How Can You Experience God's Rest Today?
Have you ever felt like this?
You wake up to another day.
You start thinking about what needs done, the problems that face you, and the hopeless cycle of another day like yesterday.
You might fall right back into the worries that you took to bed with you about the future, or the regrets about the past.
Through your morning routine, you grumble about anything that isn’t perfect for you. You have a lot to complain about if you have a family or a roommate, because they just do things differently. You start to speak about them or even to them in your head (or is it to yourself?) and wonder if they will ever change.
Even if you have a ministry to do today, it’s just like work. It’s another time drain on your to-do list. Another thing to worry about.
Your day continues, not unlike many others, and you can take some comfort from the fact that nothing terrible has happened. At the end of the day, you have a few new worries or regrets to accompany you to sleep, and you might try drowning them out with a few episodes.
I am convinced that we all live like this sometimes. Some of us live like this right now. Some have never experienced anything different.
A day like this is the opposite of resting in God. Most of us want more from our day, but it escapes us as we get into our routine.
Notice some of the things from the hypothetical day:
1. From the beginning it was all about what we need to do, not what God wants us to do.
2. It was about worry and regret, not prayer.
3. It was a lot of grumbling and complaining, not grace, love, forgiveness, peace, patience, and joy.
4. It was obligation for what we have to do, not thankfulness for what we get to do.
5. It was all about us, with very few thoughts about loving God and others.
I know we all want to break free from days like this. We all want to experience God’s rest in our daily life. We all want joyful satisfaction, safety, confidence, and peace that come from God’s grace.
God promises that we will have his rest, not only after we die, but right now. When we believe in Jesus, we are born again into eternal life. We have eternal life now. We have the Spirit now. We are adopted into God’s family now. We experience fellowship with God now. This all gets better later, but we can still experience it more and more in this life. But how?
There is no eight-step program to experience God’s rest.
There is no perfect routine that we have to follow.
There is no perfect idea, word, feeling, person, or accomplishment that we need to chase.
The answer seems like a worn-out idea that we keep hearing again and again. So why listen? If it never turns from idea into experience, it will always seem ineffective.
We try it, and it doesn’t work. That’s the problem. We are not the ones who change our lives.
God gives us rest in Christ through his Spirit. We just receive his grace.
There are actions we can do to abide in this rest, but they are not guaranteed to work. Things like reading the Word, prayer, memorization, fellowship and going to church are great and necessary, but we can still do all these and miss out on God’s rest.
You know that feeling you get when you have a great conversation with someone, that connection you feel? Receiving grace from God feels kind of like that. His grace, his rest, is him. He doesn’t just give us rest like a present, he gives us himself.
When we enter a new day, our connection with God must be top priority. Everything in our day depends on it. Our being effective in God’s kingdom depends on it.
We connect with God as a servant to a Master, a student to a Teacher, a child to a Father, a recipient to a Giver, a patient to a Counselor, and much more. In all cases, God is the one giving to us.
As a result, our day becomes less about our worries, our problems, our list, and our needs. We become grateful for the life God has given us. We are confident that God will provide through all our troubles. We are strengthened by God to do all the same things we would have done on our own. And our joy overflows into the lives of others, as our thoughts, prayers, and actions begin to focus on them instead of ourselves.
Read Philippians 2:1-11, and 4:4-7, and Romans 8. These are just a few of the passages on the difference when we receive God’s grace for our day instead of trying to do it on our own.
We can’t be perfect and live in God’s rest every minute of every day, but we can do it more and more as we trust in him.