An Invitation To Rest

Bible Readings: Matthew 11:28-30, Psalms 37:1-7, Hebrews 4:1-11

Why does this four letter word, “rest”, sound difficult for many of us?

I struggled to pull my heart to focus.

I wanted to do everything!

Pray, study or at least read something alongside ruminate about blogging and ministry, academic work, and family life in no particular order…

A typical busy bee like me would need a lot of persuasion to simply rest and take a time off.

Regardless of how important your mission looks,

there is space and need for your soul to rest.

I know what it is to be under  pressure.

With limited time available we want to do more.

Pressure is something we create and put on ourselves.

Yes, self-inflicted pressure to accomplish more against all odds.

In this bid, we give intangible goals,

run after the next big thing,

compete senselessly even with people we don’t know

and yet we want peace in the midst of the chaos.

To enter into our rest happens only when we surrender.

It is pressure that makes us worried, stressed and hassled.

Sometimes we say we work better under pressure, but I beg to disagree.

What kind of pressure exactly?

Pressure the world heaps on our door steps?

It is hard these days to come by folks who are burdened sincerely for Kingdom business.

You know the truth is we mostly run around for anything but God’s business.

Hoot!

Let’s do a quick check.

What are you worrying over right now?

What we sweat over denies us of rest.

We claim to believe that the Lord cares for us but on the other hand we want to handle ourselves in the way we choose.

Does it mean we stop having plans and desires?

Not at all!

It means we should let our desires line up with God’s will for our lives.

Here is how we should view it…whether or not the Lord grants us our petition we remain resolute that He is God over our lives. 

 

Many of us are in the waiting room of life. 

We feel the pressure….and our hearts say

“Lord when is it going to be my turn?”

Hearts that yearn,

hands that grow weary in waiting,

and mouths continually moving in prayers….

restless hearts… when all you can do is wait!

I know what it means to wait and wait.

“Your heart needs to be quiet and at rest”.

Gasp!

Are you in the waiting room of life?

Good news is there is rest our tired souls in Christ.

Like sipping coffee or juice or your favourite drink,

there is refreshment for our weary souls.

Ready or Not this is where the miracle of rest begins.

It begins with where your heart is…

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

Your heart has to be brought and kept in the Lord.

To bring your heart to focus on Christ is through trust.

Like you, I feel restless when I am distracted by life.

When trust is in place, rest is domicile.

Peace and rest are inseparable.

Your trust grows in the Lord, when you seek the Lord with all your heart.

Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee. Job 22:21

In the face of difficult situations,

in the midst of our service in the kingdom,

we need to draw closer to Our Father to find rest.

In the place of rest we find strength, refreshing, instruction and direction we need (Mark 6:31).

Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Jeremiah 6:16

The path of righteousness,

that path that leads to life,

the way that Jesus leads us,

That’s where we need to tread,

we ask for His counsel and listen for His instructions (Isaiah 30:21),

as we continually walk in the path that He chooses for us, then we can embrace our rest.

Did you catch that?

God leads us to our place of rest and we can’t find it with Him outside the picture.

As I studied Hebrews 4, my attention was drawn to verses 1-3.

We need faith to enter into our rest.

The Word of God needs faith to produce rest for our souls.

The labour is paying careful attention to believing the Word. That’s where our hearts battle, that’s where the enemy tries to engage us.

The question of believe, faith and trust intertwined produced the rest we desire. Go over the following scriptures.

Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. Hebrews 4:1-2

And,

Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. Hebrews 4:11

Enshrine this in your heart, “labour occurs before rest not the other way around”.

There is a place of heart-work before rest…not rest first.

Your heart needs to be dealt with first then His overwhelming rest would surround you.

May be you are the hard working mom, or the exhausted stay-home wife, or the everyday woman trying to string hope in the ordinary life, in whatever shoes and shoe size you fit, Jesus wants to bear your burden.

It is freeing to hand Jesus those life’s pressures.

He is our burden bearer,

He is our yoke breaker.

He is our eternal rest.

There is the invitation; Jesus, invites you to the place of His Overwhelming rest.

Rest is a gift from for God (Ecclesiastes 3:13).

To reap and enjoy the rewards of labour is God’s gift…that what Naomi wanted for Ruth because she knew how important it is for the soul (Ruth 3:1). 

But Jesus boldly invites us in Matthew 11:28-30, ‘come unto me’

Who? –> You that have laboured  

            –> You that is heavy burdened

Why? –>  To give you rest

How do you get rest your soul needs? –> By taking on the yoke of Jesus

                                                                     –> By learning from Jesus

Is the burden you carry as a result of prideful lusts, richly gains and highmindedness?

Is the burden you carry laid upon you by life?

Or do you lose your peace because you think you aren’t doing enough?

Jesus says to you —> come let Him teach you wisdom for living a satisfied and restful life.

His yoke is easy and His burden, light unlike the world that gives you a heavy and difficult burden to bear (Psalm 37:1-2).

The world wants you to be tasked with vain pursuit and desires that never end or get satisfied.

Hold a bit:

Is the Lord mindful of your desires?

Yes but He says, commit it to Him. He says wait on Him. He will grant our desires according to His will. Psalm 37:4

For the icing on the cake:

We will enter into rest because we have believed and have received it with faith.

You enter into your rest when you get the Word mixed with faith in your heart (Hebrews 4:2).

Prayer:

Father, I thank you for giving rest to my soul. I thank you for the peace you give me. I bless you Lord with all of my heart because it is a gift to receive and enter into rest. Dear Jesus, I invite into my life, afresh. Let your word be mixed with faith in my heart. Give me your peace and let my heart be rested in you in Jesus Name. Amen.

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9 thoughts on “An Invitation To Rest”

  1. Dear Ifeoma, This is so beautiful and true. I am finding new strength in this invitation daily, as I stretch my arms to receive His Rest, right here, in the hard place. I love the words that Jesus calls us with: Come and find rest for your SOULS. When we believe and trust Him, the rest goes deeper than just physically–it is true soul-rest. Thank you for this series!

  2. Finding time to rest is something that can be easy to neglect but it is so important. I love Isaiah 26:3- that’s a verse I keep coming back to.

  3. I think we need permission to let go of our controlling ways and submit to God’s invitation to rest. Thanks for spelling that out for us, Ifeoma. I think that staying close to the Word and letting God give us a humble heart are two prerequisites for rest.

  4. Hello Ifeoma! I’m stopping in from Grace & Truth. The Lord gave me the word ‘rest’ as my 2016 OneWord and boy, was it a doozie. He made sure I bent my knees to physical rest, as well as other kinds. I resisted for a long time, but when I said ‘yes’ to rest, I experienced such sweet fellowship with Him. I’m only sorry I didn’t do it soon. Rest is for our good from our good Father. Bless you for offering such a practical and encouraging post.

  5. What an excellent post Ifeoma! Very refreshing message in todays fast-paced world! Thank you for sharing with us on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth! 🙂

  6. Thank you for your words, they are such a great reminder of the necessity to be still mentally, physically and spiritually!

  7. Rest, dear Ifeoma! 🙂
    I listened to the recording on Suzie Eller’s blog today. She was interviewing Jennifer Dukes Lee who said that she finds such happiness is checking things off her list, that she now adds things to her list like “Mandatory fun”, or “Go order an ice cream cone and enjoy it for 15 minutes in the sun.” Maybe some list people need to write “rest for 20 minutes” on their list so they can check it off when they have accomplished it! 🙂

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