Before the world existed you were God’s dream, a desire in His heart. The God of Genesis who established every star in its place and caused the earth to spin knows your name. This series highlights three themes from the first days of creation: light, mankind, and rest. Just as mankind was created in the secret place of a garden, alone with the Creator, we hope this devotional series provides a still space for you to experience His love and hear His thoughts about you.
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day, God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” Genesis 2:1-3
After a long day of preaching and healing the sick, a large crowd began to surround Jesus and his disciples, so they got into a boat to travel to the other side of town. The winds stirred and a terrifying storm developed. With every wave that crashed the boat began to hold more and more water, and the disciples went into a panic.
They were surprised to find Jesus asleep on a cushion in the stern, and woke him up frantically saying, “Do you not care that we are perishing?” Jesus got up to rebuke the winds and waves, and an instant silence followed. He looked around at their panic-stricken faces and asked, “Why are you so afraid? Have you no faith?”
As a man on earth, Jesus walked in absolute and total peace. More than a momentary feeling, Jesus established peace inside Himself that didn’t come or go based on His environment. Jesus often withdrew from crowds to be alone with the Father, finding rest for His soul. By cultivating a lifestyle of rest, Jesus lived in constant, unshakable peace.
It seems that our planet has never been busier than we are today. Busyness and productivity can be an addiction in our culture, so much so that the idea of slowing down or stopping elicits a fear of being lazy. We’ve gotten multi-tasking down to a science, keeping our minds constantly stimulated. Sleeping in or taking a long vacation might temporarily help, but our soul craves spiritual rest that can only be found in God.
You’re a human being, not a human doing.
God loves to be with you more than He loves what you do for Him or bring to Him. You were created for communion and fellowship with Him—He wants to know you, but He won’t go where He’s not invited.
God rested on the 7th day after He created the earth so that He could enjoy His work and take pleasure in His creation. Rest is a practice that means to cease from working—a Kingdom principle that God founded for us when He gave Moses the 10 commandments. More than a physical act, God has set aside rest for our souls so that we can take pleasure in Him, and He us.
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:1-3
Rest is a place where our souls are restored.
In the same way that the entire planet stops everything on Christmas to remember Jesus who was born to save the world, rest makes space for us to remember God, the One who did all the hard work for us. Jesus worked salvation, healing, and provision for us on the cross. We get to rest in His labor.
His work is sufficient for us, and to try and add anything to what He has already done with our own works is to miss out on the grace and freedom He has set aside for us.
The next part of Psalm 23 tells us that even if we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we don’t have to fear. Jesus was about to drown on a boat that was sinking, but rest was His lifestyle and it produced an unshakable peace.
Rest gives us a new lens to see our lives in the eyes of faith instead of fear.
David beckons God in Psalm 51:12, “Restore to me the joy of my salvation.” Rest is a key ingredient for joy, because staying busy keeps us so focused on the present that we forget to look how far we’ve come. We can fully enter into joy when we make time to remember and allow thankfulness to well up inside our hearts.
Rest makes space for remembrance, remembrance leads us to thankfulness, and thankfulness always produces joy.
Practicing and cultivating a lifestyle of rest gives us a fresh perspective and helps us remember that we are not what we do. We are sons and daughters, loved before we ever accomplished anything. If you find yourself forgetting who you are, why you’re here or where you’re going, make time to stop what you’re doing and rest. Take time to just be with God, and not do. Enjoy His Presence—He loves to be with you more than He loves what you do for Him. Invite Him into the intimate places of your heart, and allow Him to know you.