Rest is not something used to recover. Its purpose is to help us prepare. I’ll dissect that statement as this article goes on. First, and probably most importantly, there’s something I need to clear up.
When we hear the term “rest” or “relaxing,” it’s not unusual for the term “balance” to come to mind. We work throughout the week. Resting and taking it easy are natural. It’s something we schedule for and make routine. We do this because society tells us it’s what we’re supposed to do. The only problem is society doesn’t define the norm. God does so through His Word.
If Jesus is truly before all things in your life like He wants to be, a balanced schedule isn’t a luxury for you. Now, don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not saying rest isn’t important. What I am saying is there’s nothing balanced about it. Think about this for a minute. We are created in God’s image. That means we should make following His example a priority.
In chapter one of Genesis, we learn about creation. Yes, God rested. He spent a day doing it. Read that again. He spent a day doing it. God spent the seventh day resting. The Bible makes this perfectly clear. It doesn’t mention God resting very much day one through six. There was no balance.
God spent six days working. Then, He rested for a day. I’m not going to call you lucky. You’re actually missing out on a lot. If you’re one of the people who only work 40 hours for five days a week, you’re selling yourself short. A 40-hour work-week isn’t biblical. If you notice, none of the people in the Bible clocked in or out.
When Jesus is before all things in your life, everything you do is for His glory. Work is a direct reflection of His presence in your life. Raising children. The way you interact with your spouse. Neighborhood activities and church events throughout the week. Going to school. Studying for a test. Literally, everything you do becomes an act of worship.
Because of this, you give your all in everything you do. You exhaust yourself. You’re demonstrating to Jesus that, yes, He gave His life for you on the cross. Because of that, it’s important for you to put all that you are into everything you do. No, there’s no room for balance. Unless you’re walking for Jesus. That’s the only time balance is important.
Because we give all that we have in everything we do and following Jesus is our number one priority, rest has to be important. It’s a necessity. That being said, we have to look at rest in the proper context. At the beginning of the article, I mentioned rest isn’t for recovery. It’s used for preparation. When you live life the way I’ve explained, there’s a level of trust involved. When you first begin to live a life sold out for Jesus, you’re going to get tired. Don’t worry. That only lasts for a few weeks.
Some people will tell you this is because your body and mind get used to the exhaustion. Perspective is everything. It’s not that you’re used to being worn out. You simply learn to tap into a new form of strength: Jesus. He gives your body what you need when there’s nothing left. As a result, you don’t rest from what you’ve been doing. Instead, you prepare for what He’s getting ready to have you achieve.
Think about Genesis 1 for a minute. Yes, God worked for six days, and then He rested. On the sixth day, He created mankind. Adam had yet to do anything to make him tired. God had him rest to prepare for what he was getting ready to do. It’s no different with us.
We don’t rest on Sunday to recover from the previous six days. We’re preparing for what’s to come. This has to be worked into our prayers. We need to discuss this with God to properly identify the mission. Once we begin looking at rest the way we’re supposed to, it becomes more. We discover it provides a peace we’ve never received before. I want to spend the remainder of the article discussing why rest is important and how we should go about doing it.
How do you rest?
Too often, when someone thinks about rest, a comfy bed, pillows, and a blanket are involved. Yes, we need to be getting sleep. However, this isn’t the only way to re-energize. Rest can be achieved in many ways. There are times I do this with a fishing pole at the lake. More often than not, I rest reading or writing in my office. I rest while playing with my daughter at the park. My favorite way to rest is watching the Chicago Cubs play the greatest game ever played.
How you rest isn’t important. What matters is you make God a part of what you’re doing. You open yourself to Him. I talk to God while I fish. When L’il V and I are at the park, I teach her about the gospel. I rigorously pray every time Rizzo, Bryant, or Schwarber step into the batter’s box.
If Jesus isn’t involved with what you’re doing, it’s impossible to consider it rest as He is the source of it. In order to prepare for what He wants us to do, He has to be a part of it.
What are you resting for?
This is major. If you don’t know what it is you’re preparing to do, how in the world can you do it the way you’re supposed to? I can’t give you any pointers here. You know God’s purpose in your life, not me. If you don’t, spend some time talking to Him about it.
I work in the steel industry. It’s hot. I just look at the building I work in and get dirty. Physical work is involved. In order to represent Jesus to the best of my ability, there’s a certain way I rest. I’m also a dad and a husband. When I’m resting to prepare to accomplish this how God would have me, resting looks different than what I do for work. I spend about 30 hours a week writing. This doesn’t require muscle. I prepare differently.
I’ve purposely left a lot for you to think about. Rest is important. Why you’re resting matters. I’ll leave you with a question. Does the rest you get center around doing something for God the way He would have you? If you can’t confidently say yes to this without hesitation, you’re not resting the way you should. Until you do, you’ll never be able to experience a peace that surpasses all understanding. You won’t be resting. You’ll just be acting lazy.
Featured Image by monkeyoutside