We live in a world that emphasizes “the hustle” as a prevalent aspect of life. You want something? Go get it! You’ve got to work for it. In this fast-paced, cutting-edge, tech-driven world, it’s natural not to rest. We’ve become accustomed to the proliferation of a simple but powerful lie — that it is entirely up to us and to earn everything we want or wish to ever have. We’ve begun to believe that our level of success or wealth is in direct correlation with our level of hard work, when the reality is that God says the opposite — He says “Rest!”, “Rest in Me!”, “I would give you Rest…” God is always talking about Rest.
This unwillingness to receive rest is so deeply engrained in human nature, so much so, that in the old testament, God literally had to enforce rest. Through Moses, He gave the Israelites a law that every seventh year be made the year of Rest. During this year-long period, the land was not to be cultivated in any way. God declared that He would bless them so richly in the sixth year, that they would have enough to feed for two years. All they had to do that year, was rest, which must have been so nerve-racking for the workaholics. Unsurprisingly, like many of us, several Israelites couldn’t adhere to these directives - they succumbed to work.
Another Biblical example of God’s insistence that His people catch some Zzzz, was the Festival of shelters, a seven-day festival that occurred on the tenth day of the seventh month, and consisted of worship and sacrificial offerings. Again, absolutely no work. But I know what you’re thinking “That was way back then, when technology didn’t even exist, let alone cost several thousand dollars! What does this all mean for us TODAY? How can we rest ?
Should we too simply take a year off to travel on a fully God-funded Bahamian vacation?” *sigh, I wish!
The truth is that Resting In God is more of a mental+spiritual thing, even though it extends to the decisions and choices we make in our daily lives. God incorporated periods of rest into the lives of the Israelites because it was so important for them to understand that they were no longer slaves whose ability to eat depended solely on their ability to work, and to fully embrace their new reality where God provided all of their needs.
Today, several thousand years later, this still applies to us. Resting in God is a state of mind that keeps us from becoming slaves and capitulating to the world and all its many demands. It eases and refreshes our souls and keeps us from losing ourselves, our sanity, our peace , and our identity of who we are in Christ to the rat race that is life. Rest is an opportunity to revisit our spiritual identity and reaffirm our place in our Father’s kingdom. It is a reckless display of faith, even in times where life seems daunting. With God on our side, the Holy Spirit as our guide, and a crown on our heads, we stand as gods, marked as a chosen people, and should operate as such. Simply put, we aren’t doing life alone anymore.
When we don’t Rest in God and choose to do life on your own, it’s like telling God “You can sit this one out, I’ve got this.” Even though God will never leave us and loves us dearly, He will never impose Himself, or His will, on us. The Holy Spirit is always gonna be there, ready to help you, but it’s up to you to receive that help. He can’t force Himself on you.
I’ve learned the hard way that everyone has mountains, but it’s actually how you choose to surmount your mountain that truly matters — would you rather do it on your own, or let God help you?
Would you choose to carry your weight of responsibilities on your own or let God help you? Are you willing to try the crazy experiment in Faith that is REST?
Reflect on who you are in Christ, and who He has empowered you to be. Be Refueled by spending time in His presence — renewing your mind and simply basking in His love.
Exalt God above your work, efforts, and even your prayers! Understanding that it is God who blesses the works of your hands and your success is by His grace.
Be Still in His word that anchors you down in times of uncertainty. Lay your worries, uncertainties and fears on Him and draw strength from His promises to you.
Trust the Holy Spirit who guides, teaches, comforts, and helps you.
So even though we don’t get a mandatory year off, Resting in God does require us to make some conscious decisions, like actually taking that trip to the Bahamas to tell yourself that it’s okay to take time off to chill and spend some money, because you're no longer working to survive, but working under grace. Can’t travel? Treat yourself to something you want — ice cream (you are more than those calories) , a movie, mani-pedis, or simply a day off like the weekend to rest, reflect, and relight yourself with His path for you.
“In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat — for he grants sleep to hose he loves”
Work Smart, not hard. You are Not Alone.