By day seven, the creation of the world was complete.
Water, light, time, vegetation, and creatures executed with precise intention. All is running smoothly in the perfect world. No sin. No problems.
Nothing left for Him to do, but Rest.
But isn’t God always at work? God and rest, isn’t that an oxymoron? Nonetheless, God made it clear when the world was complete. He rested.
If God rested, does that mean we should rest?
Of course! The Bible is filled with examples of how we should rest.
Remember the sabbath to keep it holy (Exodus 20:8 KJV). God rested (Gen 2:3 KJV). He makes me lie down in green pastures (Psalm 23:22 KJV).
So why do so many of us struggle to disengage from the daily grind?
We long to get away from it all, but when we are away, we want it all with us too.
The struggle to separate ourselves overpowers us. The fear that the latest news, opportunity, or social media post may escape us, is all too real.
We are insomniacs, emotionally bankrupt, pill addicts, who are out of shape.
“The result is a twenty percent annual increase in prescription medicine commercials for antianxiety, blood sugar levels, blood pressure meds, and sleep aids.” (NCBI, 2011).
The topic of resting seems to be a valuable one for people and God. Rest just like praying, praising, serving, declare our obedience, submission, and love for God.
Resting requires radical action.
Godly rest means more than taking a vacation or nap in a hammock under your favorite tree. It doesn’t say anywhere that God took a vacation and left His newly created planet to fend for itself.
Like God, rest does not free us from all our responsibilities. Scripture does not say, and He did nothing.
Godly rest is a call to action (Heb. 4:11). It is the release of the typical observances which occur in our everyday life (Heb 4:10). We no longer need to strive in “good” works.
Peace occurs in Godly rest when we rid ourselves of the bonds which arise in our lives, in our serving and worshiping.
Rest is an act of obedience. It reveals our belief and our willingness to follow the patterns He has set before us (Ps. 95:7).
The process of Godly rest requires spending time with God and reading His Word. In this intimate relationship, our weaknesses reveal themselves and open us up to the inherent power of transformation.
The word cleanses us (Eph. 5:26). The word has the power to cleanse and heal (Matt 8:16). The Word is a source of strength (Ps 199:28).
The Word gateways us into the unique qualities of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We serve a God who is sympathetic to our weaknesses yet was without sin. He was fully man and fully God (Hebrews 1:4-14). He faced the same temptation we face but did it without sinning.
He faced more severe temptation than we ever do (not giving in to temptation is always more complicated than surrendering). Christ faithfully entered every form of testing of faith without surrendering His obedience or resting time.
A feat of endurance unknown to any other man.
Christ’s sacrifice for us allows us to come boldly to the throne. A belief in Him affords us the power to overcome the devices Satan lays before us. We surrender and confess.
We received mercy and grace; and the fulfillment of God’s justice in light of Jesus and the cross.
Mention the word rest and the ideas that follow often relate to activities of leisure. We want to lay in our hammock, sit waterside, or take a nap. These things are a form of rest as they allow for us to be still and know He is God (Ps. 46:10).
However, Godly rest is so much more active.
Godly rest is an invitation to join Him in His work. It is an opportunity to get away from life as we know it. We are no longer blinded by diversions which fill up our day and keep us from connecting with our creator.
In our rest, we spend more time with Him. We read our Bibles. He speaks to us. He changes us.
By willingly participating in Godly rest, we can experience the peace that passes all understanding. We can rid ourselves of the works-based lifestyle.
Spiritual and physical bondage can give way to the power of Christ in us.
Rest just like praying, serving, and praising are essential elements of worship which connect us to God and grow our faith. It reveals our desire to love and submit to God, exposes our limitations, and unveils our need to rely on God’s design.
God designed our bodies to build strength and for our minds to recharge when at rest. Our souls, however, require something more active.
The goal of Godly rest requires us to engage with our loving creator so that He can do His greatest work.
A work in us that will transform our heart and the hearts of those around us.