“Rest in Me,” are the words I often hear God speak. Although the Bible states, “Don’t worry about anything…” (Philippians 4:6a), I still sometimes find myself worrying, not about everything, but about the things my human mind can’t figure out. If I can’t see how or when a situation is going to be resolved, I become uneasy. The uneasiness results from realizing that I’m not in complete control. However, to have faith is to allow GOD to be in control.
Resting in God is not always an easy thing to do. In fact, it can be downright difficult. I believe that many of us, if not all of us, like to feel in control. We want to be in complete control of our jobs, finances, love lives, children, etc. Nevertheless, it doesn’t work that way. If I try to control every circumstance and person in my life, then I’m taking on more than God has designed for me to handle. Have you ever heard the phrase “He’ll never put more on you than you can bear?” This is derived from I Corinthians 10:13 which says, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.”
Temptation is typically defined as “a strong urge or desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.” However, in the Bible a temptation is also “a trial or test”. For instance, in Genesis 22, God tempted or tested Abraham when He instructed Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. God wasn’t trying to persuade Abraham to do something wrong. In fact, later God provided a ram as the real sacrifice (Genesis 22:13). Rather, God put Abraham through this test to prove his faith. James 1:2-3 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” Verse 12 of the same chapter also says, “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” Although God takes us through tests from time to time, as I Corinthians 10:13 assures us, it’s never something designed to overwhelm us because during the tests, we are to depend totally on Him (Proverbs 3:5). So if I find myself becoming overwhelmed and stressed out, it is simply because I haven’t placed it all in God’s hands. I can’t blame anyone but myself!
God says, “Rest in Me.” What does it mean to rest? To rest is “to be free from anxiety or disturbance”. Another definition is “to remain confident”. Therefore, when we rest in God, our minds are at peace because we know that God has our situations under control. As I mentioned, resting in God is not always easy. Nevertheless, it can be done if we put it into practice. The following tips are things I had to put into practice in order to learn how to rest in God.
HOW YOU CAN REST IN GOD
1. Find time to worship God. During the hustle and bustle of the day, find a place to be alone where you can worship God. Believe it or not, I have had some awesome worship experiences in my bathroom and, even, in my car. When my mind is being bombarded with so many thoughts and I find myself becoming sad or angry, worship relieves me. As I sing or listen to a favorite worship song and meditate on the goodness of God, I am reminded that He is my everything. In that moment, He becomes priority, while everything and everyone else take a backseat. Then His love, peace and joy fill my heart. I am no longer bothered by my present circumstance because in the midst of worship, God reassures me that He has my back! In that moment God may even reveal some things to me and give me the answers I’ve been seeking in prayer.
These worship experiences call to mind the story of Paul and Silas who were beaten and thrown in jail for taking a stand for God’s Truth.
“Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, ‘Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!’ The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.’ And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God. The next morning the city officials sent the police to tell the jailer, ‘Let those men go!'”
Just as Paul and Silas were set free from physical chains, worshipping God sets me free from the thoughts that try to chain my mind.
2. Pray. According to Philippians 4:6, God doesn’t want us to worry about anything, but to pray about everything. No problem is too big for God! Therefore, when we pray we must trust that God hears us and will answer our prayers. If we trust that God honors His children’s prayers, then anxiety should not be present. Prayer and worry do NOT go hand in hand. James 1:6-7 says, “But when you ask [God], you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”
3. Obey God. To trust God is to obey God. One day I was discussing with a friend that we as humans cause ourselves greater heartache when we choose our way over God’s way. The Bible is our instruction manual for living. Unfortunately, many fail to follow it. II Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
If we trust and obey God, we will have rest. For example, during my time in grad school I learned that I had to have surgery. This was a serious dilemma because the spring quarter had just begun and I was taking my final class: Statistics. Since I still had time to withdraw from the class without being penalized, the logical choice was to withdraw and pick up the course the following quarter. Although it seemed like a good idea, it wasn’t an easy decision to make because it meant postponing my graduation. Thus, the night before the withdrawal deadline I asked God to tell me what to do. I had made up my mind to withdraw, but, in case it wasn’t necessary to do so, I needed to hear from the One Who knows all. To my delight, as I slept God clearly spoke to me, “Stay in the class. There will be people who will help you.” Having a sudden peace about the situation, I stayed in the class, and as God reassured me, my professor and several classmates were more than willing to help me. If I had chosen to follow my “sensible” mind, instead of obeying the voice of God, receiving my Masters degree would have been delayed, which, undoubtedly, would have caused me unnecessary distress .
4. Enjoy your life. Best-selling author and Bible teacher Joyce Meyer says, “Learn how to enjoy where you are on the way to where you’re going.” In other words, smile often and laugh as much as possible. Just enjoy the stage at which you are in your life. The apostle Paul says, “…I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength,” (Philippians 4:11-13). To be content doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t desire more because God has more for you. It just means that the desires shouldn’t cause anxiety and stress. When we focus on the Lord, He is guaranteed to give us the desires of our hearts (Psalms 37:4).
Resting in God takes away the pressure that Satan and the world try to place on us. When we give everything to God, He in turn, gives us a peace that the average person can’t comprehend (Philippians 4:7). So, every day I am making it a point to rest in God and gratefully enjoy this life He has graciously given me.
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