I have a type-A personality. The people who are closest to me tell me its ADHD. I’m sure they aren’t wrong…. I don’t sit still very well. I will work until I am completely burnt out without even knowing it. It’s a gift of mine really…… My husband is always telling me to just sit down, but I just can’t seem to rest. There is always something to do; and didn’t Christ say go anyway?
Rest seems to be elusive for the Christian. There are Bible studies about how to find rest. There are great speakers who speak on rest. Yet, there are many Christians who still find themselves frustrated because they don’t seem to get it.
Every year for the last several years I have picked one word to focus on in my walk with Christ. It is a way to focus on what God is doing in my life throughout a year. Last year I chose rest because well, I’m tired. In my study, I found this verse.
Thus says the Lord: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.
I find this verse fascinating for a few reasons. The first is “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is;” What exactly are the ancient paths? The world we live in today is in ruins. The modern way is one of idolatry and debauchery. We have turned so far away from God that it is scary. Our culture would do good to go back to the ancient paths, where the good way is. I grew up in the ’80s. We drank from the water hose and didn’t think anything of it. I would spend all afternoon after school out and about in the neighborhood, or at least until the street lights would come on. We didn’t stress if we didn’t lock our doors at night because we knew our neighbors. Wouldn’t we all like to go back to a time where we don’t have to lock our doors every night or have to be careful about what bathroom our child goes into?
The second reason is that not only are we supposed to be looking for the ancient, good way but we are supposed to be walking in it. Here it says “look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” You see the way to find rest is to walk in the path of the Lord.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
God knew when he created us that we would spend our lives striving for everything. We strive for money, success, happiness, acceptance and yes, even rest. The answer has always been Him. We must strive to abide instead of depending on ourselves for answers. We must surrender our own will and accept the fact that no amount of sitting still will give us rest. Rest is found when we are walking with the Father, in the good ancient ways, just as I imagine Adam and Eve did before sin entered the world.
So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us, therefore, strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.
The Sabbath rest is for the people of God who have laid down their efforts and works to the Lord. Who is doing the work if we are leaning on and abiding in the Lord? We are to be obedient to our callings. Let me say that again to OUR callings. Not to our husband’s calling, or our children’s calling, or our neighbor, or our sister or etc….. We enter His rest when we strive for the will of God.
Matthew Henry says this, “After due and diligent labor, sweet and satisfying rest shall follow; and labor now, will make that rest more pleasant when it comes. Let us labor, and quicken each other to be diligent in duty. Ask for the old paths set forth by the written word of God. When you have found the good way, go on in it, you will find abundant recompense at your journey’s end.”
Our recompense is heaven! Our soul will not find rest in this world because, let’s face it, we are not home here on earth. We are trying to achieve something here that cannot be done. Oh, but the sweet rest we will find in heaven when we know we have followed the good path that He has led us on! So too the soul that is tired, can we both agree that we are all in this together. Find some time to abide in the Lord today that is the only way you will find rest on this side of heaven.