Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 05/24/17

Rest in Jesus


STORY: Too Busy to Rest

Often we say, “When thus-and-so happens, then I will catch up on my rest.” For you, that might be:

  • When I finish that project.
  • When my kids are in school.
  • When I get that promotion/raise.
  • When I find a different job.
  • When I have enough money to hire help.
  • When my kids leave home.
  • When my finances improve.
  • When I get in better health/shape.
  • When I retire.

“When we strive, God waits; when we rest, God acts.” –Jack Frost

Rest requires faith, and a lack of soul rest is caused by fear and doubt. The Greek definition for “rest” means “to cease, to be refreshed, to settle down, and to abide.”

It takes submission and surrender to settle down into God’s rest. Instead, many of us go through life feeling restless. When we don’t allow our hearts to be still, our emotions stay stirred up. We struggle with an unresolved issue. Forgiveness. Bitterness. Hurt. Insecurity.

Restlessness is a symptom of being homesick for God’s love. Because that’s when true rest comes—when we can hunker down in His love and know it’s enough—we don’t have to perform or strive for perfection. Just be.

“The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” – The White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland

If you can relate to that saying, you’re probably still striving for: praise, performance, power or perfection. You will never rest if you chase these self-focused goals. Let’s lay down those pursuits and chase after just one thing. More of Jesus. Then our hearts can find rest.

STUDY: The Gospel of Rest

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)

  • One thing about Jesus coming to earth as a human—He understands our struggles. Here He mentions those of us who are weary and burdened down. He knows just what we need. What does He offer us?
  • What does it take to enter into His rest?
  • Don’t worry if you don’t know how to yoke up with the Savior—He says He will teach you. What kind of teacher is He? He is H______ and G________ at heart. The best kind of calming teacher we can have!
  • What kind of rest does He offer?
  • What do you think soul rest is?
  • A yoke is used to join two working beasts together to get a better result. So how can a yoke be easy to bear? The burden is lightened because we are yoked up with Jesus.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)

  • Do you have worries? Paul says we aren’t supposed to worry about anything. Can you find a concern on your worry list exempt from this?
  • What alternative does Paul give for worrying?
  • What is causing you to be restless right now that you haven’t brought to the Father in prayer?
  • Paul goes on to help you out when you don’t know what to pray. What does He mention here?
  • What happens when you use the “tell and thank” method of praying?
  • This verse shows us what soul rest is like. It is experiencing God’s peace. How is God’s peace different than human peace?
  • What will God’s peace do for your heart and mind?
  • What is the condition to this peace, mentioned at the end of the verse? How will you do this today?

God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God. For only we who believe can enter his rest. ... So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. ... So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest. (Hebrews 4:1-11a NLT)

  • I wonder what it takes to enter God’s rest. Is it as simple as entering a room?
  • How is availability of God’s rest good news? That phrase is often used about the gospel. So, we could call this, “the gospel of rest.”
  • Why do you think this kind of rest is only available to those who believe?
  • How does disobeying God disqualify us from rest?
  • Hebrews mentions a special rest reserved for God’s people. A rest from laboring. How do you try to specialize in resting?

STEPS: Pursue Rest

  1. Pull yourself away from the chaos of life to pray. “Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.” (Mark 1:35 NLT)
  2. Focus your thoughts on God—not on the problems. Trust His process. “You will keep in perfect peace, all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)
  3. Find a relaxing atmosphere away from the clutter of life to rest. “Rest in the shade of this tree while water is brought to wash your feet.” (Genesis 18:4 NLT)

Copyright © 2017 Kathy Carlton Willis. Used by permission.

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