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What exactly is rest?

What exactly is rest?

If you hear the word ‘rest’ what is the first thing that comes to mind? 

 

A restful night’s sleep without being woken up? A holiday on the beach? A picnic in the park? A cup of tea or coffee in the middle of the morning or afternoon? 

 

This past week I had the blessing of attending a conference with Isabel and Ivan Allum.  One of the things that Ivan said that I have been reflecting on is that rest is not doing nothing, but rest is oneness and peace in the Holy Spirit. 

 

Rest is oneness and peace in the Holy Spirit. 

 

God desires to come and make His home in us.  Isn’t that an incredible desire?! Just think about it for a moment - the God who created the whole universe, the infinitely Powerful and Awesome God desires to come and find rest in us! Because that is what homes are designed for, are they not? For rest and fellowship and refreshment.  God desires to come to us and rest and fellowship with us.  To make His home in us.  

If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
— Jesus in John 14:23

So how do we make our lives places where the God of the Universe desires to rest? As John 14:23 tells us, we obey Jesus’ teaching.  We desire and seek to follow His way of life and listen to His desires.  It is not just about following the holiness guidelines set out by the Bible, but it is also about embracing fellowship and listening to His quiet promptings in our hearts.  Even as Christians we can be outwardly holy but yet more interested in our own kingdom building rather than that of Jesus. 

For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.
— Philippians 2:21 (NIV)
Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well
— Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

When we have fellowship with God and we take moments to simply stop and pray ‘God, what are you doing today?’ or ‘God, what is happening in this situation right now?’ ‘God, how do you want me to pray for this person?’ and we allow His Spirit to speak to us, we suddenly find we are in oneness and peace with Him and our souls are at rest.  We have stopped striving in our own interests and we have begun to seek and bring the Kingdom into our lives - we have begun to seek that His domain, His Kingship become a reality in our lives and the lives of those around us.  


I really struggle with initiating conversations with strangers.  I am happy to talk to anyone, but I hate being the first person to start a conversation!  But one of the things God has been talking to me about this week is being open to His promptings to share with those He highlights to me.  Desiring to hear what God is doing is one thing, but I also need to step out in action and participate with Him if I desire to see His kingdom come.  On Saturday this week I was out with my family for lunch and walking down the city centre High Street when I felt God tell me to go and talk to a lady and then to go to the bank and take out some money and give it to her.  I wasn’t sure of the amount so I went with the largest amount of the one I had been thinking about! (My husband Mark and I have an agreement that we can give a certain amount of money to others without consulting the other and it was within that amount!).  I wasn’t overly worried about it, although the thought about whether we could spare the money did cross my mind, but I felt the Spirit reassuring me and so I joyfully handed the money to the lady knowing that I had seeded the Kingdom in her life.  

I then drove an hour down the road onto the conference I was attending.  Within 15 minutes of me being there, a lady who was a complete stranger came up to me and handed me the exact same amount of money because God had told her to.  Isn’t God’s kingdom amazing? 


So rest is not only ceasing from labour, (although God will tell us to take moments of physical rest if we are in fellowship with Him as I talked about last week), but rest is also having a confidence in our labours because of the oneness and peace we have that we are doing His will.  That our labours, whatever they may be, are opportunities to bring God’s kingdom into the lives of others around us.  

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
— 1 Corinthians 15:58
“Come to me, all 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.”
— Matthew 11:28-30

I'd love you add to the discussion about rest! Please feel free to write a comment below. Or just say hi! 

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