“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG)
Since the beginning of creation, God has always set aside a time for rest. He set aside a whole day to rest from his work (Gen 2:2). He created mankind to enjoy and work with him. He calls us human-beings not human-doings. He intends for our work to flow from spending time being with Him. The word, being means to find your existence in. We were created to live, move and find our being in God, through Jesus (Acts 17:28).
Hebrews 4 talks a great deal about how important rest is. The author says God promised the Israelites rest but they did not receive it because they did not believe him and obey. Instead, they wandered around aimlessly trying to accomplish things in their own effort. When we cease striving to do something in our own effort, we let go. God wants us to relax and fully depend on him.
Rest is not a suggestion but a commandment. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Years ago, God lovingly and gently whispered those words in my ear. After studying and meditating on this verse, I found “still” in Hebrew means to relax: let go, cease striving. And “to know” in Hebrew means to know by experience.
I began to experience oneness with Jesus by spending time with him (Jn 17). I came to know God’s character by intentionally connecting with Jesus, the likeness of God (Col 1:15), in contemplative prayer. He has revolutionized my life. I know and love who I am because I know Jesus.
When we take time to rest in him, we honor God with our thoughts and deeds because he will reveal his heart and mind to us. From this state of being, his gifts move through us and are poured out on others who need to experience God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Empowerment from the Spirit is a rhythm of work and rest. This rhythm can only be found when we exercise faith and obedience. It’s not a work of our own but one that is found in depending on him. It’s his work. We are the vessels God uses to bring wholeness and healing to others until Jesus comes again and restores all things (Acts 3:21).
When was the last time you took time to rest in God’s presence (physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually)? Did you come expecting to encounter him? In this position of surrender, what did he say or show you?