The normal Christian life according to God is far different from what most normal Christians think.
Let’s talk about reordering life in terms of the Sabbath. I heard pastor Bill Johnson say that we never excuse people from breaking the first nine of the Ten Commandments, but we break the tenth commandment all the time. We don’t excuse adultery, lying, or idolatry, but we think it’s totally fine to break the Sabbath. Why?
Most of us don’t realize what we need in our lives is just one day of true Sabbath. Most of us don’t understand the concept, either.
So, what do you do on the Sabbath? Church environments vary, but Chuck and I used to be the most tired on Sundays because we were always running back and forth to church. Have you had that experience? You are so tired “doing God” that you don’t have time to be with God. You are exhausted. I get it. Sunday may be church centric. But Sabbath is Rest centric.
Let’s make some adjustments. I find that lists are helpful, so here’s a list for your next Sunday or Sabbath day.
Do something that fills your heart with the Lord.
Take a 20-minute nap.
Do something creative.
Maybe you are like me. You’ve been working so hard you don’t remember how to play. I had to ask my friend who knows how to play to give me suggestions. I will address this concept in greater detail later in the book.
But regarding the Why of Rest, let your mind sit on this notion. I can’t get over it. Never in the history of man, never, has there been a group of people who stopped working. Never.
Then God Almighty shows up, chooses the Jews, and says to His people, “Do like I do. I rested on the Sabbath, the seventh day. If I can Rest on the seventh day, so can you.”
The people responded, gasping, “We can not do that. We will die.”
God said, “You can because I am your Good God. These other people can’t rest because they have false gods. You have Me. You must learn to trust that I am going to take care of you even when you are not working and producing for yourself.”
We don’t naturally take hold of the value of divine rest. We balk at the thought of being slaves, but our work schedules tell a truer story. We think we can’t afford to rest. We live under a great fear of punishment, or lack, if we rest.
We are no longer slaves. We are beloved children who depend on their Good God to take care of us. Like the chosen tribe of old, we must learn to depend on God’s care through teaching, encounters and time. And lots of practice.
Years ago, older women were laying hands on my head and praying. Two of them kept saying that I didn’t know how to rest. My response was so telling. I got offended! A sure sign you have a performance mindset is to blow up when someone tells you are too busy. As the women were praying, I complained to the Lord, “God, I am trying to do all you have called me to. Are you mad at me? Is this not enough? Am I not doing it right?”
His response was to teach me how to Rest in the His presence.
Rest means there is confidence deep in our souls that God is with us, hears us, responds to us, and loves us. This “Resting Place” becomes our starting point.
Ground Zero. We build our life on this foundation.
All that happens—good or bad—begins with this one truth: God loves us completely all the time. When we settle this issue, what follows is a quiet assurance, a Resting, in the Spirit. The Passion Translation calls it the faith-rest in the book of Hebrews.
If we don’t settle this issue, we strive, worry, defend, blame, and/or run from God.
Rest means we don’t run from Him. We are built on Him.
Excerpted from Jana’s new book: Restless: transformed in the stillness. You can purchase it here.