What is True Rest?
Isaiah 30:15 says: “For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.’ But you would not.”
What is true rest? All throughout the book of Isaiah we see this tension between the wrath of God and the grace of God. Israel is a hard book to read, but it has so many amazing truths about God. Many of the characteristics about God seem like contradict. Isaiah’s message also seems like a double edged sword. On one hand, Isaiah contains some of the most wonderful truths about the coming Messiah but on the other hand, we see lots of judgment. So as we dissect the last few chapters, how do we balance the idea of God’s wrath and God’s goodness?
God pronounced judgment on Israel and the world not to break them down, but to bring them back. If we are going to try and go our own way, God will use whatever means to get us back to Him. Paul talks about this when he says, “ And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.All things work together for good…” (Romans 8:28) This passage is saying God will work every situation out for our good. It doesn’t mean everything will be good, but it means good can come from even our suffering. We talked about this last time we met together.
So what is one way good comes from the hard places? Rest. According to our verse, Isaiah 30:15, when we return to God and rest in Him and His plan for our lives we can have rest and peace in our hearts. One month a few yeas ago I studied rest and decided to work harder to finding rest.
Being at rest is less about daily rituals and more of a soul’s habit. Bubble baths are good, but if our minds live in fear and our hearts are characterized by anxiety, not amount of bubbles in the world will calm our souls. Proverbs 4:23 says: “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” For a restful life, we must begin with a restful heart.
Seven Habits of True Rest
1. Come to God. Your life will not find rest without God. Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden. We find rest when we come to Jesus. He is inviting us to join the fellowship and love He shares with the Father. Focus your heart on God. Delight yourself in Him. Find rest when you come to Him.
2. Communion with Christ. Friendship and fellowship with Jesus is vital for the heart to find rest. Yes, He invites us to come, but to come into friendship with Himself and the Father. Center your life around Christ. The Gospel is good news for everyday. You are loved. You are forgiven. You have grace. Everyday. Find rest in daily communion with Christ.
3. Confession of sin. One of the reasons I can feel anxious is because I have unconfessed sin in my life. Be quick to confess. When we confess our sins, we find that He is so faithful and just to forgive us of all our our unrighteousness. Find rest in confession.
4. Contentment. When I think about those around me who are at rest, I see contentment. Contentment in their possessions. Contentment in their relationships. Contentment in their circumstances. Comparison is truly the thief of joy. A deep sense of peace and joy follow those who are content. Godliness with contentment is great gain. Find rest in contentment.
5. Can Say No. Seasons come and go for when we say “yes” to certain things. If you find yourself spent and exhausted saying “yes” to everyone and every situation, I highly recommend Lysa TerKeurst’s book “The Best Yes.” Those who learn to say “No” or “Not right now” find rest.
6. Concentrate on the eternal. Only two things last forever. (1) God’s Word. (2) People. Fixing our eyes on these two things will keep our hearts at rest. Invest in people. Invest in spreading God’s Word. It will be the only two things following us to Glory. Find rest in concentrating on the eternal.
7. Confident in the Future. Remember who has your heart. Remember who holds your life in His hands. Keep your heart focused, not on the unknown of the future, but the One who holds the future. Keep your mind and heart steady on Him. He is enough for you to trust. Rest in confidence, because our God truly is enough.
I encourage you to begin to developing a heart of rest. It won’t come overnight. You can see this isn’t a checklist to a rest-filled life. It is a beginning. For you. For me. We can always start today.
What is your definition of rest?
Spend time with God. I cannot stress enough how much less stress I have when I spend my morning time with God. Or anytime, really. If I pray, read Scripture and just reflect, I fill my heart with truth to fight the battles coming.
Take deep breaths. No, its not silly to just breathe in and out in a moment of stress. I do it a lot in the car. If I catch myself getting riled up, their tiny voices raising to out-shout each other, I begin to breathe in and out. I focus myself on the breathing.
Memorize a verse to use in the moment of chaos. Today, while driving around, I repeated one of my favorite verses: My God is a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1.Most of the “trouble” I face on a daily, ordinary basis is my temper. So it made sense this verse came to me in a crazy moment. I just kept repeating the verse and felt my heart calm.
Interrupt busy. If telling my oldest to keep quiet didn’t work, I might have had to pull the car over. Sometimes I’m in the middle of making dinner and I need to turn the stove off and engage. I get stressed when I try to deal with craziness while I’m busy. I might have to step aside and put away my busy to be with my children.
Music. Putting my earphone in and playing soothing music sometimes helps to calm my heart. The crazy isn’t always fighting, but it is loud. The volume of the house gets to my heart and makes me a little restless sometimes. Listening to something quiet helps me to take a break.
How to you find true rest?