Today, I choose to enter into the rest of Jesus Christ.
As I was praying this morning and early afternoon, the Holy Spirit directed me to a Bible verse in Psalm 132:14:
~”This is my rest forever; here will I dwell; for I have desired it.”~Psalm 132:14, KJV~
Rest, in an earthly sense, is temporary. But, it is eternal when put into Christian context. For the sake of this blog post, I am going to explain both the first and fourth definition of rest, which I will type below, according to http://www.merriam-webster.com:
Rest-(1st definition on website)-a bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities (sleep, repose).
Rest (4th definition on website)-peace of mind or spirit.
When I read the 1st definition of rest, I think of sleep. Not peace of rest in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But, I think of a temporary break from all mental and physical activity, such as walking, eating, reading, etc. As humans, we are limited in what we can do mentally and physically. This is why we take a temporary break by sleeping (whether it be napping, sleeping at night, etc.), so that we can be mentally and physically re-charged and energized for the next day, ready to serve the Lord in that day’s assignment that He has given us. This can even relate to ministry as the Lord wants us to take breaks every so often and recharge our batteries (pause) so that we can rest in Him. This allows followers of Christ to sacrificially stop self by taking care of self so that one can be physically, mentally, and emotionally ready to serve the Lord with his or her full best.
I had to learn this at one point of my life. I was being harsh on myself at one time in my life when I could not physically go on a missions trip to Lebanon due to health reasons (this is the 2nd time I signed up for the trip at my church in 2017.—–not the 1st time I went to Lebanon in 2016 with my team. I was still able to serve by writing for the blog as the team served there for the 2017 trip and I remained in the United States). I was harsh on myself in that I wanted to serve the children in Lebanon and not bother to take care of my health and rest. The Holy Spirit of God stopped me so that I could pause and do what was necessary and take care of myself holistically (mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual). This allowed me to enter into that rest in the Lord so that I could enjoy all of Him in me as I abided in His rest in that season of my life.
A leader from my church (a very wise woman of God) encouraged me with these words even though it was very hard for me to hear in that moment,” Even Jesus took breaks.”
I agree with her in that she is right in making this statement in that Jesus Christ took breaks from ministry so that He too could re-charge His batteries and rest in God. He needed breaks so that He could be completely Spirit-filled, ready to minister, and not be filled with self because He wanted His ministry on earth to glorify His Heavenly Father.
~”Pray without ceasing.”~1 Thessalonians 5:17, ESV~
My good friend, Valhalla, texted me as I was going through this rough time. She told me in the text message, “Give yourself grace and rest in the Lord.” While it sounded easier said than done in that moment, I had to make a choice: die to self or serve the Lord in that moment as I rest in Him. God is good in that He gave me peace of heart and mind so that my soul could enter into His rest.
~”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.”~Hebrews 4:1, KJV~
This was a test. A test of God. I did not like it in the moment that Father God allowed me to go through it, but it taught me something valuable: to ALWAYS rest in the Lord, which leads me to talk about the 4th definition of rest:
When I read the 4th definition of rest, I think of peace. Peace of mind, heart, soul, spirit, and body that is found in and of God. Followers of Christ cannot enter into rest when they choose to not die to themselves.
~”For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”~Philippians 1:21, NIV~
I remember when another wise woman of God from my church told me these words as I told her how I felt about not being able to serve in Lebanon this past year. She calmly told me these simple words, “Die to yourself.”
These words were very hard for me to hear in the moment. In fact, I cried to myself as I made every attempt to die to what I wanted: to serve others, but my health was a hindrance and I had to take care of me and rest in the Lord and His goodness before going to serve Him and others in good health. Now, it is not bad to want to serve the Lord and others (that IS NOT what I am saying at all). In fact, I encourage everybody who is reading this blog post to serve (locally or globally, missions or non-missions related). However, the Lord wants us to be Spirit-filled and not filled with ourselves (bad health, not mentally/physically prepared to serve, etc.), so that we can be totally Spirit-filled and pour into others with good fruits from ourselves that are of the Holy Spirit.
~”But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”~Galatians 5:22-23, NIV~
~”Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.~”Galatians 5:24, NIV~
~”Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”~Galatians 5:25, NIV~
I divided these Bible verses up for a couple of reasons. First, followers of Christ have to be filled with the fruits of the Holy Spirit so that they can be in the best mental, physical, and emotional state to spiritually serve the community——whether it be local, or whether it be global. In this way, that person (Christian or non-Christian) can experience Jesus and know who He is by His fruits: His love, His joy, His peace, His forbearance, His kindness, His goodness, His faithfulness, His gentleness, and His self-control. Second, by dying to self, the one who is witnessing who Jesus is to the Christian or non-Christian can wholeheartedly be a testimony of the character and fruits of Jesus Christ to that person. This is so that that person can enter into a growing and nurturing relationship with Father God through His Son, Jesus Christ, as he or she enters into the Holy Spirit. Third, by walking in step with the Holy Spirit, that person can experience all of Jesus (the witness, the Christian, or non-Christian who is learning about Jesus). This is the phase when the person totally dies to the desires of his or her flesh and lives and abides by the fruits of the Holy Spirit as that witness and the Christian or non-Christian who is being witnessed to, can walk in step with Jesus too……and enter into His rest. 🙂
Now, I want to pray for you, dear reader, that you too will make that choice and enter into that rest that is found only in Jesus Christ today:
Thank You for each reader who is reading this blog. I speak blessings, both richly and fruitfully, into his or her life so that he or she can walk into life, knowing and living, in that rest that is in Jesus Christ. May he or she combine the knowledge gained from what You have allowed me to walk through, this blog post, and his or her own personal life experiences that You have orchestrated each and every person to walk through as he or she chooses to rest in Jesus today. I ask that You knock on any person’s heart (whether Christian or non-Christian) so that he or she can seek You in Your timing and knock on heaven’s door today so that he or she can enter into your rest today. We look forward to the day when we are eternally rejoicing in You, for Jesus’ sake, so that we can experience all of Your rest in the new heavens and earth to come. We look forward to resting in the eternal worship of King Jesus as we look up at Your face and celebrate what will be Your Kingdom come and Your will be done in heaven as it was on earth: in Your rest. Always and forever. We give You all of the glory, the honor, and the praise.
In Jesus’ Name,
God bless you, dear reader. Thank you for reading this blog post and may the peace of God keep you as you rest in the Father’s love today! 🙂
~”For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”~Romans 8:6, KJV~