Living under unreasonable or unrealistic expectations of yourself and others.
*Unhealthy relationships all can be causes of stressing out.
What are your stress points?
The art of rest will help us to recognize the cause of stress.
Discovering Rest from Worry
The art of discovering rest from worry only happens when we learn to rest in God’s power.
God has the power to do things in us, through us and for us that we can’t even imagine.
We must learn to rest in God’s plan knowing that God does all things right… No matter what.
We must rest in God’s provision and promises and stop living by and reacting to the way things appear to be.
Worry says… that I don’t have control.
Resting in God says… I don’t need control.
Rest is hard to come by when we worry.
Here’s something to think about. Someone smarter than I am said this…”Anything that is subject to time and space is vulnerable to time and space”.
God is not subject to time and space. God is eternal. If you see it, He sees it. And He can do anything.
So, you see anything that is subject to time and space is subject to fail. That’s what I’m saying here, my beloved.
We must learn to put our trust in and put our hope in Christ our eternal Rock.
Rest Is possible because God is a Rock
God is our refuge our strength, He is our salvation and our defense. But speaking of salvation… Do you know that everything that we need in our lives is provided in our salvation through Christ?
When we learn what the salvation of the Lord truly means then we will also be able to cultivate rest through spiritual disciplines.
Spiritual discipline begins with learning how to wait on God, learning to hope in God and be silent before him. Now that takes some kind of discipline. But that’s the secret to resting in God.
But, do you know that sometimes not getting what you want is the only way that we can become what God wants us to be.
One spiritual discipline that we all must cultivate is the discipline of casting our care upon God because he truly cares for us.
When we learn to do this then and only then will we be able to build our identities on the steadfast love of God.
Finding Rest from our Failures
To find and achieve rest from our failures in life we must first discover a healthy balance in life. Or as I heard one say that we have to have healthy rhythms in our lives concerning rest.
The three areas of rest that we must find that much-needed balance are these:
- Physical Rest: The body gets weary because of it being subject to time and space.
- Emotional Rest: The mind is subject to stress and anxiety because of life’s circumstances.
- Spiritual Rest: This is only possible when we know that we have peace with God.
Jesus said these words in Mathew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. He goes on to say… Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls.
Can you see that in these beautiful words that there is an invitation to find peace for the whole man?
Again I tell you again that rest is the peace of God experienced physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Hint: It all has to start in the spirit.
Beloved, we must learn the art of rest.