Cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength; be based on or grounded in; depend on; an interval of silence of a specified duration.
What comes to mind when you think of finding rest? Maybe rest to you means a quick getaway, sneaking in a mid-afternoon nap, binging on Netflix, or sitting in the car sipping on a latte listening to your favorite tunes. All of us have a different idea of rest and there is no shortage of ways to rest, but there is only one type of rest that refreshes, replenishes, and restores you and that is the rest we find in Jesus.
As you are reading pay close attention to these 3 R words and their definitions as you reflect on how finding rest in God refreshes, replenishes, and restores your spirit.
Refresh: Give new strength or energy to; reinvigorate; to update or renew
Replenish: Fill (something) up again; to fill with inspiration or power to supply fully
Restore: To return (something) to an earlier or original condition by repairing it, cleaning it
When I think about being in perfect alignment with God I think back to the day I was baptized. What an absolutely glorious day! I felt reborn because I was reborn. I felt the light of God in my life and I intrinsically knew that was how it was always supposed to be. I felt refreshed with new strength, I was clean, reinvigorated, complete, and inspired. God had taken me from my sin state and transformed me into a new creature. It is the one day I would relive over and over if given the chance! Maybe you have had a similar experience, I pray you have! Sometimes the world makes it difficult for us to remember that Christ is our refuge and we seek rest where it is nowhere to be found.
Make no mistake, we are in a daily spiritual battle that is not without its bumps and bruises. The enemy has a target on our back and wants to kill, steal, destroy and try to separate us from God. When our spiritual energy is low we become susceptible to the schemes and lies of the enemy and it trickles down into all aspects of our lives, affecting not only us but our family. It is also easier to fall into sin patterns when we are out of alignment with God. In those instances, you may be wondering if you were ever really transformed. You were and you are!
Spiritual maintenance comes through finding rest in God. It is then that he renews and fills up our spirit and returns us to a clean state of alignment with him! God tells us when we need maintenance, but if we are distracted, we simply discard those nudges and move on to the next thing, without the rest we need.
Noise comes in from all different angles in our life, whether it is the world, our family, our jobs, our relationships, whatever noise is keeping you up at night, the real remedy doesn't come from a spa day, or a glass of wine, those are all temporary fixes and provide a temporary reprieve. That's not to underestimate the power of those much-needed escapes from reality, but if you are experiencing that unbearable bone-tired weariness, or if your burdens are breaking your back, the rest you need dear friend is in Jesus.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Jesus speaks directly to us in Matthew 11:28-30 when he tells us to come to him! He knows that we will carry burdens, hardships, worries, and circumstances that not only weigh us down but will try to break us down. He doesn't expect us to shoulder it on our own! As a single mom the "supermom complex," is an issue that many of us struggle with that ends in burnout. Raise your hand if you've been there...you are determined to be so independent and make sure that everyone knows you got this, that you forget to depend on God, and in reality, you don't got it at all? I am waving 2 hands in the air!
So, how do we find rest in Jesus? What does it look like? Let's look at the definition of rest and get into some practical ways of how we can practice finding rest in Jesus on a daily basis.
Cease Work or Movement in Order to Relax
Unfortunately, we are conditioned to wear busyness as a badge of honor. Some of us don't know how to rest because we were never encouraged to rest! We are taught to put our foot on the gas pedal and don't stop, even if we are running on fumes! That is exactly what so many of us do, we run on fumes until we are empty, and exhausted, then we eventually stall out. The next thing you know you are stranded and wondering how you got there!
God created us to rest. We have proof of this in Genesis 2:2 "And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done." If the Creator of the universe rested from his work, why don't you? Surely you don't have more energy than God! Rest was in his design for us from the very beginning. God is a God of order, of work, and of rest.
In order to seek rest, we need to intentionally cease working and movement. I know this may not be intuitive, especially when you're staring down an arm-long to-do list, and a mountain of laundry, but to fully rest in Jesus your mind, body and heart need to be present, and still to relax in him. Sometimes we refuse to stop because we want to be distracted. Busyness can be the distraction that keeps us from dealing with whatever it is that is painful, that worries us, and brings uncertainty. Busyness encourages us to plow ahead so we don't have to confront what it is we actually need to be going to God about. Rest requires us to cease whatever that distraction is and sit with Jesus.
Rest Refreshes Oneself and Recovers Strength
When we suffer from unrest we feel drained. We become physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally weak. We find ourselves desperately searching for replenishment and inspiration. We turn outward and look for the next thing that motivates us to make us feel alive again. But, Jesus is the ultimate refresher! In Jeremiah 31:25 God tells us, "For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” Isn't is it comforting to know that you don't have to look far to be replenished! When we surrender our burdens and commit to turning to him, he will refresh our spirit with his new mercies daily. We get in trouble when we try to fill our empty spaces through ourselves instead of through God.
What we need to keep at the forefront of our minds is that our strength comes from the Lord. In our weakness his strength is sufficient. When we rest in him we recover that strength that we lose in our burdens. Recovering means to return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength and that is exactly what Jesus does! He puts us back in alignment with him and restores us! When we are anxiety-ridden, that is not our normal state as a Christian. Our normal state as a daughter of Christ is resting in the peace that passes all understanding... that comes through Jesus!
Rest in Jesus Grounds Us in Him
We can expect storms in our life. Sometimes we see them coming and other times they blow in like a tornado taking no mercy. We can't stop the storms, but we can stand in them if our house is built on a firm foundation. Luke 6:47-48 tells us, "Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like, he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built."
When we rest in Jesus we become grounded in him regardless of our changing circumstances. The roots we plant in him keep us from being swept away in life's crazy currents. The more you rest in him, the more you hear his words, the deeper embedded they are in your heart and mind. You know his promises, his provisions, and his love which allow you to rest fully in his yoke. Your faith becomes strengthened because your foundation is on solid rock...the rock of Jesus Christ.
Are you well built? Don't worry I'm not getting too personal here! Are you spiritually well built, so that when life's trials come barreling toward you, even if you are shaking inside you have the solid assurance that you will not fall because you are a hearer and doer of the word.
Rest has an Interval of Silence for a Specified Duration
Let's go back to the noise for a moment. When we are surrounded by external or internal noise in whatever form or shape, it takes away our ability to hear what God is saying to our hearts. When we sit in our silence with the Lord we are attuned to him and his presence. Getting quiet with God is a gift. No busyness should override our quiet time with the Lord and if it is then a reevaluation of priorities is needed. God speaks to us all the time through the Holy Spirit our helper. The question is, are we taking the time to be quiet and listen.
How Can We Practically Put Resting in Jesus Into Practice?
1. Recognize that true replenishing, refreshing rest doesn't come from external sources but from Jesus.
2. Intentionally set aside time every day, whether it is 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour to sit with God.
3. Get still! Don't feed into the distractions! Unplug from the busyness and silence the noise. Get quiet with the Lord and set yourself up in a conducive environment that is distraction-free.
4. Build your spiritual house by being a doer and hearer of God's word. Read scripture daily, even if it is one verse. The more you ingest God's word the more you will find rest in him and his promises.
5. Be dependent on the Lord and not independent. Lean on the Lord in all you do! The source of your strength is through Jesus!
6. Stop carrying the brunt of your burdens and surrender them to him. Let his yoke lighten your load by surrendering to him daily all your worries and concerns.
7. Know that God knows. Sometimes the pain is so deep there are no words. We can trust in a sovereign God who knows all our troubles and cares about every detail of our lives. Keep in mind, Romans 8:26-27 "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans."
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