In our busy, hustle and bustle world, one of the things we long for the most is rest. Yet, it’s not surprising that rest is so elusive in this distracted age we live in.
That’s why today we’ll look at what it means to rest in the Lord.
When we look for rest in the Bible, we find Bible verses about rest like Matthew 11:28. It’s likely the first Scripture that comes to mind, and with good reason. Who doesn’t feel weary and burdened these days?
I love the picture Jesus paints here:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
An Invitation to Rest in the Lord
Jesus knows the weary state of our hearts. He’s aware of all the worries that have burdened us for too long. And He invites us into
His rest. Not just any rest either.
While rest for our bodies would be a welcomed invitation on its own, Jesus goes even further to offer us rest for our souls.
Do you need rest for your soul, friend? I know I sure do.
What Does the Bible Say about Rest?
Somehow, in spite of the invitation, many of us carry on in our weary and burdened state, too busy to stop and take Jesus up on His offer. Maybe we need a stronger ‘why’ or a little more convincing to enjoy some much-needed rest. Maybe we need to consider the pros and cons. Let’s go back to the Bible and see what It says about rest.
God Himself Rested
Very early in the Bible in the book of Genesis, we find the first example of rest, demonstrated by God himself.
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” – Genesis 2:2-3 NIV
If God, being who He is, rested from doing His work, how much more should we rest? God literally set apart an entire day for rest. That’s how important rest is to God.
Perhaps you’re wondering where to get started in making time to rest in the Lord. Maybe it’s as simple as a mini personal retreat at home or just some time to quiet your mind and spend time with God. Start simply and ask God to show you where to go from there.
Resting in the Lord is a Command
Beyond an invitation, rest is a command. When God gave the 10 commandments, rest is right there on the list.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” – Exodus 20:8-11 NIV
If you have a hard time slowing down for rest, start with some devotions that are well suited for your busy lifestyle.
Turning to the New Testament, we see Jesus modeling rest as well. In spite of crowds pressing in on him, traveling from town to town, with a busy speaking and teaching schedule, Jesus made time for rest.
I especially love the story in Mark 4:35-39 where at the end of a long day, Jesus chose to rest. He rested so much that
even while a storm was raging, Jesus slept peacefully inside the boat.
Not only did Jesus set the example of rest, but He also called His disciples to rest.
“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” – Mark 6:31 NIV
So, we see many other examples in the Bible where we are taught and shown how to rest in the Lord.
But let’s be real…..
If you can relate to any of these, I encourage you to take rest.
I’m going to show you how you can rest from the things that keep us from resting in the Lord. Here’s how.
How to Rest in the Lord
1. Rest from Fear & Worry
I get it, we live in troubled times and there are lots of things to worry about. When we’re not worrying about our future, we’re worrying about what someone said to upset us and wondering what their intentions might have been.
We worry about the bills, our health, our kids. We worry about whether we have enough money in our retirement accounts. We worry about having the discipline to make healthy choices. Worry is all around us, isn’t it?
When we spend time worrying, resting is almost impossible. Our worried minds are literally restless. And when it comes right down to it, worry is rooted in fear.
Fear is what’s keeping us from resting in the Lord. But we don’t have to give in to fear. Instead, let’s choose to remember that God is always with us, providing for our needs, making a way in the darkness, and comforting us on the journey.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4 NIV
2. Rest from Striving
Our culture applauds hard work and while that is fine, many take it to an extreme. Working long hours, multiple jobs, and striving to get to the next round in life, are all commonplace. While economics might be the reason behind it, we have to stop and ask ourselves why. What is the real root of striving so hard?
Again, is it because of fear or worry? Is it to try to live up to someone else’s standards? Don’t get me wrong, there can be many justifiable reasons why you’re working so hard. Just be mindful of the price you’re paying along the way.
If all your striving is risking your health, physical or mental wellbeing, or your relationship with God, family, and friends, then you just might want to take a second look and rest.
And in all that you do, be sure to keep God at the center of it.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves.” – Psalm 127:1-2 NIV
3. Rest from Comparison
One of the things that steal our joy the fastest is comparison. Have you ever noticed that when you compare yourself to someone else you find yourself in a restless state of mind?
When we look around at others it’s easy to forget what we have right in front of us. So, today I encourage you to rest from comparison.
Remember God has given you all you need to live a godly life. If He thought you needed what the other person has, He’d give that to you too. Whether in a physical or spiritual sense, trust that God meets ALL your needs.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” I Peter 1:3 NIV
How are you Resting in the Lord?
We’d love to hear what it means for you to rest in the Lord. Which Bible verse about rest spoke to your heart the most? What steps will you take today to rest from fear, striving or comparison?
“Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” – Psalm 116:7 NIV
My prayer is that you will enjoy true rest in the Lord.
Marva is a management consultant, leadership trainer, work and life strategist, and writer. Yet, she finds the most joy in her roles as wife to her husband of 16 years, and mom to a teen and tween. She is passionate about equipping, inspiring and empowering women to thrive in every area of life, and does this through her courses, coaching and online community Free to Thrive. Her ideal day starts while it’s still dark with her Bible in one hand and coffee in the other. Connect with Marva on her website MarvaSmith.com and on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.