Resting means we can relax, be content. Resting means we are not dealing with an issue. Or rather resting SHOULD mean those things. The problem is we often “rest” in the wrong thing.
NOTE: I know people struggle with mental health. People might struggle with mental health in a much more difficult way than what I am sharing here. Counseling and sometimes medication might be needed. That’s ok! I’m not a doctor. The purpose of this post is to give some practical ways to rest in the promises of God, when our coping mechanisms need work.
2 Types of Rest
There is worldly rest and there is godly rest.
Worldly Rest Relies on Finding Rest in YOURSELF. Therefore you rest in:
Play various scenarios mentally. Though we can’t do anything about it, we feed off the worry.
- Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:07)
Why have hope? What can the Lord do? What can anyone do? (See also: Hopelessness & Despair.)
- But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. (James 1:06)
Lack of Contentment
We find our contentment in things, people, situations, and feelings. If we lack any, we lack contentment.
- Remove vexation from your heart, and put away pain from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity. (Ecclesiastes 11:10)
The Hamster Wheel (Hopelessness)
Think of a hamster going on her wheel. She goes in circles and remains in the same spot. Nothing changes. We hamster wheel worry, anxiety, anything and everything negative in between. Endless cycle.
- Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)
Should I have done this or this? We can even over-analyze our over-analyzing.
- In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:06)
Sensitivity & Assumption Making
Often I’ve noticed the two can go together. Our sensitivities can make assumptions that are simply not true. Then we react to the assumptions we think is true based on our feelings, and continue to spiral in the hamster wheel.
- Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. (John 10:10)
Focusing on the Negative
Every possible thing that could have gone wrong, we thought of it. And should our mind happen to skip something that could be potentially bad, we fret about the unknown. If we discover something new we haven’t thought about, our mind consumes the new negativity like animals and fodder.
- Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:08)
We believe we have the answers. The Lord doesn’t keep His word. WE must be the one in control. We must be “god.”
- Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
To have absolutely no sense of hope. We look at our actions and life, and they are not enough. The wages of sin is death and sinners will be lead to despair. (Romans 6:23) Which is why when the world accepts and encourages sin like transgenderism and homosexuality, we still see high suicide rates. It’s not about acceptance that saves a person. Sin will always encourage harm and death!
- The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10, Christ is speaking.)
Worldly Rest will always leave you feeling exhausted, fearful, anxious, and empty. Resting in ourselves “feels good” in the sense we feel in control. We desire control so much that not being in control drives us to extreme lengths to “feel” in control. But it’s all in vain. Though reality hurts, we would rather trust the lie because it’s a toxic comfort we desire from our sinful nature. We want to be god and in control. God can’t be in control because “He doesn’t know what’s good for my life,” I do.
“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:05 – First temptation ever made to man. As the puppet master of sin, Satan continues this temptation.) See: Pride
Godly Rest Relies on Finding Rest in CHRIST & the TRUTH of GOD. Therefore you rest in:
We are able to wait. Instead of worry, we direct our eyes to the truth of God and wait on Him.
- For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:10-12)
Based on evidence of scripture, we know God keeps His word. For the believer there are promises we look forward to and we trust the Lord because of what Jesus did on the cross.
- For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)
We find contentment first and foremost in Christ.
- I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:12-13) Note: Him is referring to Christ, and doing all things relates to contentment, not necessarily getting what we want.
Desiring Christ and His promises, despite circumstances. Having hope allows us to step forward instead of standing in place over and over.
- May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13) The previous scripture talked about Gentiles believing in Christ. Hope must begin not with our desires for our life, but our desire, our hope in Christ. Placing our hope in the wrong thing will not help us.
Instead of having our emotions tell us what is true, we look to the word of God to tell us what to believe and how to discern. God’s word feeds us spiritually and does not leave us starving.
- Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)
- All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) People want God to talk to them. HIS LIVING WORD IS SPEAKING TO US! (Caps for emphasis)
Turning to the Lord in the good times and bad. There is always something to thank Him for. There are people and situations to lift up. One of the worst things we can do is not pray. It will only hurt us and hinder us.
- But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 4:29)
- Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
God is in Control
There are some things we need to be reminded of in trials.
1.) God is good.
2.) His plan is good.
3.) God knows better than man.
What I think is good for my life and others is tainted with selfishness, sin, and limited knowledge (perhaps “truth” based on feelings and assumptions.) We might think this is how an outcome should be or how it should have been, but our idea of “good” is tainted with evil because we are still influenced by sin.
On a daily basis we struggle with sin. (Galatians 5:17, Romans 7:15) God is not like us. He is holy. He is Sovereign. We don’t have to understand everything because we were not created to. Again, we are not God. If we were given one percent more knowledge of a situation, I think it would break us because we aren’t God. We can’t fathom everything He can.
Whatever happens in our life, God is already ahead of it. There are so many domino effects around us, we can’t possibly see the full picture. And the burden is not ours to bear.
- “Hear this, O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God. Do you know how God lays his command upon them and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine?” (Job 37:14-15)
Christ Taking on Your Burden
People who struggle to turn to Christ, to trust His word, and to put faith in Him, they are going to struggle finding true rest. Christ tells us to learn from Him. He uses the example of a yoke. Oxen in a yoke need to go the same direction.
If we are struggling to go in the direction God tells us to, including finding contentment in all things, prayer, learning His wisdom from scripture, etc, we are naturally fighting the direction He is pulling us in and we won’t find rest going against Him.
But for those who are leaning into His word and putting to action the faith they proclaim to have by following Christ’s lead, there is a rest and a peace that can be found. Even during hard times the Christian finds a moment for rest. It’s good to note here that those in Christ receive the Holy Spirit Who directs us to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Not only does Christ lead us, but the indwelling Spirit helps us follow the lead of Christ.
- Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)
Singing praises & Thankfulness
We are to remember the mighty works of the Lord! A child can look back at her parent and think of the things her father was skilled in. Relaying stories of old and of triumph. How much more should we delight in our Heavenly Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? Look at what God has done! Put your thoughts to what is true, pure, and holy. In hardship, pray with tears and sing through sobs. It’s not about putting on a fake happy face.
- Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! (Psalm 105:02)
- Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:19-20)
Unlike pride that has us believing we know what is right. Humility allows us to seek, to be weak, to know God has answers we do not understand. Humility allows us the ability to gain more wisdom, godly traits, and honor our Lord and His creation. Humility hears conviction of the soul and the pricking of the Holy Spirit. We experience genuine godly sorrow and care about our sins.
- The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life. (Proverbs 22:04)
We can look at scripture and see how God gives us desires of our heart. But when problems happen we question, this isn’t what I want. Our desires need to be transformed into godly desires. The only way to desire what God desires is to be in Christ. We must submit ourselves to Him. Obey and trust His word. So that even when hardship comes, our desire is to honor God no matter what happens. Our desire must be Christ, and if our desire is in Him, then we have assurance that what is of God will happen.
- “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:01-05)
Godly Rest will always fill you in a way Worldly Rest cannot.
Worldly Rest leads to:
- Lack of Contentment
- Sensitivity & Assumption Making
- Focusing on the Negative
- Sin that leads to Death
Godly Rest leads to:
- (Trusting) God is in Control
- Christ Taking on Your Burden
- Singing Praises & Thankfulness
- Godly Desires
- Godly Sorrow that leads to Life
Are we turning to Christ or are we turning to what leads us to death?
The Gospel Message– The Gospel message is good news, which means there’s bad news. We all are sinners and condemned. We all deserve the just punishment of God’s wrath. Christianity is unlike any other religion because we cannot earn our way into Heaven. God saw the weakness of man and his utter depravity. Yet, He showed us grace. Jesus, God, One Person of the Trinity, became God in the flesh, the God-Man. He was always perfect and sinless. And His humanity was perfected on the cross, living the full sinless life. He became our atonement sacrifice. Dying in our place, taking on the wrath of God upon Himself. He died on the cross, and He was resurrected because death could not hold Him. Jesus is the answer. We, as guilty sinners, need His blood to pay off our debt of sin. For all who put their faith in Him – meaning eyes are opened to the Gospel, we see ourselves as a sinner, we see the need for Christ, we desire our Savior, and we see the ugliness of our sin. Putting our faith in Jesus, we seek HIs forgiveness and repent from our sins, we turn away from our old way of life. We, through the work of the Holy Spirit, continue to become convicted of sin daily. Our eyes will never be the same again. We see things in a different light, and the truth of Christ affects how we live and serve Him. Christ tells us to count the cost. Salvation is a serious topic, it is not to be taken lightly. For a breakdown of this powerful message, understanding how Christ could be God and Man, why God required sacrifices, and more -please see: Why Did A Loving God Kill His Son? (Does God Hate?)
If you think you know the Gospel, check out these questions and see how prepared you are for the day someone might ask you why you believe: The Gospel Challenge (30 Question Quiz) – Are You Ready To Defend Your Faith?
Scripture To Meditate On –(ESV) John 15:06 – If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
Community Prayer – Feb ‘23
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Video Playlist: New Christian Believer
Video Playlist: Understanding False Teachings
Video Playlist: Sermons To Grow From
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