How to Rest Blessed
Rest is an essential part of life. Without it we burn out, overwhelmed by the pressure of work deadlines, social commitments, personal problems, and so on. We seek rest in a variety of ways, such as watching films and TV shows, reading, and holidaying away from home. But, while these activities are all good forms of recreation (they can be invigorating and even edifying) they do not provide true rest for the soul, only temporary relief from circumstances. When we put down the book, or come away from the film, or return from the trip we are immediately brought back to reality.
More often than not, when we talk about rest we are actually talking about escapism. Travel agents will often try to sell us an exotic holiday by billing it as an “escape” or “getaway”. This is because we tend to associate rest with escaping from stress, conflict, or responsibility. But Jesus offers a form of rest that is infinitely more profound than escapism. The rest he offers can be enjoyed even in the midst of difficult circumstances. It is internal rest that is unaffected by external chaos. And it is freely available to everyone. In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says “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.”
In order to experience Christ’s rest — the peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7) — we must be anchored in him. If we anchor ourselves in anything else, whether it’s money, popularity, family, or whatever, we will come adrift when life gets rough. Hebrews 6:19-20 says “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” Similarly, Hebrews 4:14-16 says: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
In other words, we can rest in the knowledge that Jesus, our “great high priest”, is interceding for us in heaven so that we too can enter into God’s presence and approach His throne of grace with confidence. When we realise this, we can face all the challenges that life throws at us without being overwhelmed by them. We can rest, knowing that we are blessed, not because of anything we can do but because of what Jesus has done for us.
To learn more about how to experience this internal rest, please listen to the sermon series “How to Rest Blessed” from C3 Mumbai. Recordings are available on our SoundCloud page as well as our YouTube page.