Courage for life Blog

An Invitation to Rest

August 22, 2023

Are you in need of genuine rest? Not a midday nap or extra sleep at night, but genuine rest for your mind, body, and soul so that you experience the peace, wholeness, and life enjoyment God intended for you.

God designed life so that you could enter His rest, daily and weekly.

In the creation account, God created day and night “and evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.” (Genesis 1:3) The rising of the sun and the setting of the sun signify a daily rhythm of work and rest. When God created the world and everything in it, God rested from all His work of creation and blessed that day declaring it to be set apart to Him (reference Genesis 2:1-3). This rhythm of setting aside one day every week to purposefully be in God’s presence and celebrate your relationship with Him is how God designed life to be with Him.

If God designed rest as a component of life, why does rest feel like it is unattainable?

In the creation account, Adam and Eve, the first human beings forfeited the rest that God provided for them in their relationship with Him (see Genesis 3). Adam and Eve’s unbelief in God resulted in their expulsion from the Garden of Eden, but also their rejection of God’s rest (reference Genesis 3:23). Unbelief in God is the deterrent to experiencing life the way God intended for you (i.e., abundant life in God’s rest).

In Mark 2:23–3:6 and Luke 6:1-11, the gospel writers record Jesus’ words and actions on the Sabbath, the day of the week God’s people were commanded to rest (i.e., cease from all their labors and worship God (reference Exodus 16:23; 20:8-11; 31:12-16; Leviticus 19:30; Deuteronomy 5:12-15). When God’s people were enslaved in Egypt, they did not have a choice to rest one day a week. Pharaoh made them labor every day of the week without a day set apart to worship God (see Exodus 8).

In the gospel accounts, Jesus knows that the day is the Sabbath when He and His disciples are walking through the grainfields. Jesus also knows the purpose of the Old Testament commandments regarding the Sabbath. Jesus declares that He is “the Lord of the Sabbath” revealing to the people that He is God (Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5) and that the Sabbath (i.e., weekly day of rest) is about a relationship with a person, God.

Just like the people in Jesus’ day, you may have totally missed the purpose of a weekly day of rest.

God’s heart is to spend time with you – uninterrupted, focused time with your full attention. God designed life with you in mind. God created daily rhythms of work (day) and rest (night), and a weekly day of rest that is dedicated or set apart to enjoy God, worship Him, and celebrate your relationship with Him. The religious leaders of Jesus’s day were fixated on the do’s and don’ts (i.e., rules) of observing the Sabbath which put the focus of the Sabbath on themselves, their behaviors, and comparison to others. They excluded God from the Sabbath. God wants every person to steward six days of their week wisely so that they can spend one full day each week focused on God without the need or distraction of work.

God invites you to experience His rest.

Entering God’s rest is a courageous decision on your part because culture norms and your sinful nature often war against God’s invitation to rest. You don’t accept God’s invitation to rest because that would mean you believe God, rely on God, and desire exclusive time with Him. When you reject God’s invitation of rest, you are insulting God’s trustworthiness and His faithfulness. You refuse to believe God’s promise of rest and you do not trust God nor like how He has designed life to function with daily and weekly rest. You are unwilling to trust God who designed life, created you, made a way for you to have a relationship with Him, and offers you His rest.

Don’t misunderstand and make God’s rest about scheduling naps, acquiring extra sleep, observing religious requirements, pursuing a relaxing life, being legalistic about your rest location, day, activities, or inactivity. God’s rest comes by entering a relationship with God through Jesus and grows to the abundant life promised by daily and weekly incorporating uninterrupted, focused time with your full attention on God. You dedicate or set apart time daily and weekly to enjoy God, worship Him, and celebrate your relationship with Him. Don’t reject God’s invitation to enter His rest, but instead choose to enter God’s rest and experience the peace, wholeness, and life enjoyment God intended for you. It’s how God designed life with Him to be!

Watch the LIVE REPLAY to learn more about how God designed life with rhythms of daily and weekly rest. Join us LIVE every Monday at 3 p.m. ET on @GodGivesCourage Instagram for our Spiritual Growth Series and check back here on Tuesdays for the companion blog post.

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