Today I’m sharing a bit about a topic I’ve been writing about recently in my blogs and podcasts: rest in God. We hear this phrase often, but what does it actually mean?
So let’s get into it .
What is God’s rest?
One of the dictionary definitions for rest is:
– to lie or lean on something, or to put something on something else so that its weight is supported
This definition is very interesting considering what Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30
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.
So what is God’s rest?
Well, if we read the verses above, we see Jesus talks not about physical rest, but about rest for our souls. That is what God’s rest is all about.
God’s rest is about our souls resting in Him.
What God’s rest is not!
One of the other dictionary definitions of rest is:
– freedom from activity / a state of motionlessness or inactivity
While this is true of physical rest, this is not what resting in God means. In Matthew 11, Jesus does not tell us to be inactive or motionless.
Jesus tells us that in order to find rest, we need to do some things. So what do we need to do? How do we find God’s rest?
How do we find God’s rest?
So we’ve established that God’s rest is about our souls resting in Him, but then the question becomes: how?
Jesus gives us the answer in the above verses.
– Go to Him – “come to me all you who are weary and burdened”
– Take His yoke (which means leaning on Him for direction and strength)
– Learn from Him – “for I am gentle and humble in heart”
In practical terms, there are certain disciplines we can also develop that will help us to do this.
Biblical Examples of resting in God
– Paul – Paul found contentment, joy and rest amid strife, persecutions and difficulties because He trusted in God and His sovereignty and grace (2 Corinthians 12:10)
– Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego found rest in God despite the threat of a fiery furnace because their hope was in God who was able to deliver them and who would deliver them from the hands of the King (Daniel 3:12-18)
Ultimate rest – salvation
One of the primary ways we rest in God is that we trust in His work through Jesus on our behalf. We do not rely on our works but the Great Exchange in which our sins were laid on Jesus, and His righteousness is given to us.
The rest God gives us is not about absence of activity, but it is an absence of anxiety. It’s about actively submitting to God, giving our anxiety to Him, going to Him for strength, and surrendering to His sovereignty. Ultimately, rest in God happens when we put our faith in Jesus for our salvation.