The Reward of Rest
“Sleep is for the weak.” “I don’t need rest; I need caffeine.”
If you have been around the Greenville campus long enough, you are sure to have heard these phrases a time or two. It is no secret that college students trade plenty of shut-eye for the mastery of a subject, but since when did not taking care of ourselves become such an ideal way of life? Not only is lack of rest physically unhealthy, but it is detrimental to our spiritual lives as well. The Bible enforces the importance of rest in many instances, including the passage in Genesis where God establishes a seventh day for that exact purpose. While Saturdays and Sundays often turn into a mad dash to finish homework and prepare for the week ahead, weekdays are just as easily neglected as opportunities to rest and soak in the much-needed Word of God.
In a culture so on-the-go and in-the-moment, to set aside time to rest and recharge is, in a way, to have no life. From a Biblical perspective though, this is far from the truth. Those that do not take the time to rest in His presence are indeed the ones who are spiritually dead. In Romans 8 we are made aware of this claim with a statement from verse 6. It says, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” As indicated in the passage, resting in Him or “setting the mind on the Spirit” is one way to embrace the distinct sense of energy and tranquility needed to journey through the day. Rejecting this teaching and actively pursuing things in our own flesh unfortunately often leads to just the opposite. Paul, the writer of Romans, boldly confirms this truth by stating that to live in such a flesh mindset is actually the same as not living at all.
The stakes are high for establishing one’s life apart from God. Perhaps even more crucial to our understanding though, is what it means to pursue a mindset clearly rested in Him. John 15:5 provides a great start to grasping this concept. It says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Again, this verse indicates the importance of walking with Him. The first step to adequate spiritual rest then is to commit oneself to Christ no matter the cost. Likewise, the Lord encourages His followers to find security in His promises, and as a result individuals can obtain both the hope and the peace essential for living a devoted life in Him.
While a committed relationship sure helps to move along the process of R&R, it is certainly not all one can do to get there. Continual communication, quiet listening, and assurance of salvation can go a long way in terms of bringing believers to a more perfect rest in Him. Both 1 Thessalonians and Matthew 11:15 indicate the importance of praying without ceasing and listening to seek understanding. Those that partake in both forms of relaxation are sure to have a deeper appreciation for their freedom in Christ, but to anyone who is still doubting check out John 5:24, “Truly, truly I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent me has eternal life…”
It should be evident by now that resting requires a good deal of effort and apprehension. However, the lives of many testify that the results can be more than rewarding in the end. If you are struggling to grasp the concept of spiritual rest, consider the all-knowing Savior as if He were your best friend. Being that close to someone means finding opportunities to be intentional, allowing free counsel and conversation, and the willingness to do it all over again when the time arises. If we can find rest like this in imperfect relationships, why is it so hard for us to take the time and recharge with Someone who loves and cares for us all the more?