Resting with Jesus has been a foreign concept for most of my life. I always thought it just meant putting aside a little bit of time to rest with God. In quiet times I would imagine myself in rolling green fields, frolicking like a little girl in a twirly dress. Or perhaps I just thought staying still for a good 60 seconds was rest.
I never liked staying still. It was irritating. I was conditioned by my world to DO. Learning rest initially was listening to my husband telling me to just stop for a minute to take a breath and give him a hug before I powered on to DO something else.
Jesus the servant
Jesus encouraged the idea of service among his followers. Therefore, he was not discounting roles of service and 'doing' as being unimportant. This would have gone against all his other teaching.
But Jesus didn't come to be served by us - he came to serve. He came to show us what God was like. The heart of the omnipotent God always serves with love and mercy.
I have realised that resting at the feet of Jesus is not necessarily about diving into a 2,000 page theological excerpt on divine powers, or praying fervently, or even actively listening - it is a constant state of mind of resting in Him.
Entering into God's rest is simply accepting His love for us and realising His finished work on the cross. Allowing His love to wash over us and being in His presence.
We can experience this 24/7. Although it took me a couple of years to really wrestle with this whole concept and grasp the fact that it was very valid and very healthy. I discovered it is what Jesus means for us when He says "come".
At church we are trained to be servants, we are told everyone else matters before ourselves and we are told to clean ourselves up, get spiritual and serve God. Rarely are we taught how to receive His love, His presence and His rest. It is no wonder we have some burnt out, tired people sitting forlornly in our pews.
This receiving and resting gives us God's strength and renewing for us to power on in the 'serving' and 'doing' for ourselves and for others - as an outpouring.
Our service for God comes because He first served us. We love because He first loved us. I accept and acknowledge everything He has done for me – it has already been done. There is nothing I can do to serve Him more than He has already served and loved and shown mercy and grace for me.
He is our servant King.
In Exodus Moses demands of God "Show me your glory!" Then God says, "There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen."
Wooaahh! That sounds like a tremendous amount of glory.
At times I have been resting in God and wanting to yell this out like Moses, but I freak out because frankly I don't think I could handle it! After Moses' experience with God, his friends were afraid to come near him and covered up his radiant face!
Jesus says in the book of Matthew, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
This is a trustworthy, humble, servant King. We can rest in Him. If your yoke and burden isn't light and easy, then it mustn't be the yoke of Jesus.
New Years rest
Many people enjoy the freshness of a new year. Saying goodbye to tough times from the year gone by and the chance to psychologically wipe the slate clean for new restful beginnings. There is something 'new' about new years. There is something fun about celebrating the year that has gone, whether it was a great one or one that you'd rather forget.
This New Year of 2016, let's take a fresh look at the gospel and grab that gift of rest and joy. Because God's got you.
Belinda Croft has been writing for Press Service International since 2010. In 2015 she won the PSI Basil Sellers Australian Young Writer of the Year Award. She lives on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland with her husband Russell and their three children. Her passion for understanding the things of God in simple ways, social justice and current news influence her writing style.
Belinda Croft's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/belinda-croft.html