We all long for rest. Peace. A calm within the storm, a slowing down of the all-too-frantic pace of life driven by deadlines and pressure. We look forward to the end of the day to rest. We get excited about vacation time, where we can finally land into some rest.
But guess, what, it never happens!
It seems the hardest thing for people to do today is rest. Why would something so refreshing be so difficult for people to enter into?
What is Divine Rest?
From God’s perspective, there is a rest available for us to live in every day, all day long. The rest of God is not a vacation or an escape, it actually involves the ability to face your life with a peace, confidence and full tank of resources to overcome the obstacles of the day.
For most today, rest means collapsing after a long and hard day. Yet they don’t find rest, because they’ve been ignoring the rest available to them all day long. Culturally, rest often means escape; running to a serene location while avoiding uncomfortable circumstances.
Yet divine rest from God is not a geographic location or an escape, but a confident condition of the heart and mind. Walking in rest is the most powerful position a believer can stand in—giving you the ability to face everything that opposes you and stand when everything is screaming to panic.
When the enemy tells you to run, rest helps you to stand. In fact, some of the most powerful spiritual warfare actually comes from a place of rest. Yet this rest is not just something we ask for in the moment of crisis, it is something to be exercised daily so we are ready to stand in the day of resistance.
The fact is, true rest is simply a muscle that has not been exercised. We’ve been trained to live very frantic lives, while begging for rest when our unwise living piles up to our necks. Now, more than ever, we need to jump into the rest available to us.
Rest Available to You
You must know, there remains therefore a rest for the people of God. (Hebrews 4:9 NKJV)
One of the most counter cultural mindsets believers should carry today is rest. But for most, it seems to be the greatest challenge. If you are up for the challenge, I encourage you to read Hebrews 3-4 every day for 30 days, to renew your life in the ways of God’s rest.
When do you read about Jesus frantically rushing around, stressed-out and exhausted under the pressures of life? He perfectly manifested God’s nature, but He was never swayed by the pressures in the world. Jesus was able to speak life into death, because of the rest He lived from. He spoke peace to the storm, because He carried the peace of rest within. He heard the Father’s voice from a place of rest He cultivated and guarded daily.
But Jesus, You don’t understand my world? Really? What would your life be like if everyone you touched got healed and delivered? Wouldn’t that create an insane demand on your life? Yet every day, you read in the Gospels Jesus living by the peace and cadence of heaven through each interaction. That’s the life of rest.
A Rest to Give
It’s hard for others to be drawn to the truth you have to offer if you’re life does not manifest rest. It doesn’t mean your life looks easy or your circumstances always work out. It has little to do with that, but more to do with the condition of your heart through circumstances.
Kingdom rest is not defined by placid external circumstances nor does not have its most powerful work when everything is going smoothly. Divine rest is the divine atmosphere of internal calm amidst the stormy seas that meet us head-on in our daily life. It is in this place of external turbulence that God wants to teach us to maintain peace and rest inside.
It is in this place that we can truly shine and make a difference in those around us. While the world is scrambling for any semblance of sanity during perilous times, this is actually our moment to rise and shine. While people crumble in fear, we need to be equipped in rest to stand, ready.
Road #1: Striving and Drivenness
For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. (Hebrews 4:10 NKJV)
One of the subtle traps modern people fall into is the habit of chronic busyness and drivenness. We don’t fall asleep at night, we collapse into our beds, from a day living outside of rest. We get so used to constant busy living that we get addicted to the buzz of constant activity. We want rest, but we resist living in it, because rest involves a much slower pace of life that we typically allow.
Drivenness puts pressure on us, causing us to feel like we have to make everything happen. This starts off as an admirable trait. Hard work and diligence are a part of life. But people who fall into drivenness come into an agreement with a subtle thought that the pressures of life rest on their own shoulders.
The problem is, when results happen, the work done by our own hands needs to be maintained by our own hands. Therefore, we have to work with our own efforts to preserve what our hands did. When fruit manifests from rest, we can have a peace knowing that the God who released grace will continue to do so.
To enter into true rest, we have to daily renounce our driven lifestyles, for they drain us of energy more than refresh. Driven people end up burning out constantly and losing their energy. They lack refreshment because they ignore the need to release pressure and make regular times throughout the day to remain grounded in rest.
Road #2: Passivity
Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest (Hebrews 4:11 NKJV)
Don’t mistake it. Rest is not lazy or passive. Rest is a very active position. In fact, people who live in rest can actually are incredibly diligent. Rest manifests a confidence by which our efforts are fueled by the faith we have in God. Drivenness puts trust in our own energy and strength. Rest places a complete trust and confidence in God’s ability to work in and through us—where the fruit that manifests points back unmistakingly to the power of God.
Rest is not sitting on the couch. Many people claim they are living in rest when in reality, they live very passive lives. They avoid hard conversations and escape talking about tough issues.
People who live in true rest do no avoid or hide. They know how to face circumstances confidently, while helping others to enter into that same rest. Show me a person who is living in true rest and I will show you someone who has effectively faced the issues of their life.
Many say, I am waiting on God. when in reality, they are justifying their passivity. Husbands can spiritualize their passive posture in their homes with just trust in God. I find many leaders can spiritualize their problems away, when the situation could be solved if they simply faced their fears and dealt with the situation. You may be waiting on God, but quite often, God is waiting on you to step out in faith.
Question: Which road do you find yourself going down, keeping you from rest?