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Making Progress from Rest

I’ve heard it said that progress comes from a place of rest. Often times we get so caught up in the business of life that we let life completely take over. Before we know it, we are run down ragged and have nothing left to give. We are in a state of depletion. Where can we find rest? The word of God says this, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30, ESV. A yoke in this scripture is referring to working alongside Jesus our Savior, and He does the heavy lifting.

When we look at the scriptures we can find and see the importance of rest. Even God Himself knew the importance of rest. In Genesis 2:1-3 ESV it says, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”

Rest is defined according to Definitions from Oxford Languages as ceasing work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recovers strength. I would like for us to focus on the latter half of this definition that says “or recover strength.” As mentioned above, we get caught up in the business of life and lose strength; we are completely depleted and feel we have nothing left to give. Self-care, as I have heard, is not a selfish thing. Have you taken a moment of rest and to be with God? Have you asked Him what He would like you to do? Is it possible that you are busying yourself with things that the Lord did not ask you to pick up? What are your motives behind doing what you are doing? Philippians 4:6-7 ESV says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

It is of no consequence that just a few verses later, it speaks of God’s provision. Paul writes in verses 11-13 of chapter 4, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him (Christ) who strengthens me.” When we are seeking God, when we are resting in God, He is sure to bring us provision in whatever circumstance we are in. He will be sure to tell you what you need to let go of and what should be your focus. He will be sure to tell you if your motives are right or wrong. “For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish (Jeremiah 31:25, ESV).Taking time with God and His word we know that His plans for us are good. Jeremiah 29:11 ESV, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” When we truly see this verse for what it is, we know that it isn’t talking about what we get, it is talking about the life that God has for us…a hope and a future.

What does your hope and future look like? Is it filled with business and stress and anxiety from the world? Or does it come from a place of rest and relationship with God so that your soul is refreshed and strengthened? Mark 8:36, ESV “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”

© 2022 Leslie Wittenmyer—all rights reserved

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