Rest How To’s

The funny thing about Rest is that it doesn’t mean you have nothing to do.  We have plenty to do!  As a matter of fact, the author of Hebrews uses words like “zealous”, “exert”, “diligently”, “fearlessly”, “confidently”, and “boldly” when describing our obtaining the Rest (Hebrews 4: 11, 16).   All of them imply that I have a role.  So here are some “How to’s” that I’ve learned:

1.   Guard your gates– Here’s how I think about it.  There was a steep price that was paid for my Freedom.  Jesus Christ, who committed no sin, suffered and died an unimaginably horrific death because of His unconditional love for me and His desire to bless me beyond measure.  So, now that I am free, No one’s taking it from me!  I am going to fiercely protect it.  There are gates to our spirit that must be protected: our ears, eyes, and mouth.

  • Ears: Since faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17), it is important for us to be mindful of who and what we listen to.  We will find ourselves accepting and believing whatever we consistently listen to.  So, from music on the radio to well-intentioned friends and family, be careful what you allow to speak louder than the voice of God.  Refuse to receive words that are contrary to what God has spoken (Yep, even if it costs you friends or even family).
  • Eyes: Just like our ears, what we focus our eyes on will eventually dictate the direction we go in.  I remember when I was learning how to drive, my instructor warned me not to stare or focus on anything too long, especially something that was not if front of me, because I would eventually steer the car in the direction of whatever I was focused on.  Don’t allow yourself to focus on circumstances, people, or anything that can distract you.  Peter was walking on water toward Jesus, but when he took his eyes off Jesus and began to focus on the storm around him, he starting sinking fast (Matthew 14:28-30).
  • Mouth: As beings who were created with the same power to create with words as God used when He created the earth (…and God said let there be…), the importance of what we say and the impact our words have on our lives and the lives of those around us can’t be understated.  Solomon spent a lot of time talking about it in Proverbs.  I’m gonna point out just a few: Proverbs 13:3 and Proverbs 21:23 instruct us to guard our mouth to keep out of trouble.  Proverbs 18:20 warns that we will have what we say, good or bad.  I like the explanation in James 3:3 best- if we can control our tongue, we can control who we are, what we do, and what we have.  Speak only that which is in agreement with the Word, and if you’re not sure what to say about a situation, don’t say anything until you know what He says about it.

2.   Get intimate– Here’s a scripture we hear a lot, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  No, it doesn’t mean that we have to walk around mumbling religious prayers to ourselves all day.  It means that we should be in constant fellowship with the Spirit, having a constant awareness of His presence in us, and allowing ourselves to listen and be led by Him…all day.  This takes getting used to.  We’re used to being the captain of our ship…making our decisions and then asking God to bless them.  Well, He has called us to be sons (and daughters), which means we need to be led by Him (Romans 8:14).  When you think about it, this takes the pressure off us!  He’s in control of and has already taken care of our provision, our protection, our peace, our everything!  We just have to trust him to direct our path to it (Proverbs 3:5-6).

3.   Be consistent– That’s why the writer of Hebrews 4 said we have to be zealous and diligent.  Rest goes against our fleshly natural instinct to control our circumstances and worry about them when they don’t turn out the way we planned.  The Rest lifestyle will therefore require discipline to train ourselves to trust God instead of ourselves and that which we can see.
There are ways we can know how we’re adapting to our new lifestyle.  When you are truly and consistently participating in God’s Rest
–   you will desire to know what the Word says about every situation in your life.  You’ll start to seek it out.  This is great because it will cause you to get well nourished in the Word.  The enemy won’t be able to attack your mind as easily, and you’ll be putting him in his place consistently…under your feet!
–   you will find yourself speaking more in line with what the Word says about your situation. This is another great sign!  Luke 6:45 says that we will speak whatever our heart is filled with.  And Jesus tells us that if we believe what we say and it’s in line with His will/Word, we will have what we say (Mark 11:22-24).
–   you will find yourself unable to tolerate things/people that don’t agree.  Several weeks ago, my son was very sick and hospitalized.  My family, friends, and I prayed for his healing, and he was eventually healed.  Several days after he was discharged from the hospital, someone asked me about his welfare and began to say that the type of illness he had typically comes back and he would probably be prone to it for the rest his life, so I should be watchful.  Now, I know the person meant no harm and was only trying to be kind, but I found myself not being able to accept what they were saying.  As a matter of fact, it felt like nails on glass in my spirit; I immediately stopped them mid-sentence and said, “My son is healed!”
–   your anxiety levels will decrease (less stress) regardless of what is going on around you. Now, let me state here that Rest does not mean you will not have challenges, but what changes is how you handle them.  Instead of scrambling to find the answer in your own strength and wisdom, you will seek His wisdom, pray and listen for His guidance in your daily quiet time with Him, and obey His instruction, no matter how peculiar it seems, because you trust and rely solely on Him…you are a son/daughter.
–   you will see more consistent fruit/evidence in your life.  Testimonies of how He led you will be plentiful, those around you will want to know, “How did you…?”, and you will be able to share Jesus with them.

 

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