Rest is one of the most misunderstood concepts in the modern world. We mistake rest for an event, a moment in time, rather than a state of being and a way of travelling through life.
Have you ever noticed that from the beginning God wove rest into the fabric of all He did?
Genesis 2:2-4 The Message Translation
By the seventh day
God had finished his work.
On the seventh day he rested from all his work.
God blessed the seventh day.
He made it a Holy Day
Because on that day he rested from his work, all the creating God had done.
He made us in His image, so it shouldn’t surprise us that nature runs at the resting heart rate of an average human, approximately 64 beats per minute. We are designed to live from rest. Our bodies and our minds work best when we are rested.
Deprivation of rest leads to stress, which impairs our ability to function on every level. We believe that rest is a reprieve from our everyday routine, and so begins the depressingly familiar story, we are exhausted, so we take the odd break, go on holiday, come back to work for a rest and complain about being exhausted!
Jesus invites us to learn the art of resting from Him. He offers to teach us the unforced rhythms of grace. He asks us to go on a journey, not to just lie down and sleep all the time, but be active members of society who have discovered how to use the state of rest as a way of travelling through life.
Matthew 11:28-30 The Message Translation
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
The roadway to rest is via rhythm. Establishing rhythm allows the formation of a pattern of connection with the One who establishes us in both rest and the unforced rhythms of grace.
Finding the Lord’s rhythm for each of us is necessary for maintaining our connection with Him. The incredible thing about the rhythm is that is uniquely our own. Each person’s rhythm has its cadence and might even be considered a dance.
When you join a dance, rhythm sets the basis of connection. Once a stable pattern of relationship is established with God and we surrender to His leading, He determines the pace and we discover that over time the dance becomes almost effortless on our part.
Each person's experience with the Lord in the dance is unique, based on the qualities the Lord designed us with, drawing out of us the originality in our DNA. This is all part of working out our salvation with Him, in relationship with him, based on being known and knowing the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Momentum is built as we continue in the dance. We all need momentum. It’s the motion that comes about through rhythm, pace and effort.
On our way through life we all need a little momentum. Momentum is the state of things rolling along rather than the initial effort required to start.
Momentum has three parts to it
Slow down to make a connection and then pace and a little effort can be added easily.
Time with the Lord in worship can also be viewed as a dance.
Worship calls us to put the first thing first. He promises that if we make the first thing, the first thing He will take care of the rest.
Matthew 6:30-33 MSG
"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met."
Ephesians 4:11-13 MSG
He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christians in skilled servant work, working within Christ's body, the church, until we're all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God's Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.
The more time and the greater the variety of ways in which we are with Him, the more we see of Him and his goodness, and the more the opportunity for more in-depth intimacy and relationship.
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Andee Sellman is the founder of Land Of Seven Rivers.
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