God's RestHandbook 1: Article 65 - Just Between Us

I believe that there is a place for Christians called God's Rest. It is a place to live, move, and have our being. A place to cease striving and be still. It is very important and special to God. Invitations to enter are extended to those who have open, teachable, and believing hearts.

Listen to the words of the Scriptures:

"Although God's promise still stands -- His promise that all may enter His place of rest -- we ought to tremble with fear because some of you may be on the verge of failing to get there after all. For this wonderful news -- the message that God wants to save us -- has been given to us just as it was to those who lived in the time of Moses. But it didn't do them any good because they didn't believe it. They didn't mix it with faith. For only we who believe God can enter into His place of rest. He has said, 'I have sworn in my anger that those who don't believe Me will never get in', even though He has been ready and waiting for them since the world began.

We know He is ready and waiting because it is written that God rested on the seventh day of creation, having finished all that He had planned to make. Even so they didn't get in, for God finally said, 'they shall never enter my rest.' Yet the promise remains and some get in -- but not those who had the first chance. For they disobeyed God and failed to enter. But He has set another time for coming in, and that time is now. 'Today when you hear Him calling, do not harden your hearts!'

This new place of rest He is talking about does not mean the land of Israel that Joshua led them into. If that were what God meant, He would not have spoken long afterwards about 'today' being the time to get in. So there is a full, complete rest still waiting for the people of God. Christ has already entered there. He is resting from His work, just as God did after the creation. Let us do our best to go into that place of rest too, being careful not to disobey God as the children of Israel did, thus failing to get in. For whatever God says to us is full of living power."

Hebrews 4: 1-12

I caught my first glimpse of His Rest in one Christmas season. I had recently read the above Scripture and had convinced myself that this passage pertained to life after death. That Christmas day was the most miserable day of my life. I was exhausted and depressed. Why? I had this mistaken idea that if someone from my church asked me to take a job it was the will of God for me. So when I was asked to be in charge of the Christmas program I accepted. I was flattered and eager to do God's work. For the first time I experienced the tension and pressure that weighs on me mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually when I try to serve God in my way and in my own effort. I ended up with a case of nervous exhaustion. My physical body reacted to the pressure and I was a mess.

I began to evaluate my lifestyle and activities. Suddenly, I was aware of all the fruitless running I was doing trying to be an active, vibrant, willing Christian. I was tense and nervous most of the time trying to be the perfect wife, mother, housekeeper, Sunday School teacher, deaconess, community worker, etc. Trying to be everything to everyone, I had become useless to God and myself. Then the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear through the Word. "Relax, I will perfect that which concerns you. Cease striving and know that I am God. Come unto Me and I will give you rest."

I recognized and admitted the following truths:

  1. Without Jesus I am and can do nothing.
  2. Every plant that God does not plant will be uprooted.
  3. Every work not built on Jesus will be burned.
  4. It is my responsibility alone to decide what God's will is for me. If I ask Him, He will tell me. I must check my activities with Him.

I didn't want my life to be a disposable work -- to be in vain. I read again about God's Rest in Hebrews. I set my face to enter this place if He would have me.

I used the following Scripture as my guide:

"Commit your way unto the Lord, trust in Him, and He will bring it to pass."

Psalm 37: 5

"Commit you works to the Lord, and you plans will be established."

Proverbs 16: 3

"Be still (cease striving) and know that I am God."

Psalm 46: 10

It was difficult to change my ways. I discovered how impulsive and willful I was. But this is how I began. Every morning I asked God to show me what He wanted me to do with my day. I put my priorities away and opened my ears and eyes to watch for His directions. I was like a servant girl looking for the slightest sign from her mistress about what to do next. I found my housework being accomplished with little effort, I sensed myself being freed from the role expectations of others. I was prepared for everything as no Girl Scout has ever been prepared. Many times I would bake, clean, etc. for no obvious reason only to find myself an unexpected hostess. I wrote devotions, and religious plays, prepared Sunday School lessons that no one had requested and was ready at a moment's notice when asked to substitute. And many other things too numerous to mention. This part of His Rest was great, fulfilling and exciting. I was aware as never before of God's presence helping and guiding me.

However, waiting on the Lord, waiting for Him to bring these things to pass was another story. Here I had to be bridled. I usually ran way ahead of God. My main method of transportation out of His will was the telephone. That year He placed a moratorium on phone calls. I was not to call anyone for any reason. What a struggle that was for me. But through that discipline I learned that if I leave everything to Him, He will supply my needs. Another truth I learned from my phone discipline was that resting in Him keeps me from sinning and in the center of His will. If He wanted me to witness to someone, He arranged the event. If He wished me to accept a task He opened the door. I waited and watched. When He gave an order He confirmed it and set the timing by bringing it to pass. I was a spectator until His moment for action arrived.

My account only scratches the surface. The reality of His Rest is available today. What a privilege God has given us to enter into this special place that He prepared before the world began. And the invitation is for us today, if we will only believe. Our old willful, impatient, restless selves will have to go but our spiritual eyes will be open to glimpse new wonders of God. Our work will remain throughout eternity and we will find rest for our souls.

MC

"'Without Me ye can do nothing!' Absolutely, positively nothing! Seeing, in Him all things live and move, as well as have their being; seeing, He is not only the true primum mobile, containing the whole frame of creation, but likewise the inward, sustaining, acting principle, indeed the only proper agent in the universe; unless so far as He imparts a spark of His active, self-moving nature to created spirits. But more especially 'ye can do nothing' right, nothing wise, nothing good, without the direct, immediate agency of the First Cause."

John Wesley

"The general rule of interpreting Scripture is this; the literal sense of every text is to be taken, if it be not contrary to some other texts; but in that case the obscure text is to be interpreted by those which speak more plainly.

My ground is the Bible. Yea, I am a Bible-bigot. I follow it in all things, both great and small."

John Wesley

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