A Cup Of Joy- Week 1: Rest

rest

This week’s guided verse:

Hebrews 4:10  “For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.”

 

When you think of resting, what comes to mind?  Your bed: fluffy down comforter, squishy pillows galore?  Your favorite chair: feet up, book open in your lap?  Your bathtub: door locked, soft music playing, candle lit?

Chances are, each person who reads this will have their own definition, their own perfect place to rest, relax, and not respond to anyone or anything.  But what happens when you come out of that place?  When you slip from under your covers to start dinner for your family, or you close your book to pick your toddler up from preschool, or you leave your bathtub full of lukewarm water and fizzled bubbles behind you as you prepare to face a day of work?

Physical rest is only restful for as long as you’re resting, right?

It doesn’t last you the whole day.  It doesn’t carry you through the hard weeks, the tough years.  That bubble bath fades from your mind, the hot water from your muscles, as quickly as those bubbles popped into nothingness.  God created rest, in the physical realm, because he knew our bodies would get weary.  He designed us, and he is privy to all of our weaknesses.

But God designed another type of rest, too.  The kind of rest that exceeds human understanding.  The type of rest that can only be understood as it is attained.

Look back at the highlighted verse: …anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from

Enter is a verb, meaning: to go in.

Rest, as seen in the first word, is a noun, meaning: refreshing quiet, freedom from wearies, troubles, and disturbs.

Rests from is a verb or action, meaning: relieve weariness from labor.

Understanding the meaning of these words is important to understanding the verse.  God designed us to rest from our physical exertions; he even designed a holy day on which to do that (Sunday).  But that’s not where he expects us to stay.  We can’t remain in inactivity, or we won’t be doing what we’re called to do.

We won’t be doing anything at all, actually.

However, we can remain in rest.  In freedom from troubles.  In Him.

Let’s look at a few other verses in the bible that indicate God is providing us a place in which to live; a place where we needn’t feel weary or bogged down by the struggles of our every day lives.

We will still have struggles, but we don’t have to struggle.  

rest

Matthew 11:28-29 says “Come to me all 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.” 

When we go to draw our bath water or take a nap, we don’t say “I’m going to find rest.”  We simply say, “I need to rest.”  Or, “I’m going to go rest.”  The way that Jesus describes rest here, goes back to that noun form.  Something that can be given.  Something that can be received.  Something that extends beyond sitting down and taking a load off.

The Lord’s rest is a rest that is permanent.  Found only in Him, through Him, because of Him.  Rest that has nothing to do with actions.  It is a rest that fills our tired souls with overwhelming peace because of our salvation.

Exodus 33:14 states “The Lord replied, My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest.”

Again, rest is presented here as a gift, an exchange for confident faith in Christ.  It was a promise to God’s people.  Apart from His Presence, we are no different from the rest of our worn out, burnt out humanity; why bother trying?  In Him, we are set apart.  We have something that everyone wants but not everyone knows how to, or is willing to, receive it.

Entering God’s rest is a holy reservation for those who love, obey, and abide in Him.  Though our true rest, our soul rest, is a gift found in being called His children, physical rest is also important.  The second half of Hebrews 4:10 mentions the Sabbath.  Resting our bodies, removing some activities and work from our plate, taking a day to just be…that’s important.  That helps us drown out the noise of this world.  That encourages us to focus on reconnecting with God.

And being in His presence, because we’re not too busy doing other things, keeps us in His rest.

One more relatable verse, Isaiah 26:3  “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Let’s define some words to help us clearly understand:

Perfect, meaning entirely without flaws, exactly fitting the need.

Peace, meaning without conflict.

Steadfast, meaning unwavering, committed.

In other words, the Lord will keep those who have unwavering, totally committed trust in Him, in a place of complete mind and soul rest; entirely without internal conflict, exactly fitting our precise needs.

Friend, please know that it is so important for you to dig into the word for yourself.  These posts of mine are simply my personal study of the Lord and his word.  It’s my breakdown, my revelation.  Even though you may agree with me, or trust my guidance, it’s crucial that you trust it only to a limited extent.

The source of truth is God, and He has shared that truth in the bible.  Though you may have discussions with friends and family, read books of faith, and listen to sermons on your podcast, nothing replaces your time with the book open in your lap.  Holy Spirit will illuminate things to you that He won’t to me, and vice versa.  Your relationship with Christ is completely personal.  While truth and meaning never waver, their application to your unique life and spirit is intimate.

While I’m not encouraging you to stop pursuing Him in every way imaginable, remember to quiet all outside influences in order to hear Him for yourself, on a regular basis.

Final Prayer:

Father God, I pray that every eye that scans this page will be opened to see you, to know you.  I pray that hearts are softened to your ways, that minds are illuminated to your promises, that understanding and wisdom permeate every individual who mediates on these verses.  Lord, guide us to your rest, to quiet our souls and still our spirits, to be enlightened by the truth of your Being.  I pray that we may walk in your rest, through every circumstance we face, with unwavering belief in your ability to see us through.  Amen.

sigg

Did any words stick out to you, while you were reading through the verses?  What did Holy Spirit speak into your heart today?  Share in the comments, so we can truly (albeit virtually) fellowship with one another!