Divine Rest

Divine Rest

But God’s mercy is so abundant, and his love for us is so great, that while we were spiritually dead in our disobedience he brought us to life with Christ. It is by God’s grace that you have been saved. In our union with Christ Jesus he raised us up with him to rule with him in the heavenly world. He did this to demonstrate for all time to come the extraordinary greatness of his grace in the love he showed us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-7).

The kind of rest that I want to talk about here is not the one where you take some time off so that you can relax or rest your body. It is about spiritual rest. This does not mean sitting and relaxing and doing nothing because you are a saved believer, it simply means taking your rightful position as a child of God – that of Rest. The position every believer must strive for is actually the position of rest.

Everyone has sinned and is far away from God’s saving presence. But by the free gift of God’s grace all are put right with him through Christ Jesus, who sets them free (Romans 8:23-24).

It is by grace that we have been saved and God accepts us back to Him by His grace through Jesus Christ. Our Christian experience begins with what God has done. The book of Ephesians 1:7-8 says;

‘in Him we have redemption by His blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of His grace that He lavished upon us.’

Everything that we receive from God comes on the wings of grace. Whatever we want from God has already been given (Ephesians 1:17-20, 2:6). Our position as God’s children is to rest.

So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God; For he who has once entered [God’s] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labours just as God rested from those labours peculiarly His own. Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell] (Hebrews 4:9-11).

We need to activate what God has given us from the place of rest. God has our lives figured out but many of us miss out on His goodness and blessings because our positions are not right in Him. We must strive to get to the place of rest because it is the secret power of a believer.

An English dictionary defines rest as simply a mere relaxation from toil, refreshment, a relief or freedom, especially from anything that wearies, troubles or disturbs.

The will of God for each one of us is to access the kind of life He created us to have. We cannot enjoy abundance and life in its fullness outside God’s presence. Rest was first manifested in the Garden of Eden. Man, in the beginning, was enjoying a high level of divine rest but there was something he was supposed to do to keep enjoying this kind of rest, ‘cultivating and taking care of the garden’. Unfortunately, he did not obey and so all the privileges in the Garden were cut off. The fellowship between him and God was broken. This ushered in him another kind of life he never knew existed – a life of struggle and toiling. But God in His infinite mercies provided a redemptive solution. This means that all who believe in Jesus have access to the divine rest. Jesus is the only way. It does not end there, we are supposed to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

When you are at rest, you can activate God’s blessings for your life. Being in Christ Jesus means you are seated with Him in the heavenly places. It also means that you have a continuous fellowship with Him. In the Garden of Eden, man and God related like close friends. God would come to the Garden and visit the man. Also during the time of Abraham, God would come and visit him and they would talk as close friends. This is the kind of fellowship that God requires from us – continuous, unhindered and unbroken fellowship. This kind of fellowship is only possible when we are at ‘rest.’

This means that at this point we rely on God, trust Him, have faith in Him as well as cling to Him. It also means relating with Him while at the same time acknowledging Him as our Father and our Lord, walking in obedience to His word and giving Him a true worship. This is the highway to divine rest. Fellowshipping with God must be our first priority.

So, what happens when we fail to align ourselves with the will of God?

“But I said, “Don’t be afraid of those people. The Lord your God will lead you, and he will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt and in the desert. You saw how he brought you safely all the way to this place, just as a father would carry his son.’ But in spite of what I said, you still would not trust in the Lord, even though he always went ahead of you to find a place for you to camp. To show you the way, he went in front of you in a pillar of fire by night and in a pillar of cloud by day. “The Lord heard your complaints and became angry, and so he solemnly declared, ‘Not one of you from this evil generation will enter the fertile land that I promised to give your ancestors (Deuteronomy 1:32-35).

Hebrews 3:7-11 warns;

So then, as the Holy Spirit says: “If you hear God’s voice today, do not be stubborn, as your ancestors were when they rebelled against God, as they were that day in the desert when they put him to the test. There they put me to the test and tried me, says God, although they had seen what I did for forty years. And so I was angry with those people and said, ‘they are always disloyal and refuse to obey my commands.’ I was angry and made a solemn promise: ‘They will never enter the land where I would have given them rest!’”

Our lives are full of toiling and struggling simply because we are not at rest. Jesus is giving us an invitation in the book of Matthew 11:28 calling us to go to Him if we labour and are weary and He will give us rest.

There is danger my dear brethren when we fail to enter into the place of rest as given in the above scripture. We are warned against hardening our own hearts. Once we come to Christ, we are ushered into a place of rest but if we harden our hearts, then it becomes rebellion. Psalms 95:8-11 offers a similar warning based on the failure of the children of Israel to enter Canaan. The warning is against failing to enter God’s rest, due to unbelief, hardness of heart, and disobedience. Moses did not lead the people of Israel into Canaan. In fact he and Aaron did not enter the land either. But for us, there is still a rest that is available to us, and there is danger in failing to enter that rest, for the same reasons that the earlier generation failed.

So, if we claim to be in Christ Jesus while our daily lives are characterised by struggling and toiling all through, then for sure we are not at rest. One of the reasons why we fail to take rest in Jesus is because we are still after worldly things. We come to Him half heartedly, never commit and are ready to pull out any time. This means that we are still connected to our past or the world.

The other reason is due to lack of trust and faith in the Lord. Lack of faith is bad, for no one can please God without faith. When we lack faith we are like a wave in the sea (James 1:6) and are not in a position to receive anything from God.

Our fulfillment and joy in life begins by first taking rest in God.

About Ashlly Ruth

Ruth is a born again believer who loves Christ with passion. Writing is not just a hobby to her, it’s passion. Playing with words and putting them together to encourage, empower and teach humanity is her greatest purpose in life and she loves it. Visit her website for more info.

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