Aug 282017 0 Responses

Accept It; Don’t Achieve It

Our first thought regarding rest is that it’s something we do. And in many ways, rest is dependent on our choices, decisions and actions. However, from a Christian concept, rest is ultimately something God gives us rather than something we accomplish ourselves.

It’s the view that rest is an accomplishment which makes it more difficult to experience and more easy to ignore.

Rest Is Not an Accomplishment

If rest were an accomplishment, it would be about us and achieved our way. Viewing it as a human achievement is one reason so few people find meaningful rest. If it’s something we do, it’s something we have a choice about not doing. Rest is so easy to ignore and put off until later that many people simply don’t prioritize it. But rest is not a human accomplishment.

Rest is not about us. Yes, we garner benefits from a God-given rest, but our benefit is not the primary goal. God desires us to receive His rest not only to empower us toward service but also to proclaim His greatness. Rest is about loving God and serving others more than about us just feeling better.

Rest is not achieved our way. While there are some basic principles of rest which are available to all people, rest from a Christian concept is not discovered by simply sleeping more and eating better. Those things matter, but there is a spiritual path toward rest which includes steps we would never naturally assume.

The Christian belief regarding rest is not focused on human achievement. While there are some things we do, we believe ultimate rest is found in what God has done for us and through obeying the path he has given us.

Rest Is a Gift

Viewing rest as a gift from God changes our perspective. He gives us a gift for a purpose. When we refuse to receive that gift, it comes at a price not only to us but also to others.

Rest is about God. He created us. He knows our needs. He designed us for a reason. When we refuse the gift he offers, we hinder our ability to accomplish what he desires. Failing to experience rest doesn’t just have negative consequences for us. It is an act of rebellion against God.

Rest is experienced His way. Because it’s His gift, God chooses how we are to receive it. While there may be nuances to each person’s path, for the most part God’s way is universal. He has chosen contrarian ways to instill his rest into us and to rejuvenate our hearts and souls. To experience the rest, we can’t just do what we assume is right. We must submit to the way He has chosen.

His Way vs. Our Way

An example of how God instills rest in unconventional ways: last week in my home town it was a monsoon. We don’t have a monsoon season, but it rained about as hard as possible. When my alarm went off on Sunday morning, even I wanted to sleep in. It’s never a good sign when the preacher wants to sleep in. But I didn’t. I got up and went to one of our locations for worship. Many people at our largest location made the opposite choice. They slept in. I get it. The decision makes perfect sense to us. What can give us better rest than a rainy Sunday morning in bed? According to God, corporate worship does.

It is God’s plan for His people to gather weekly in corporate worship. That is one of the many ways He desires to rejuvenate our hearts and renew our minds. It’s an avenue through which God instills His rest in us.

As the alarm goes off, a choice has to be made. Are we going to trust what we think is right or are we going to believe God’s way? It’s interesting how many people I’ve heard this week talk about how meaningful the worship service was to them. Yet I haven’t heard many people say the key to their week was the extra sleep they got in the rain on Sunday morning.

God’s way is not the way that comes naturally to us. On many occasions, it strikes radical opposition to what we would call right. It’s one thing to seek meaningful rest, but if you see it just as a human accomplishment, the pursuit is going to leave you wanting. Yet if we see rest as a gift from God and we attempt to receive it in the manner He chooses to give it, that gift can change everything.

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