Recipe for Rest

This was an article written by my friend Chris Clevenger. Chris works as the youth minister for the Ironaton church of Christ. I also have the privilege to serve with Chris as co-directors of BCC 3rd Session. With so many activities this time of year, this article is much needed for ALL of us. ~ Ande Z

Recipe for Rest

The benefits of rest are very rarely doubted; nevertheless, it is often hard to find ample time and sufficient opportunity to take even a day of rest. Interestingly enough, the Word of God not only commands and suggests rest (Psalm 37:7), that same Word also reveals how to obtain respite and relaxation in the world in which we live.

Revelation. The Word of God itself provides the foundation for an atmosphere and aptitude of rest. Jeremiah wrote, “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16). Sadly, the nation of Israel rejected God’s Word and God ways and found no rest. However, when we chose to walk in the paths of God’s Word we are able to enjoy the rest that only Christ can bring (Matthew 11:28-30). Like a comfortable old leather recliner, the Word of God does not change and offers rest to anyone who will abide therein.

Retreat. Sometimes in order to have any rest or relaxation we have to get away from the routine ways of our lives. The psalmist believed that rest was found a distance away when he wrote, “And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly way, and be at rest” (Psalm 55:6). The psalmist might have been fleeing from enemies, but when Jesus said, “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while,” (Mark 6:31) he was speaking to men who were mentally tired and physically weary from their exertion. In order to find rest sometimes we need to retreat and take a vacation.

Relax. Anxiety devours rest and relaxation. When under mental angst it is nearly impossible to find any peace. Paul said, “Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). Don’t be anxious; rather, remember that God is in control. You may think that you are irreplaceable or indispensable, but realize that God’s work will continue to unfold and the world will continue to operate even if you take a brief period of rest. God is in control.

Relationships. One of the easiest ways to be refreshed, especially spiritually, is by enjoying good fellowship. When we are in fellowship with God and in companionship with God’s people our zeal and fervor is often renewed.  Hebrews 10:24-25 reads, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Whether it was Jacob, Joseph, Moses, or Elijah, these men were comforted by possessing a relationship with God and with God’s people.

Refocus. The writer of the book of Hebrews offers and interesting perspective on the Old Testament day of rest, the Sabbath. Throughout chapters 3 and 4 he references the Old Testament Sabbath repeatedly, yet he does so in order to bring out the New Testament, eternal parallel. He says, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9). The “rest” of which he spoke was our eternal cessation from worldly woes, heaven. He propounded further by saying, “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (Hebrews 4:11). God calls for us to refocus on what is really important. Ultimately, rest and relaxation will only be found eternally with the Father in heaven. As His children, sometimes we have to refocus on our eternal goal or we will be guilty of spiritual ADD.

 

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