Why Don't You Take a Rest?

In this world, there are the nappers and there are the non-nappers.  I'm not referring to kindergartners either.  I may have fought naps when I was a little kid, but did I ever wisen up as I got older.  When my body is exhausted, I listen! Apparently, most don't, though, and sometimes others have to force fatigued loved ones to finally listen to their bodies and rest.  Did you know there are apps to remind you to take naps?  This probably testifies to the hard-core intensity of our culture.  Americans are known by their pull-up-the-bootstraps mentality and hard-work ethic.

As I look around our society today, perhaps more people should take notice of this work ethic.  But, for those of us who are already very industrious, keep pressing on...but also find time to relish some rest.

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11: 28

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God.  In it you shall do no work...  Exodus 20: 8-10a

And He said, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."  Exodus 33: 14

There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.  For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.  Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.  Hebrews 4: 9-11

In our present-day age, we Christians may want to spiritualize the rest that God promises us throughout His word.  We think it's only a spiritual rest, not a physical one.  However, the two go hand in hand.  Our bodies are not mere compartments with parts that function separately from one another.  There are times when our muscles, bones and skin need to stop their hard work because the mind cannot take it any longer.  Then there are times when our minds need to stop working in over-drive (say, perhaps, bedtime?!?) when our physical bodies are already in rest-mode.

Why do we fight against rest?  Honestly, I think it's pride.  When I wake up in the morning and see messes around the house, I want to take care of that before spending time with the Lord.  It makes me feel more at peace.  It makes me feel accomplished.  And, this is true.  But, it also puts me in charge too.  When I choose that route, and it's a very well-worn path of temptation for me, then I'm not trusting that God will supply all my needs that day.  I'm taking the reins from Him and lacking belief.

It's not a coincidence that the author of Hebrews exhorts his audience to rest, whether that is physical or spiritual.  For the reason he is concerned for this group of people is that the Israelites before them did not believe God's promises.  They hardened their hearts against God and would not enter His rest because of unbelief.

Whether it is a physical, emotional, spiritual rest...consider your motive behind not resting.  Are you trying to prove something to others?  Are you so driven that you are a slave to your compulsions?  Do you think God needs your help?

This is not a "Mary vs. Martha" post.  There are a host of reasons why we should be both hard workers AND faithful rest-ers.  The underlying, and most important, reason for resting, though, is that we trust God and believe that all He has said is true.  May God give us such a belief that we can live this out and know that He will care for each of our needs.

Love, Wendy

What Can Limit God?

It was several years ago when we heard a sermon about God's power and how it can be limited.  That just didn't seem right to me...Almighty God being limited in power?  How?  Who could be stronger than He?  Clearly, there had to be a catch with this sermon.  And, there was.  As the pastor expounded upon the the passage in the Gospels where Jesus was rejected in His own hometown of Nazareth, I started to see the effect of a person's unbelief.

Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.  And He marveled because of their unbelief.  Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.

Mark 6: 5-6

Was Jesus unable to do mighty works in Nazareth because of His own inability?  No.  It was due to the people's unbelief.  They had a hundred and thirty-one reasons, I'm sure, why this Jesus, the carpenter's Son, could not be this wise or this mighty.

 

Do we?

 

When we see Jesus bringing about freedom for a friend who was in bondage to sin, do we persist in disbelieving that He could do something like that for us?  When a broken marriage is healed because God can do the impossible, do we resist the notion that He could do the same for us too?

 

What are our reasons for not believing the One in whom we profess faith?  Is His Word untrue?  Are His promises unkept?  Perhaps we think this issue doesn't apply to us.  I'm not like those Nazarenes who didn't believe in Jesus' power, right?  Yet, I persist in my same old sins.  I ask for prayer, but inwardly figure that nothing will change and I go right back into the same old deeply engrained habits.  Or, I think I put my hope in God, yet take matters into my own hands...just in case.  It might be necessary just in case He is not faithful to what He has said.

 

Do we believe and yet not believe?  The answer is probably yes.  How hard it is to live by faith instead of sight!  We are so saturated by a fallen world that we can't even imagine the perfect love of a perfect Father or the complete power of the One who has all things under His feet.  We keep waiting for the broken promises, the inability to fix everything and the tarnished veneer.  But, I encourage you to take off that polluted perspective and replace it with the Truth of God's Word.  We must stop limiting God's power to break our bondage to sin by believing He can do this victoriously!  As we surrender our doubts and unbelief, we will see Him powerfully work without any of our restraints.   Be filled with hope from this verse as you press forward and believe.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor.  He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.

Isaiah 61: 1-3

Love, Wendy