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by Scott Wylie

The biblical characteristic of rest is a crucial aspect of a believer's life, emphasizing the importance of physical, emotional, and spiritual rejuvenation. In a fast-paced world, rest might seem elusive, but the Bible provides profound insights on the value of rest and how it can be pursued in alignment with God's design.

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Infographic on the Biblical characteristic of Guidance

What is Rest

Rest holds a significant place in the Scriptures, reflecting God's own pattern of rest after the act of creation. Genesis 2:2-3 illustrates this principle: "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 not just about ceasing from physical labor; it's about replenishing the soul, finding solace in God's presence, and experiencing the renewal that comes from aligning with His rhythm.

Cultivate Rest

Here are some tips for how Christians can pursue rest according to the Bible:

  1. Observe the Sabbath: Just as God rested on the seventh day, practicing a weekly day of rest is a biblical principle. Exodus 20:8-10 emphasizes this, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God."

  2. Seek God's Presence: True rest is found in God's presence. Matthew 11:28-30 records Jesus' invitation, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

  3. Prioritize Spiritual Rest: Jesus also reminds us in Mark 2:27 that "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." Focus on spiritual rest, allowing time for prayer, meditation, and studying the Word.

  4. Learn from Creation: Reflect on God's creation as a reminder of the importance of rest. Psalm 23:2 says, "He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters."

  5. Set Boundaries: In a busy world, establish boundaries for work, social commitments, and technology to ensure you have adequate time for rest.

  6. Practice Contentment: Cultivate a heart of contentment, finding rest in God's provision rather than striving for constant material gain. Hebrews 13:5 advises, "Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have."

  7. Release Worries: Entrust your worries and anxieties to God. 1 Peter 5:7 encourages, "Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you."

  8. Enjoy God's Creation: Spend time outdoors, appreciating the beauty of nature as a form of rest. Psalm 19:1 declares, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork."

  9. Practice Gratitude: Cultivate a heart of gratitude, focusing on the blessings in your life rather than dwelling on what's lacking. Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

  10. Learn from Jesus: Emulate Jesus' example of rest. In Mark 6:31, Jesus said, "Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while."

Pursuing rest according to the Bible involves more than physical relaxation; it's about finding restoration for the soul and drawing closer to God. By observing the Sabbath, seeking God's presence, prioritizing spiritual rest, learning from creation, setting boundaries, practicing contentment, releasing worries, enjoying God's creation, practicing gratitude, and learning from Jesus' example, Christians can actively cultivate the biblical characteristic of rest. May we recognize the importance of rest in our lives and embrace the opportunity to draw near to God and find solace in His unchanging presence.

Prayer and Reading Guide for Pursuing Rest

Here are ten things Christians could pray for to experience the biblical concept of rest, along with a corresponding Bible verse from the English Standard Version (ESV) for each one:

  1. Pray for Spiritual Rest: 
    "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." - Matthew 11:28
  2. Pray for God's Presence in Rest: 
    "And he said, 'My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.'" - Exodus 33:14
  3. Pray for Sabbath Observance: 
    "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." - Exodus 20:8
  4. Pray for Rest in God's Provision: 
    "He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters." - Psalm 23:2
  5. Pray for Release from Anxieties: 
    "Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you." - 1 Peter 5:7
  6. Pray for Contentment: 
    "Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have." - Hebrews 13:5
  7. Pray for Renewed Strength: 
    "But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." - Isaiah 40:31
  8. Pray for Quietness of Soul: 
    "But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me." - Psalm 131:2
  9. Pray for Trust in God's Timing: 
    "For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay." - Habakkuk 2:3
  10. Pray for God's Guidance and Direction: 
    "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you." - Psalm 32:8

In conclusion, by praying for spiritual rest, God's presence in rest, Sabbath observance, rest in God's provision, release from anxieties, contentment, renewed strength, quietness of soul, trust in God's timing, and God's guidance and direction, Christians can actively seek the experience of the biblical concept of rest. May these prayers lead to a deeper connection with God and a profound sense of rejuvenation in His presence.

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Maria says:
This is a timely and practical message. I plan to personalize this devotion in my own life. It reminds me not to allow guilt to torment me for getting rest. By allowing time away from the chaos and resting in God's presence, I become more equip to fulfill every obligation with excellence. Thank you for allowing the Holy Spirit to use you to create this message.