Rest and peace are often used to convey the same meaning yet there is such a vast difference between the two words. It is quite possible to rest but have no peace.
Today I want us to look at “rest” in the strict concept of its dictionary meaning.
As we dig into the meanings you will see how it could mean big changes for us this year.
The Online Dictionary defines rest as:
1. To cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.
2. To be placed or supported so as to stay in a specified position.
3. An instance or period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in strenuous or stressful activity.
4. An object that is used to support something.
I don’t know about you, but I get increasingly tired as the year goes by.
It doesn’t seem to matter how much time off and vacation there is at the end of the year a feeling of great exhaustion takes over my body and my mind.
Yet January 1 I’m all energized and refreshed. Why is that?
It’s simple. It’s my mindset. Something about a brand new year feels like turning over a new leaf.
One that is unmarked by any failures or broken promises - one that I can use to make great changes in the world.
But this is not what God wants for us. He doesn’t want us to go through periods of great exhaustion followed by the illusion of rest.
We are invited in Matthew 11:28-29 to take on the yoke that Jesus gives because he gives us true rest for our souls. In Christ, we find a way to refresh ourselves and to recover our strength.
Christ encourages us to learn from him. To adopt his principles for living. This included time spent in prayer and in service. This is where rest may be found.
Too often in this life we try to do things on our own. We feel that we have to be all things to all people and sometimes we forget that we’re humans and that we need to take care of ourselves too.
It’s in these moments that we need to remember that we can lean on Jesus. He has enough to support us.
Enough resources ….
He has – enough. When we learn to trust him and to lean on him, we learn the true meaning of peace and have hope and joy enough to share.
I am reminded of the story of Jesus in the boat in the middle of the storm. He was tired and so he rested.
Even as the boat was tossed by the rough seas, he was seemingly oblivious. That will be us when we rely on God:
Though we are buffeted and tormented by all the trauma and drama of life, we will rest easy because our minds are fixed on Christ in whom we will find our rest.
On the seventh day God rested from all his work. Now if you think about it what did God really do to cause him to require rest?
If we’re honest – not much.
All he did was speak a few words. The most work was to create to human beings and perform a marriage ceremony.
I hope you will forgive me for over-simplifying. But I want us to focus on this key thought – if God rested after six days of work, why shouldn’t we?
How many times each week do we just – stop?
No social media.
If your answer is difficult to admit out loud, this may be your opportunity to try something new. Go ahead, I dare you – take one day this week and just rest. You’ll feel so much better for it.
Maybe you need to spend some time asking God to keep you in the center of his will so you won’t get in his way.
Are you struggling to find rest for your weary soul this year? Seek to be intentional in finding rest in Jesus.
Want even more ideas for one word resolutions? Check out our list here.