How would you like to live on vacation? You can…if you'll learn how to really enter the rest of God.
My life used to be one big struggle. I was unhappy about just about everything and difficult to get along with because of the abuse I endured throughout my childhood. In the early years of our marriage, I wanted Dave to be miserable because I was miserable. And it just about drove me crazy when he stayed happy while I was unhappy. He refused to join my pity parties and have my negative perspective of life, and for awhile, it made me mad.
But eventually, his example became a great witness to me and I began to hunger for the peace, joy and stability he lived with. I wanted to enter the rest of God.
What Is the "Rest of God"?
The rest of God is not a rest from work; it's the ability to trust God and rest in Him no matter what you're doing or what's going on in your life. When we enter His rest, we can remain stable and be the same in every circumstance.
We need this rest because we live in a stress-filled world. And the bottom line is, life is not worth living if you're going to be upset, frustrated and worn-out from stress all the time. This kind of stress causes health problems, like headaches, high blood pressure heart issues, anxiety problems, fear…and totally steals our peace, joy and stability.
But we have to learn how to rest in God, and the first step is sitting down. It's kind of like watching babies grow and develop. They don't just jump out of the crib and start running. First, they learn how to sit, then stand, walk and run.
Ephesians 2:6 says that when we accept Christ as our Savior, God makes us "sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (NKJV). Now, physically, we're still on earth, but spiritually, we're "seated in Him."
This means our position is with and in Christ – what He's done for us and has for us is accessible to us and belongs to us. We don't have to worry, be frustrated and struggle, trying to change things we can't change, like ourselves, other people, circumstances… We can give it all to God and trust Him to do what we can't do.
Face it – there's only so much we can do, and we need to know when we're finished. We need to do what we can and then back off and let God work, because trying to do something about something you can't do anything about is one of the most stressful things you can do.
The Keys to Entering God's Rest
Before I knew what I know now, I was stressed-out trying to do what God was leading me to do. For example, for several years in the beginning of my ministry, I led a small, weekly Bible study in my home for about twenty-five people. And it stressed me out! I didn't like how they acted and wanted to change them. They did things like mess up my house and use up my toilet paper and never offer to buy any! Until I understood that the root of the problem was in me and only God could change me, it was hard.
But I have changed. Now, I'm leading a worldwide ministry with offices in multiple countries and a potential audience of two-thirds of the globe, and I enjoy it!
Two key things happened that led to my freedom from a stressed-out life: I learned God loves me unconditionally, and I learned to love myself. We can't give someone else what we don't have, so we have to really believe God loves us and there's nothing we can do to make Him stop loving us.
It's the love of God that heals our wounded souls, makes us secure, gives us confidence and enables us to live without fear. And when we are loved and love ourselves, we can really love others, trusting God to do what we can't do for them. We can live in His rest!