For the REST of Us


written by Pastor Justin Brown
Rest. You may say, “Rest, what is that?” But it is necessary. In fact it is a something all of us need to do (and be better at).  From the Beginning, the Father knew we needed rest, so He set a specific time aside for us to do just that, both physically and spiritually. When we think of rest, we ultimately think, nap, or sleep. That is physical rest.

We need to sleep so our bodies and brains can function properly. Did you know that in the United States more than 60% percent of people do not get the amount of sleep that their body physically requires? In fact, depending on age, this group runs in a deficit of about 20% on an annual basis of the amount of sleep that they so desperately need.

John Piper famously states in "A Godward Life", “Sleep is a daily reminder from God that we are not God”. Profound, isn’t it? A reminder that we need because we lack. Many times, we don’t rest/sleep because we are too busy doing the things that we in America do best, Hurry and Worry.

We fill every moment with something, and then we worry about all the things we have no control over. When we just need to rest. Not just physically but spiritually.  

Donald Whitney writes in his book “Simplify Your Spiritual Life”, “Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap.” I really love that quote and need to do better at practicing it. Sleep is good and necessary, we see Jesus sleeping, (in a storm on a sea, having no concern, (Mark 4:38)).

But what about Spiritual rest? How are you doing with that?

Jesus famously speaks about eternal rest in Matthew 11:28-30.
Matthew 11:28-30
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 
I will spare you some of the context of this rich passage for time and space sake, but Christ is bidding His people those who are of Him to Rest in Him. Not in their works, or their plans, but in him. That is the theological side of this portion of this passage. The Practical portion is this: You will only find true rest in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Sure, you may sleep good, unwind well, have a lot of things that make you happy, but true rest is only in Him.

Here are three practical ways we can dig deeper into our relationship and rest with him:
  • Prioritize our Rest. Plan it and stick to it. It must be a discipline and a priority in our life. Time with God, our family, etc. and prioritize it often.
  • Be Repentant of Sin. Much of the reason we don’t rest is sinful. We place other things in front of God, our families, etc. We are anxious about things we can’t control, and try to take the reins away from God, trusting in ourselves instead.
  • Remove Yourself.  We need to do better at setting healthy boundaries, saying no some things and yes to those that matter. That means severing unhealthy habits, time stealers, joy robbers, and toxic relationships. Many times, that mean removing yourself bodily. Not being put into compromising positions, even Just Getting away with Christ. Friend, you don’t need more “me time”, you need more Jesus and you time.

I know many of you are saying “All this sounds great but…..” Let us not have such a shallow relationship with Christ that we trust him only in somethings and not for our daily cares and even our rest. We feel this burden of His is too heavy because we are trying to carry it. Lay your cares upon Him because His yoke is easy and His burden is truly light, because it is Him that will carry it.

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