“Take your rest in the Lord, waiting quietly for him; do not be angry because of the man who does well in his evil ways, and gives effect to his bad designs.” (Psalms 37:7 BBE).
There is surely an eternal rest for the believers in heaven; however, the Scripture assures that there is also a true rest, peace, and joy in the Lord available to the believers now in this present life.
Sadly, many believers today have been deceived by the devil into postponing their rest in the Lord to when they get to heaven.
As a born-again believer you don’t need to defer your rest, peace, and joy in the Lord till after you leave this evil world. The Lord Jesus has made provision for you to have rest, peace and joy in this present troubled world.
The Lord Jesus assures His disciples of true peace in Him.
27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (NKJV).
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (NKJV).
There is no doubt that perfect and eternal rest, peace, and joy await true believers in heaven (Rev. 21:4). However, God wants you to have a foretaste of the perfect rest, peace and joy awaiting you in heaven while you live amidst the turmoil of this present life.
The Lord Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28 NKJV).
If truly you have come to Christ and submitted to His lordship, you have a divine right and access to a divine rest in the Lord while you live in this agitated world.
One of the primary evidences of knowing and following the Lord is that you will possess and evince real rest, peace and joy even when you are in the midst of tribulation or persecution.
In the face of death the face of Stephen, the first martyr among the early disciples, was said to be glowing like the face of an angel. He was apparently not fearful, restless or troubled (Acts. 6:15).
The word “rest” in the Hebrew “damam” literarily means “to be dumb.” This implies “to stop, to cease, to hold peace, to quiet self, to be silent, to be still, to tarry or wait.”
To take rest in the Lord therefore imply: “to stop from struggling to please God through the works of the law; to cease from fear, worries and anxieties about anything; to hold your peace in the midst of troubles, trusting in the Lord’s help; to quiet yourself and refuse to be upset, restless or agitated in the days of adversities; and to be still and wait upon the Lord for divine instructions when under pressures to act.
It is God’s command that everyone who comes to Christ must take their rest in the Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Take your rest in the Lord, waiting quietly for him; do not be angry because of the man who does well in his evil ways, and gives effect to his bad designs. (BBE).
How do you know someone who has taken his rest in the Lord?
He will cease from his works!
10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. (NKJV).
What sort of works is this scripture talking about here?
The works of the law!
You cannot enter into the Lord’s rest until you cease from struggling to overcome Sin and Satan in your own strength and wisdom, and from seeking to appease or please God through your good works, self righteousness, or adherence to some religious rules or rites.
The Scripture records that when the heavens and the earth and all the host of them were finished, God rested on the seventh day from all His works which He had done (Gen. 2:1-3).
God rested from His works of creation, not to sleep or go on vacation because He had become exhausted, but to relish or take pleasure in all that He had created.
Similarly, Jesus Christ has completely finished the redemptive work for the salvation of mankind by His death and resurrection. No man needs to do any other works or offer any other sacrifices to be saved or to earn God’s love, acceptance, favour or blessing.
All that God wants us to do is to take our rest in the Lord – to take pleasure in the finished work of Christ by simply putting our complete trust or confidence in the person and finished work of Christ and appropriating and enjoying the benefits of His finished work.
Our self-righteousness, performance or good works can never please or satisfy God completely, or earn us God’s love, acceptance, favour or blessing.
It is therefore useless striving to observe, keep or adhere to any or some religious rules or rituals for the purpose of earning God’s love, acceptance, favour, blessing, or salvation.
Paul aptly explains this truth.
1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?
2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness. (NKJV).
16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. (NKJV).
The grace of God in Christ Jesus has brought salvation to all men. God’s love, acceptance, favour or blessing is available to all men as a gift at the expense of Christ’s suffering and death.
Paul aptly states this truth.
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. (NKJV).
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. (NKJV).
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (NKJV).
6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. (NKJV).
Beloved, you take your rest in the Lord when you cease striving or seeking to appease, please or impress God or to earn God’s love, acceptance, favour or blessing by your performance, self-righteousness or good works.
But rather, you take pleasure in, rely upon or trust completely in the finished work of Christ as the only basis for having a loving and intimate relationship with God and for possessing and enjoying God’s blessings.
It takes a spiritual understanding that Christ has defeated Sin, Satan and the World by His death on the cross for you to enter into His rest.
You will always experience inward rest, overflowing joy, and peace that surpass all understanding in spite of your circumstances if you truly know and deeply believe that the Lord Jesus loves you unconditionally and infinitely, and has won for you a complete victory through His death and resurrection.
You will not lose your sleep, peace, rest or joy over any spiritual, physical, financial, physical, or emotional needs if you truly know and believe that God has already blessed you with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ and that all things are now yours in Christ (Eph. 1:3, 1 Cor. 3:21-22, Rom. 8:17, 2 Pet. 1:3).
Friend, enough of fretting and running all over the place! Christ has fought, won, defeated and finished all your battles and adversaries through His death and resurrection.
Therefore, God is calling you today to cease from your fear, worry and anxiety, and to begin to take your rest in the Lord, taking pleasure in and trusting completely in the finished work of Christ for your salvation.
Heed the Spirit’s call today to take your rest in the Lord.
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for all the divine provisions You have made available for me in Christ so that I may have a foretaste of the eternal bliss awaiting me in heaven. From today, I cease from my toiling, worries, anxieties and fears, and I enter into the Lord’s rest, in Jesus’ name. Amen.