THE EFFORT TO FIND REST

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Rest is understood as a necessity, but rest does not come easy. It takes an effort to enter into a rested state.

Having just returned from a short trip to a quiet lake for a retreat that was very refreshing, I could not help think how much effort was required to make it possible. Taking a couple of days off from work and the weekend routines, planning for the holiday, traveling to the retreat and spending the money to buy the vacation- all was more than worthwhile for the rest and refreshing that the retreat provided.

From a Christian standpoint, true rest encompasses much more than physical rest. It goes to the core of man and provides a foundation of spiritual rest on which blooms rest for the soul and the body. True rest is coming back to the origin, to the One who created us. It involves re-establishing a connection with Him. Man’s spirit needs to unite with God if his mind, emotions and body are to find true rest.

If this union does not take place, can man find no rest? He sure can find some rest- and people do find some rest in vacations, hobbies, sport and so on. But the fullness of rest will elude him till his spirit unites with God. If you wish to ski or snow –tube down a mountain, you could struggle and hike up the mountain, reach halfway, exhausted from the effort and slide down or else you could allow the ski-lift to take you to the best spot right on top with no exhaustion, allowing you to enjoy the full ride. Much like the latter, you allow God’s spirit to unite with yours and take you to the highest point of rest and also productivity.

Having recognized that true rest comes only from God, we need to understand that, ironic as it may sound, an effort is required to enter that rest.

 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. (Hebrews 4:10)

The author of Hebrews goes into great lengths to explain that entering into God’s rest is not easy and requires great effort. To begin with, man needs to recognize his sinfulness and accept the salvation that comes with Christ, which alone can take away the barrier between man and God and unite his spirit with that of God. Thereafter partaking of that rest requires much more. Man needs to build on that foundation by sufficiently uniting with God- through prayer, meditation, study of God’s word and obedience to God. The nation of Israel, soon after the exodus from Egypt had multiple opportunities to find that rest but the Bible laments its failure to do so, resulting in a ‘missed generation’ that came so close to the abundance of Canaan but missed it.

Man works for many things, however the effort to find rest should supersede all other efforts

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