Deeply Restful Hard Work

Aaaaaand I’m back!! Just in time for audio devo day 😉. Jesus has completely healed me from dengue (for the second time in my life actually; see my first book for a story about that)!

So without further ado, here is the next installment in our series on rest for your soul. Grab something yummy to sip on, get comfy, and let Jesus refresh you as you listen here:

(Know someone else that needs to hear this today? You can either share today’s blog link with them, or look up my Feeding on Jesus podcast for sharing and subscribing. You’ll find it at these links on iTunesGoogle PodcastsStitcher, and most other podcast platforms, with episodes identical to these audio devos!)

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God is resting.

Does that seem like a strange statement? Isn’t God uber busy? Isn’t running the universe a whole lot of work? Here’s what the Bible says about that:

“God’s work was finished from the time he made the world” (Heb. 4:3, NCV).

Hm. Really? How is that possible? Does overseeing the Kingdom that rules over everything not take any work?

I believe it comes down to this. God’s heart is at rest. Deeply at rest. It has been ever since He finished making His magnum opus: His magnificent creation, with us humans as its climax. We are the focus of His love. This has been the expression of His soul from the beginning:

“When he set in place the pillars of the earth… I was there, close to the Creator’s side as his master artist. Daily he was filled with delight in me as I playfully rejoiced before him. I laughed and played, so happy with what he had made, while finding my delight in the children of men.” (Prov. 8:29-31, TPT).

You may recognize this passage. It comes from a poetic chapter in Proverbs where Wisdom is personified. Wisdom, a Person? Yes! We also know from 1 Cor. 1:24 that Christ is our wisdom. So this beautiful pair of verses from Proverbs 8 is describing Christ’s own utter delight in co-creating the world with the Father. He is our Wisdom, and He is the Master Artist that created us. The Godhead spills over with contentment; contemplating creation, contemplating you and me. God’s heart is deeply at rest in His delight in all that He has made.

If He is at rest, this brings us back our original question, then: Doesn’t God have a whole lot to do as He administers the vast works of His hands? He sure does. In fact, Jesus made this statement: “My Father is always working, and so am I” (John 5:17, NLT).

Wait… so which is it? Is He working… or resting?

Both.

And that, my friend, is our main point for today. You can be deeply at rest, even as you work hard at the responsibilities before you. That’s what Jesus meant when He said, “Take My yoke upon you… and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:29, NKJV). As we’ve talked about in this series, Jesus was teaching us about oneness with Him here. A yoke joins two animals into one unit. As Jesus draws us into oneness with Himself, He is also teaching us to work from a place of inner rest.

The yoke is also a symbol of work. When He says, “Learn of Me,” part of what He is imparting to us is how to live, work, and operate this way, at rest in Him. He is teaching us to engage in our labors from a place of deep soul rest. When we learn to carry out our daily functions out of our union with Him, His yoke truly does become easy. It becomes restful.

God has, indeed, invited you to join Him in His own soul rest:

“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God… Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest…” (Heb. 4:9,11, NKJV).

Did you catch that? He even asks us to be diligent about joining Him in His rest. In other words, this is a big, big deal to Him. He is asking us to make it a priority, to learn to live at rest the way He does.

How do we do that? This same passage gives us the answer: “…For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his” (Heb. 4:10, NIV). Waaaait a minute. Didn’t we just say that it’s both we are talking about here – both hard work and deep heart rest? Together? So what is this about ceasing from our works?

Again, it goes back to the state of our hearts. It’s not in our bodies, but in our hearts that we are to permanently rest from our works. We are to choose the heart posture Holy Spirit describes for us here: “And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” (Rom. 4:5, ESV).

Again, He is inviting us not to work, and instead to just trust in Him. Here’s the translation: we are to let go of our internal straining and striving. We are to let go of trying to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.  “We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort” (Phil. 3:3, NLT).

No confidence in human effort? No confidence in our attempts to be good Christians? No confidence in our endeavors to get our ducks in a row, to dot our i’s and cross our t’s and get our act together as good examples to others? No. No confidence in any of that.

Instead, here’s where our confidence comes from: “Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help” (Heb. 4:16, NET). Our confidence is to be wholly in His grace. His grace is what saved us. His grace is what changes us every day to be a little more like Jesus. His grace is the power that sets us free from sin. His grace is what transforms us from glory to glory into His image. His grace is what produces the goodness of Jesus in us as we yield to His working. His grace has brought us safe thus far, and His grace will lead us home.

So we approach the throne of grace confidently every day, and we receive the help we need. We receive His power. We receive His strengthening. We receive His encouragement. We receive His peace. And, even as we go about our daily responsibilities, we cease from our striving. And we rest. As this same beautiful chapter from Hebrews tells us, “If we believe… we’ll experience that state of resting” (Heb. 4:3, MSG). That’s it. It’s that simple. Trusting Him; believing Him is the way to enter His rest.

So, trust Him, dear one. Trust Him and believe Him.

Believe Him that He already accomplished total victory for you on the cross.

Believe Him that His Spirit will complete the good work He began in you of making you more like Jesus every day.

Believe Him that you are blameless in God’s sight because of the blood of the Lamb that took your sins away.

Believe Him that that same blood contains the power you need to conquer your besetting sins.

Believe Him that His grace is enough for you.

Believe Him that Your Daddy God loves you perfectly, with an unbreakable, everlasting love.

Believe Him that He takes great delight in you.

Believe Him that you are His forever.

Believe Him.

Don’t work.

Believe Him.

Don’t strive.

Believe Him.

Don’t strain.

Believe Him.

Cease from your intense emotional labor. Let go. Believe Him.

“For those of us who believe, faith activates the promise and we experience the realm of confident rest!” (Heb. 4:3, TPT).

The realm of confident rest… that’s where I want to live, how about you?

So let’s close it out today with this soothing passage from Psalms: “Do not fret… Trust in the Lord… Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord… Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass… Rest…” (Ps. 37:1-7, NKJV).

Our Daddy God is resting today, and always. Let’s join Him.

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Have you experienced inner restfulness in the midst of a full, busy day?

 

16 thoughts on “Deeply Restful Hard Work

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