The enemy of rest is not busyness alone. According to Hebrews 3:18-19, the prime enemy of rest is unbelief.
Typically, this unbelief surfaces when a situation we face triggers turmoil in our soul – and instead of acknowledging our feelings, desires and thoughts, and submitting them to God, we take matters into our own hands. We let our inner disquiet drive us.
The absence of rest kills. It reduces our minds to mush. It opens our bodies to disease. It replaces vitality with stupor and a crazed, mechanical running to keep up.
In spite of all that constantly fights against it, may the Lord bless us with grace to return to our rest.
Our Lord sees how very confused we are about rest and work; how backwards our understanding of life, both here and beyond the grave.
courtesy Pavel Jedlicka
Jesus did not die and rise again in order that we might kill ourselves with busyness and deep unrest in this world – and then sit uselessly on clouds forever after. He gave himself that we might begin to experience now what we’ll know in fullness later. He came to give each of us an abundantly fruitful, forever life, lived from a place of rest.
I’ve been helped on this journey by surprising insights gleaned from people in Scripture – about what rest is and how it looks. One of the first insights, and one of the most crucial, came from the ancient Israelites:
Entering rest requires pressing in to go where you haven’t believed it possible to go.
Here are 11 other signposts, placed in the path by people who came before.
Also from the ancient Israelites:
Our Lord has designed rest as a place to live – and as a pause we regularly take. We enjoy either aspect of rest only as we learn to embrace both.
The enemy of rest is not busyness alone. The prime enemy of rest is unbelief.
From Jesus’ disciple, Nathanael:
Entering rest requires recognizing when I’m sitting under a fig tree that can never produce what it promises. Seeing, I refuse the lie: “Cling to the status quo, and all will be well.”
From Martha, Mary’s sister:
Rest is refusing false responsibility. It’s not doing what Jesus says is not necessary. That requires learning to recognize his voice. It requires humbling my soul, because being “worried and upset about many things” may make me feel quite important.
From Mary, Martha’s sister:
Rest is refusing false guilt. It’s calmly staying the course when I’m doing what pleases Jesus, but others disapprove.
From the tax collectors, Matthew and Zacchaeus:
Rest lies in identifying what it is I’ve believed would make me whole or happy, and laying it at Jesus’ feet.
From Mary Magdalene:
Rest is knowing my Lord and his truth, Spirit-to-spirit. It’s letting him calm me and refocus me when my mind and emotions have run, screaming, the wrong way. It’s hearing in my inmost being when he himself calls my name.
From the man called Legion:
Rest is freedom from double-mindedness. When I live from a place of rest, my words and actions match.
From Mary, the mother of Jesus:
Rest comes when I surrender to Christ. I’m not the one calling the shots; he is. That involves continually letting him show me when I’m “working him” to get what I want, and when I’m truly seeking to know and do his will.
From the shepherd-king David:
Rest? It restores.
From the Lord himself, who said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me … and I will give you rest”:
If what you’re getting isn’t rest, where you’re going isn’t to Jesus.
Before reading past this paragraph, take three slow, deep breaths. Notice the sensation in your body each time you inhale, then exhale. Notice what happens in your inner being as you pause to take those breaths. Now … breathe.
Busy leader, did something within you resist stopping to breathe? Even if you did it, did something in you fight against it? Did something insist, “I don’t have time”?
In our culture – and in our church culture – we value busyness. We don’t value rest. Yet what are we doing to ourselves – and what are we saying about God – when we who know the Lord do not delight in rest?Read the entire article, “Stop to Breathe,” on Christianity Today’s Gifted for Leadership blog.