Biblical Foundations 6: Resting In Christ 1 (Psalm 46:10)
We are continuing our series on Foundational Bible Passages of this local church:
Why does God have each of us attending HERE?
What is He doing in and through us, both inside AND outside of this building?
We continued last week by looking at some of the ways that we spend—invest!—time with God. We go into the presence of God through stillness/silence, prayer and Bible reading to:
- Praise Him
- Thank Him
- Ask Him for help
- Listen to Him
- Pray for others
- To rest in Him…
To rest in Him…
Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.”
There is a knowing of God that only comes through stillness with God…
Psalm 23: “He makes me LIE DOWN in green pastures…”; not eating on the run but sitting/lying down…rest from God does not usually come via drive-thru…
Matthew 11:28-30: exchanging yokes—the culture’s vs. Christ’s—requires stopping to take off the old and put on the new.
Psalm 23: being with God takes precedence over doing for Him. He leads us beside still waters before He leads us on paths of righteousness.
- But you might say, “I don’t FEEL rested or refreshed after being with God in prayer, Bible reading, quiet, etc. I barely have time to do it, and when I do, it doesn’t seem like anything HAPPENS!”
Fair point. Let’s talk about this. It does take time, loved ones. Those who are the dishwashers in your families know that some pots cannot be cleaned immediately after dinner; some pots need to soak for an hour, some pots need to soak overnight in order to loosen up the caked on residue of the meal.
How much more do our hearts hardened and baked with sin and selfishness need to soak for days, weeks, months and years in the presence of God! He IS loosening us and softening us up, even if we don’t feel it, but it takes time, loved ones, oh it takes time…it would be SO MUCH MORE painful for God to scrape us clean with our hearts hard and unsoftened…in His mercy He soaks us…our job is to continue to come back day after day, moment after moment and continue to soak in His presence and His Word and His Holy Spirit and look forward to the day when the chunks of sin float away as He cleans our souls from the inside out!!!
Psalm 131:2: “I have calmed & quieted myself…like a weaned child I am content”—
For Jesus’ peace & nourishment we must learn to park (“calmed & quite”), not speed up/drive-thru.
We have a role to play in calming & quieting ourselves…like breaking and taming a wild horse that doesn’t want to learn to submit to God…God sometimes steps in drastically with major illnesses to force us to be still, but let’s not let it get to that point! How can we calm & quiet ourselves each day, week, month, year? More on that in the next post…
Are you hopeless because you cant hear, see or feel God lately?
As Annie Sullivan taught Helen Keller to communicate thru touch, Jesus will do the same with you! Helen Keller was blind, deaf, and unable to speak; from an earthly perspective, her situation was as bad as it could get, her “chance” of ever learning to communicate with another person was zero! But through touch, Annie Sullivan taught Helen Keller to communicate; even though we feel like our ability to communicate with God–to really hear Him–is about as high as Helen Keller’s, allow Jesus to touch you through HIs Word and His Holy Spirit!!!
Be with Him! Slow down and let HIM touch you through His Word and Holy Spirit!
1 Kings 19:3-8:
Elijah Flees to Horeb
3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.
1 Samuel 10:26:
26 Saul also went to his home in Gibeah,
accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched.
God’s touch thru His Word gives courage & hope,
feeding & strengthening us when we want to die.
We can also, through His Word and faith, reach out and touch Jesus Himself.
Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. 41 Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house 42 because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.
As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”
47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
The woman who bled for 12 years; she suffered terribly but didn’t let that stop her from pursuing Jesus, she used it as MOTIVATION to seek Him! She fought through the crowd and worked hard to touch Jesus by faith; we too have much to fight through to touch Him–our own sinfulness, being busy, doubt, discouragement, etc. Don’t give up! If you desire Him it’s only because He has desired you first!!!…
Jesus said, “Power has gone out of me; who touched me?” Peter said, “There is a great crowd of people around you—what do you mean who touched you; everyone is touching you!” “NO,” Jesus replied, “they aren’t touching me in faith like this woman…” She then explained everything to Jesus and He said, “Go—your faith has healed you!”
May the LORD touch our hearts through His Word & His Holy Spirit, may we give Him all the opportunities to do so by slowing down, calming and quieting ourselves, and may we also reach out to touch Him through prayer, silence, and Bible reading…
Oh loved ones, it is foundational to this local church and to each of us as individuals that we KNOW God deeply and intimately, that we draw closer and closer to Him every day…not just knowing ABOUT God but KNOWING God deeply and intimately…
What is it like to BE with Jesus on a Tuesday?
THAT is the question we are learning to answer…
Now this doesn’t mean that every moment with Jesus is going to give you physical goosebumps—not at all! We aren’t chasing a feeling or an experience; that is idolatry…
But have you EVER felt those goosebumps?
Do you have the joy of the LORD, which is your strength?
Do you have, or have you ever had, the peace of Jesus Christ?
If not, let’s admit that and cry out to LORD in repentance and for help!
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God will GUARD your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 4:6-7)
It isn’t just NICE to have the peace of Jesus, it is essential to guard our hearts and minds from sin, from stress, from anxiety and worry! Without the peace of Christ we are football players playing on the field without pads!!!
And so if we don’t have His peace, do we just shrug our shoulders and open up a new bag of chips and turn the volume up on our t.v. show? NO! Many people always have noise going in their day—they have so much stress and anxiety and are trying to turn up the volume of the culture in order to drown out their anxiety; I’ve even heard of some people who sleep with the t.v. on in their rooms: “It’s helps me rest,” they say. Loved ones, we need to learn the opposite—to be still and quiet in the presence of the LORD so that He can give us TRUE peace, HIS peace….
We need to turn down the volume of the culture so we can turn up the voice of Christ…we need to focus our time and attention on learning to be with Christ experientially in prayer, in worship, in Bible reading, etc…
If we don’t know how to be with Jesus, if we aren’t growing closer to Him in intimacy, then we need to pause our calculus Christians classes and get back to the basics…
If you lost your cell phone or car keys you would move heaven and earth to find them; life and all its details would stop for you until you found them!
If you have lost the joy and peace of Christ, should we do anything LESS to get them back, or to get them for the first time?????
THIS is foundational to this local church because this is foundational to being Christian…God made us to KNOW Him, even before He made us to serve Him….
To resist arrest from the police is serious…
To resist a rest from Jesus is also serious…
He wants to lead you beside quiet waters to refresh and restore your soul (Psalm 23)…
Will you allow Him?
- Now you might say, “But these are all actions, more things to do—this is just more work!!!”
On one side of the coin, you are correct; if you want to take a nap (rest!), you still need to close the curtains, turn off the ringer on your phone, turn off the lights, close the door to your room, possibly get on pajamas/change your clothes, physically get into bed under the covers, and choose (an action!) to NOT do other activities for a short time so that you can take a nap. Even taking a nap requires a certain amount of work, of physical steps that need to be taken in order to take that rest. Even the phrase, “Take a nap” involves a sort of “taking”—we actively participate in our rest by letting go of other things and grabbing the rest because it is just as vital (if not more!) as the other activities we do that (we think!) produce tangible results.
But on the other side of the coin, the action steps that the Holy Spirit invites us to take in order to rest are not just “more work” in the same ways that emptying the dishwasher, folding & putting away clothes, running errands, mowing the lawn, or making a sale are work. The action steps for Biblical/Jesus-rest are more concerned with “being” (which is still a verb, an action!) than with “doing.” “Doing” tasks can be done mechanically, without thought, relationship or love; “being” tasks by definition can ONLY be done with thought, in relationship, and through love.
For example, soaking in the Bible to know God’s character, to remember God’s past faithfulness, and to remember God’s future promises—these actions are not accomplished/finished in the way that filing your taxes are finished. We will never be “done” with soaking in the Bible to know God, and thus it is not an action of “doing” but primarily an action of “being”—it is more about who we are. That is, I am (being!) a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ, thus I will be with Him Personally through soaking in Scripture, not as a box to be checked off a list but as an action of being, of relationship, of intimacy, of friendship. I might finish a meal, but as long as I live I will never be done with eating, with nourishing my body; thus I might as well look at eating as not a “doing” task but a part of “being” a human–this will help me to enjoy each meal as something to be savored and enjoyed! The same is true of spending time with Jesus through the Bible…
- We (hopefully!) wouldn’t say, “Well, I said good morning to my spouse, made a cup of coffee for my spouse, and gave my spouse a kiss on the cheek—DONE! On to my next spousal checklist! (or “Whew—that’s done. Now I don’t have to interact with my spouse again until tomorrow morning!).” That’s mechanical, not relational. That’s about doing a task not being a spouse.
- Rather, hopefully we are learning to say, “A new day—a gift from the LORD to be filled up with Christ and to pour Him into the lives of others through relational actions of love/service which flow from my identity as a Christian! How can I be with my spouse and grow closer to my spouse relationally this morning, how can I act so that my spouse in literally introduced to Jesus Personally through me? That may involve saying good morning, preparing a cup of coffee, and giving a kiss on the cheek, but only as far as those things enable me to connect relationally with my spouse and personally pour Jesus into my spouse’s mind and heart, not as a task to be accomplished and moved on from but as an ongoing lifestyle/identity to be lived out continuously.”
There’s a reason why Hebrews 4:11 says, “Strive/make every effort to enter that rest,” the true rest of God…(please click HERE for Hebrews chapter 4).
The rest of God requires effort on our part if only because our natural tendency is not to rest, is to buck like a bronco against all of God’s offers of rest, peace, and joyful submission to Him…
Furthermore, we won’t be able to do the tasks of resting in Jesus (being!) AND still accomplish all of our other tasks (doing). Something will have to give; thus the list above is not about adding activities to our current schedule. As painful as it may be, we will receive rest as we shed some of the caterpillar skin of the “tyranny of the urgent” tasks and begin to learn how to enter into the Jesus-cocoon where He will transform us into the butterflies of His design…
My friends, let’s keep praying for help from God the Father, let’s keep seeking to know Jesus Personally each moment through His Word and His Holy Spirit, let’s keep placing ourselves (with the Holy Spirit’s help!) in a posture to receive true rest from Jesus, rest for our weary souls…
P.S. Has the Holy Spirit helped you to receive Jesus as your Savior by faith?
Has the Holy Spirit helped you realize that you (like me!) are a sinner deserving God’s wrath?
Has the Holy Spirit helped you therefore to run to Jesus for forgiveness,
not just for your “mistakes” but for your sinful acts of treason against God?
Please do not “resist arrest” from Jesus today…
He is chasing/pursuing you to arrest you–to convict you (show you!) of your need for Him,
so that you will turn yourself in to Him as your Judge
so He can then set you free as your Savior!
What an amazing plea bargain that He lovingly offers us through His death on the Cross!
Sign your apology to the Eternal Lord so He can seal your acquittal to eternal life–NOT GUILTY! What glorious and eternal rest!!!