17 March 2014

Give it a rest!

I’m about to say something really controversial.
In the beginning, God created everything out of nothing in six literal 24-hour days with only His words, and described it all as “very good.” Then on the very next day, He did something truly radical—He rested.
He did what?!?!?!  Where’s that in the Bible????  Oh wait, that’s right, It’s there in Genesis 2!  
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)
There were no extenuating circumstances or reasons offered for why He rested. He simply rested, and recorded for us that the seventh day had been set apart for that purpose. In fact, God built a day of rest into the Law He gave the Jews! But this isn’t just an Old Testament thing—It shows up in the New Testament as well! In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says:
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
So, what ramifications does that have on the modern day Christian? For years the prevailing school of thought has been that “rest is overrated,” “rest is for the weak,” and that it’s even altogether unnecessary for the believer. All of that sounds really good, given the performance-oriented age in which we live … if only it were Biblical. What we have today is a generation of believers that wrestles with burnout, fatigue, and depression, and they are afraid to take obvious steps to help. One of the most obvious steps is one that God prescribed in Scripture—Rest. Why they’re afraid is a subject for another post, but they are afraid nonetheless.
God has much to say about work ethic and laziness, but we cannot overlook what He also says about the importance of rest. We may no longer be “under the law,” but God set a day apart for this purpose before He gave the law. I believe that it is time for God’s people to take an honest look at this important, simple concept. One of my favorite college professors used to say that “you’re only as spiritual as you are rested.” I think there is a lot of truth to that.
On that note, I think it’s about time for a nap. 

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