Bible Reading: Hebrews 4:1-16, Psalm 27:1-2
I remember having this agitated colleague when I was at Law School. There had been all the intensity about preparations and the build up to our final exams. There was alot of tension and fear flying around. Now he was agitated and was angrily ranting because he had done something wrong. His offence? He slept off! After days of hardly sleeping, you dozed off for an hour and it’s this bad a crime?!
Have you ever felt that way? That ‘giving in’ to any form of rest is actually an offence. We brandish slogans like ‘sleep is for the weak’, or just that regular rant of ‘how can I sleep with all I need to get done?’ We grew up hearing lessons on how to burn our ‘midnight oil’.
We actually live in a troubled world: from people trying to sleep but unable to sleep, to people who believe they should not be sleeping.
If we’ll be honest, when you think about it, rest takes some courage and a whole lot of trust. Twenty four hours hardly ever feels enough, so it feels like there is still a lot to do. The dangers and evils around always feel present, so it feels like we must stay aware. It takes courage to rest.
If God gave you twenty four hours in a day, then I think He’ll be totally unfair and unjust to load you with responsibilities and a life that take more than twenty four hours to fulfil. In saying that, it doesn’t mean that there can’t be stand out times or seasons that are particularly busy and we have to bend over and stretch ourselves; or that the problem sometimes isn’t that we are doing things in a wrong way/order and not necessarily the volume of what we have to do. However, if we are perpetually in that overwhelming feeling of twenty four hours is not enough, then there are areas in which we are not living with the courage to rest.
The thing with rest and finding the courage for it is that it’s not first of all about the hours on a bed- it’s first of all about a posture of the heart. I do believe that that posture of the heart will in turn influence the hours on the bed, but we can’t emphasise enough how rest is first of all a heart posture.
Rest is more than lying down for a refresh. It is a revelation of who God is to us that then leads to a reorder of our lives and then a release. That really is where rest happens.
I preached a message Don’t Sleep Without Resting last year that might be a good reminder for you of that framework of rest.
In spite of all the noise and trouble in the world, and the personal expectations that you hold, God wants you to live with the courage to rest this year. God wants you to have the courage to shut your eyes, or let go of things that are beyond you, because you trust Him.
With God, success is not just about the results you point to at the end of the year. It’s also about how you got them, and who you became in the process of getting them. It’s very possible to rise ranks through the year, but drop ranks in your level of trust and confidence in God. What kind of person have you become through the story- a more clustering, pitiful and ranting person, or a more releasing and rested person? In a heart posture of rest, we learn to release things to a God who cares about us and is aware of us.
Our reading in Hebrews 4 today is a foundational reminder that our true rest is not a reward for our hardwork in dealing with things, but is actually a gift of the grace of Jesus. I particularly like that the writer of Hebrews not only points us to Jesus as our rest, but ends by charging us to actually come and receive the real help that we need:
So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. Hebrews 4:16 VOICE
Today, we have a 13 minute Lean in Moment to help you reflect and meditate and set your focus on Jesus.
Something To Pray
It really is senseless to work so hard from early morning till late at night, toiling to make a living for fear of not having enough. God can provide for his devoted lovers even while they sleep! Psalm 127:2 TPT
Would you pray today for a life that is free from senseless labour, but is marked by a courage to trust God.
PS: There’s SuperSaturday tomorrow, and its both onsite and online!
I’m looking forward to a great time of prayer with you- 7-9 am WAT